February 28, 2010

Vontha Bad putthy cath....

Once there was a big bad black puthy cat.

With big round eyes,a cute red nose and sharp claws. He looked real menacing with his big whiskers and sharp teeth.The other puthy cats in the alley feared him quite lot. He was stronger and bigger than them. Nobody ever fought or got into an argument with him.He got what he wanted when he wanted...except for one tiny little thing,which bothered him no end.

You see the big bad puthy cat lived behind a big house which had lush gardens and eucalyptus trees. A hedge which was evenly trimmed every week. And at the back of the house there was the tallest of all the eucalyptus trees...which was also the house for a little Tweety bird.

Now Tweety bird was the tweetiest bird in the neighborhood.!

Tweety bird, was really beautiful, with big eye lashes and a shiny beak,blessed with a melodious voice , she could enchant anyone she spoke and get Him to do whatever she wanted.

As if all this was not enough, she was smart too. In the years that she spent on the tree top, she always managed to outwit the puthy cat. But in her heart she knew, that someday puthy cat would eat her up.

As the moon waxed and waned, puthy cat got increasingly depressed. He was on the verge of a breakdown. He was crying and wailing, and banging his fists on the ground. He just couldn’t catch the Tweety bird ! Every single time she outsmarted him. Why couldn’t he be smarter?

In sadness and desperation big bad puthy cat cried out loud -
'Oh Lord why is my destiny to be on the losing side always?
'Why Me?' All I am trying to make sure is to have a good life?' Isn't that what you wants us to do ?'
'Why have you chosen me to suffer like this? ' big black puthy cat was really sad .

Just then he heard a voice.
‘Look up puthy cat I am here to help’. Lord Feline said.
‘huh- what was that? Who speaks? Oh My God I am hearing voices , I must be going nuts’ puthy cat said to himself.
‘I am Lord Feline – The God of all animals in the world’ Lord said in a commanding voice.

puthy cat’s fur stood up. He was shivering. This couldn't be possible. Not that he was an atheist, but he never thought he would ever get to speak to the Lord himself.!

uhhh ummm brrr... puthy cat shook himself up.
‘it’s ok don’t worry I am here to help. You seemed to be worried and were calling me so-tell me what do you want and I will make it happen’. Lord Feline said.

Big bad puthy cat couldn’t believe his ears.
It took some time for him to digest this.But he mustered up some courage and said...
‘well you see Lord Feline, I am trying to catch this tweety bird who sits on top of that tree – but every time I try... I fail. She is just too smart. So please make me smart.’

Lord Feline thought for moment and said.”Yes puthy cat I can make you smart. But you must be sure of what you want ‘

‘Sure? You must be kidding me... –uh –oh am sorry ....I mean yes of course am sure, who doesn’t want to be smart.?’ puthy cat said excitedly.
‘Ok then here goes – close your eyes .When you open your eyes in exactly 30 seconds you will be smart.’ Lord Feline said and disappeared.

An electric shock went through his body, he was buzzing, his fur stood up like pins. And then puthy cat opened his eyes after 30 seconds approximately.Something had changed. He was feeling relaxed . An air confidence around him. He was feeling confident just like before.

He showed off...and how.The next few days he spent flaunting his new found intelligence in the neighborhood. More and more cats were in awe of him, he had now reached an exalted cult status.Catline group awarded him with a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the cat society. Though the hushed voices still echoed...he couldn't catch Tweety bird.

Armed with his new found intellect - one day he decided to hatch the perfect plan to trap tweety bird. The plan was well thought through, with state of the art equipments. Gadgets and gizmo's were plenty, and it seemed a fool proof plan. If he could get this plan to work - then once and for all his life would be in peace.More so now, because getting to Tweety was an ego issue rather than a food issue. Too many cats around him did help the cause either.They kept reminding him every now and then making an oblique reference to his one last challenge.

The plan worked. Tweety bird got entangled in his contraption and came crashing down from the tree.
An evil grin made his dark face look even more wicked. Menacing eyes and shiny claws were ready for action.The full moon shined on Tweety startled eyes.
‘ha ha you little menace I ve finally caught you. My sandwich is all but ready..Just a little garnishing will make it perfect.
Can you help me little Tweety bird?’ said big bad puthy cat sarcastically ,as he slowly walked towards the contraption.

Before he could realize what happened next, his life flashed in front of him...in slow motion...all the chases,hits and misses,the crashes and the thrashes......Then suddenly puthy cat got hit on the jaw.
Thud. And then whack. Slam and thud again.
Big bad puthy cat was lying on the ground shocked.
Tweety bird walked close to him and said in her enchanting voice – “Thank you Lord Feline for granting my wish and making me strong” !!

"Once a bad puthy cath.....always a bad puthy cath" said Tweety bird and fluttered out.

Gyanban Thoughts - dont we have a little Tweety bird in all of us ? wanting to bash up the big bad system? though this one is for the kiddos, but it has a deep message for us as well.Be ware what you ask for - you just might get it - and then what? While Lord answers your wish - He would ,by the same logic, have to answer someone else's wish as well right? What is the impact of your wish on someone else's life? We often forget that don't we ? We are blinded by our excitement and success that we stop being watchful,careful or sensitive to those around us.It's only later,we realize how cyclical our lives are.What goes around....comes around.!
image courtesy : desktop nexus.com

February 27, 2010

Beautiful Forest.

Must’ve been about 12 AM in Kumirmari.

‘Be careful’ Shabbir said to his 35 week pregnant wife.

‘I want some mangoes…. Now’ Najma said pleadingly.

‘ok ,ok let me see what I can do’ answered a loving husband.

Two hours later, she was dead. Her belly bled.

Nails had clawed her baby out.

Beautiful Forest.

Gyanban thoughts - We live in an ironical world. The hunter becomes the hunted is applicable to both man and the tiger.This "ficto-reality" is dedicated to all those poor villagers who fell prey to the Sunderban man-eaters.

image courtesy :japantimes.

February 24, 2010


Let me pack some hugs,

Let me wrap some shrugs,

Let me untie your heart seams,

Let me fill your pockets with dreams.

Let me cook some embrace,

Let me garnish with some craze,

Let me relish the tug on the finger,

Let me serve the crawl on the shoulder.

Let me spray the cuddles,

Let me tie the hurdles,

Let me drive to the fun place,

Let me park the embrace.

Let me be your sky,

Let me be the path you fly,

Let me be the ground you touch,

Let me be the miss-so-much,

Let me be the wait at the goodbye gate,

Let me be the ache in the painful fate,

Let me be the repeat of every minute,

Let me be the hope in the infinite…

Gyanban thoughts - Heeya means "heart" . These are a few lines dedicated to those parents,who spend half of their lives providing for their kids,and the other half waiting to hear from them.Children never realize what those spent hearts and empty eyes mean as they race ahead with their lives. This poem is probably related to "Paa" read it.

Oh yes, this is my 100th.

February 19, 2010

Dangle Veils

January 6, 2006.

Just after the winter holidays, Ms. Syrine Videl walked into that college, something had changed it s fortunes since then. Since she joined as many as 11 of the best lecturers had left St.Ives College. Just one remained from the old batch. But it was not until June that year, that Principal Laura Sebastian realized the connection.
Nestled in the hills of Nainital, St.Ives was not a very famous college, but over the years it had earned a good reputation, a healthy mix of international students testified it’s success at the international level. The college came on the map when one of its students went on to become a TV anchor with a respectable news channel CNN. Since then many success stories had emerged. But all that was about to change.

March 24,2006.

As time passed by, most professors couldn’t fathom what to do with Syrine. She proved to be academically brilliant. Topping nearly everything. Yet her name was always associated with the worst pranks in the history of the college. She never ever got caught. It was a strange dilemma for the principal. After all she couldn’t rusticate someone just on suspicion. There was no evidence. For the few people who knew Syrine, they would always say..she is a very nice and simple girl. While some thought she was up to something - behind that calm and quite exterior there was a little devil hidden in her.!
As the clouds drifted into the classroom, there was a light drizzle outside, and a chilly wind blew across the floor of the room. The clouds outside were getting darker, and the tube light in the room brighter. Syrine sat calmly composed with her eyes lowered into a book. She was a striking beauty - It was easy to get lost between her eyes and lips. Always dressed in angelic white dresses with light shades of pink that blended into her skin ever so smoothly. You couldn’t tell the difference. Long wavy hair, a sharp nose, eyes brows drooping and eyes like an innocent doe. The honey brown mole accentuated her lower lip.

April 6, 2006.

A few days later, a strange incident happened at the college. The girl’s hostel heard many shrieks, saw blood stains on some walls, and some wooden cupboards were scratched with nails, as if to say something. Some said they saw a ghost, some say they felt something creeping up their body while they slept, while some dismissed it off as a prank. Then one day one of the girls disappeared. A frantic search resulted nothing. Police were doing the best they could. The girls family sent out messages on TV. But nothing yielded. She was gone.
This sent shockwaves across the parents and teachers alike. There were some who immediately took their wards off campus, some joined another school and some who remained, remained there because they couldn’t go anywhere else. Fear, had gripped the college.
Principal Sebastian was worried. She did not know what effect these events would have on the way college functioned. Teachers were leaving, students disappearing and horror stories from the hostel would all add up to a fear factor with the parents. This had to stop. But how? She didn’t know even where to begin.

May 9, 2006

It was a loud scream at 2.30AM in the girls hostel.
One by one the all the rooms switched their lights on. The girls came out in the corridor puzzled and terrified. Some teachers who lived near the campus rushed immediately. What they saw next, sent shivers down their spine. Two girls lay on the floor with their stomach ripped open and blood oozing out. Their eyes had been gouged and their face turned blue. The blood stains seemed to form a word or two on the floor.

Dangle Veils.

No one could understand. No one wanted to understand. They were all gripped with horror, fear flowing through every nerve in their body. Could it be a serial killer? Could it be an animal ? Could it be an accident? Or was this a prank gone bad ? There was no evidence of a break in, or a fight or any resistance. Nothing was broken, no sign of struggle..it almost seemed that it happened to them willingly or by someone they knew ! All sorts of stories did the rounds over the next few days. This latest episode had drawn the attention of the media. Cameramen and journalists covered the story. Detectives intensified their efforts.

June 5, 2006. 6PM.

A few days later, Principal Laura Sebastian got a call. It was from one of the last remaining professors of the original batch. Hariman Snata – the only foreigner in the faculty. He used to teach History at the Kapodistrian University in Athens. His research had brought him to India a few years back.

‘Madam Sebastian – I have been following the incidents of the last few months and have something to share with you.’ Hariman said in a deep baritone.

‘Yes professor –I am so worried about these ghastly incidents, any help will be appreciated’ the principal said with a sense of resignation.

‘I must see you right away Madam Principal’

‘Well, I am in my office till 7 PM’ the principal said and hung up.

The history professor walked in wearing a corduroy trouser and jacket, with a black polo t-shirt inside. His short crew cut hair had just begun to show a tinge of salt n pepper shade. A Broad forehead, a large frame which stood at 6 feet 2, and hands which were strong enough to bend iron. A light after shave fragrance drifted through the air. Probably Polo Black. In short, a classic misfit being a history professor, could have easily been in Hollywood.

They sat quietly by the sofa in the principal’s office sipping coffee.

‘It s the girl madam Principal.’ Hariman said.

‘Which girl ? What are you talking about?’


‘What ? And how would you know, what’s the evidence? I knew she was up to some prank but this is beyond her league. What with those gruesome murders, the sign..nope I don’t think she did it. Besides she is one of our best students’ defended Laura.

‘what I am about to tell you madam principal, might sound rather weird .But I have studied the case history closely and I am certain my observation is correct.’ Hariman said looking coldly into her eyes.

‘She is the devil incarnate. Don’t you see it in her name?’

“Syrine Videl” – that’s a regular catholic name. What’s wrong with that? You have a funny name too isn’t it? Laura said getting a little irritated now.

“No madam- you have no clue what you are dealing with here” Hariman’s eyes glistened as a distant light flashed into his eyes.

He scribbled something on a piece of paper and when Laura read it, she felt a jolt of lightening go through her body.

‘Syrine is an anagram for Erinys –

which means the “angry spirit” in Greek mythology. They appear in different places at different times, nobody knows where they come from and where they go. Oh and Videl is Devil really.’

Erinys Devil.

Laura Sebastian’s eyes spoke a 1000 words but her voice failed even one. She was shivering uncontrollably. The room was spinning in front of her eyes.

“then ww-what did the sign on the wall mean?”

“Dangle veils?” she stammered as tears rolled from her eyes.

'Ha ,ha that was clever of her' Hariman smirked.

It meant Devils Angel.’ Hariman said taking out a pocket sickle.

‘If if she’s is the devil’s angel, who is the devil?

Principal Laura Sebastian never got to know the truth before she died. Her skull was pierced open and eyes were gouged. As if someone had stuck a sickle on the top of her head and pulled it down fiercely.
But professor Hariman Natas still gave her the answer at the stroke of midnight.

Ahriman Satan” he said on 06/06/06.

Gyanban thoughts

1.Hariman Natas was an anagram for Ahriman Satan. Other anagrams were Syrine Videl - Erinys Devil &
Dangle Veils - Devils Angel.

Ahriman means the chief spirit of darkness and evil in Zoroastrianism. His essential nature is expressed in his principal epithet-Druj, "the Lie." The Lie expresses itself as greed, wrath, and envy. To aid him in attacking the light, the good creation of Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, Ahriman created a horde of demons embodying envy and similar qualities. Despite the chaos and suffering effected in the world by his onslaught, believers expect Ahriman to be defeated in the end of time by Ahura Mazda. Confined to their own realm, his demons will devour each other, and his own existence will be quenched.

2.There were 11 apostles of Jesus,the 12th betrayed him - Judas.An oblique reference is made in the story in the forms of 11 professors leaving.

3.The date June 6,2006, where the story ends was known to be the devils date considering 666 is the devils number.

4.Oh by the way this is my 99th post.Coincidence?

image courtesy -desktopnexus.com

February 11, 2010

Close Up

‘This is it – I am done with you.

I cannot continue our relationship Ruby.’ Mr.Seth said coldly.

‘you can’t do this ,I’ve loved you so long’ said Ruby sobbing.

Roy went back to his life, his wife of 15 years.

Next morning at the AGM presentation, people saw Roy Seth &

Ruby Miranda's photo on slide 15.

Hell hath no fury like a mistress scorned !

image courtesy :desktopnexus.com

February 6, 2010

Broken Heart

A clouded dream under the moon shining bright,
floats in through the window sill tonight,
A voiceless silhouette  lurks in an ageless light,

The night sings of  the coming dawn,
Birds fly into the sky unknown,
where the heart moves the stones
and  silence reigns in the bygones..

A painting hangs on the naked  wall,
Nestled in the placid soul
As the darkness lays her crimson cloak
hope will call, and time roll back .
The eyes say the words unsaid,
the lips part, for the lips  unmet,
And every breath, the breath is full
Upon that misty night, night so still,
locked in a chest, locked  so deep,
Key to my tears, lost to sleep.

That my love, fire has led me on
shone more bright, than the blazing sun
Till the sun got burnt ,in his strife,
and how time stops , and my love springs to life..
yet you stand there, for the flames in my heart,
of love have burnt, and scorched my eyes in the dark,
but for the love of you, I will wait



image courtesy desktopnexus.com

February 5, 2010

Incubus - Aparajita IV

As lightning flashed their eyes met.

She had seen him while waiting for a bus on a rainy evening. The roads were deserted and the bus stop empty. Heavy drops of rain started pouring and Jatin took shelter in the bus stop.

‘It’s pretty odd it s raining at this time of the year isn’t it? Jatin said as a matter of fact.
‘No I ve seen rain in December before’ she said without looking at him.
‘Really ? I haven’t – actually, I wasn’t here for so many years – so don’t quite remember myself’

There was silence.

It was with the next flash of lightning that Jatin took notice of Aparajita. It would not be until much later that Aparajita would see the true colors of the lightning.

She was the epitome of a matt finish .Mostly dressed in earthy colors, dark shades to complement her bright skin, Aparajita, was quite a misfit in the political community. Slim, petit and frail..a fact which would always go against her...except for 2 things – her angelic eyes and her rock solid resolve. Men would often fall in love just looking into her magnetic eyes..such was the magic.. Her eyes told a million stories of her dreams to come…

Becoming the Chief Minister was one such dream.

It was therefore ironic that her father taught all the values of life, which he had broken.

Marriage, alcohol and the final nail in the coffin – or political career, was tricking the local MLA Raja Babu – The plan had boomeranged. It turned out that Raja Babu  was better connected than him. He did not live to regret his actions or decisions. He committed suicide and left behind a family full of woes and questions unanswered.

The shock took Aparajita into a bout of acute depression…whatever money her father had left, was used up for her treatment..It took many doctors and many hospitals to get her back to life. But nothing worked as good as Jatin.Jatin was her real booster. Jatin breathed a new life into her, ever since the chance encounter at the bus stop they had met often and she even dreamt of spending the rest of her life with him.

He would come every day and wait for her patiently, gently smiling, and slowly drifting close. But as time passed he realized the implications of such an association. While pursing their careers ,it had crossed Jatin’s mind, that one day he would have to take a decision whether to change his career path or hers. Turned out that both their resolves were strong. He knew that their careers would not allow a normal married life .They courted for almost 3 years until Jatin fell out of love one day..or so he told her.. They parted ways.

 This time Aparajita did not let depression get the better of her. She suppressed it and focused her energies to make rapid strides in her political career. Get out of her father’s shame and shadow and make a name for herself. There were hurdles along the way but she had resolve to fall back upon.

The rise was quick as it coincided with the changing national sentiment regarding old politicians.
Most of them were corrupt or had criminal cases pending. Public resentment had reached a level of frenzy..and Aparajita took this opportunity to stake a claim for the Chief Minister spot.

The last stronghold of the opposition was the area near Ruby hospital.

The park was not too big – but the people were critical. This was to become an important landmark in her political career. If this rally was a success then the CM ‘s chair was almost within her grasp. As she prepared to go for the rally – the party president called her.

‘Aparajita – I have some disturbing news...our informers tell us that this rally will be disrupted by Raja Babu…and gangs..they are desperate’

‘which also means victory is near isn’t it Partho da?’ said Aparajita with her resolve kicking in.

‘yes it is – but what’s the use of the victory if you don’t live?’ said partho da.

‘ I am not scared Parthoda – let them bring it on ‘ I will see who will stop me.’

‘I will ‘ said Partho da flatly. ‘you are too important to be lost for a small rally?’

‘It is Raja Babu’s last strong hold  - and I have a few things to settle with him’ Aparajita said lowering her voice…filled with emotion.

Partho da said  after a thought - ‘Aparajita In politics – remember one thing – there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends either’ and before she could contest that…he said..

‘ you stay put – I have assigned two of my best men to protect you – Balwinder and Shinde.’ Don’t get out of  your office before I call you.’ Said Partho da and hung up the phone.

Aparajita was  disappointed,fuming and pacing up and down her cabin when the intercom rang…

‘Madamji – the security guards are here – they want to meet you’ said Pinky the receptionist.

‘I don’t need security -ask them go away’ she yelled and disconnected the intercom.Still angry at Partho da.

As Pinky looked up , Balwinder got the message.

‘No problem Pinkyji we will do our duty..after all we are small people and our job is take care of them isn’t it even when they are not in the best of moods no ?  asked a polite Balwinder.

Pinky nodded. 

Jatin knew a  clinic his party had funded.  He had to find Dr.Nivedita.She was the only one who could help him at this point.

A puzzled Dr.Nivedita said ‘What happened to you…you are shot...your shoulder is bleeding..?

Don’t worry about that – can you give some medication to keep me & the  baby alive for the next 12 hours ?

I need a pain killer and some treatment to camouflage this ..’ Jatin said holding his breath…

‘but I have so many questions, I don’t even know her name ..and why don’t you want me to tell anyone about you ?’

‘Her name is Aparajita - please doctor right now I have no time to explain, please believe me when I say  my life is in danger, I have a mission to accomplish , I will come back for her… unless I die ….’

Dr.Nivedita looked at the intensity - ‘Let me see what I can do’ said Dr.Nivedita and closed the door.…

Aparajita s cell phone rang again –this time it was an unidentified number –

 ‘Hello’?  a cold voice spoke.

‘Aparajita here – who’s this,?’ she only heard heavy breathing on the other end of the line.


Aparajita’s face flushed with anger, for once those angelic eyes were bloodshot, her palms sweating she clutched on to the phone tightly.

‘what do you want now? You ve taken whatever I had or wished to have….what do you want from me now ? ’ she asked tersely.

‘you never really understood me Apo,It’s quite the other way round – I  was your best friend, and you took away my life ,my love, and with it - my destiny..’ Damini’s voice cracked.

Regaining her composure Damini said…

‘ But now my destiny is about to change in a few minutes..and so will yours..

the irony is I know it and you don’t  - I am going to be the next Chief Minister.

Nothing can stop me now legitimately – no one – not even you – my illegitimate sister.’!

Aparajita’s mouth went dry…

‘You all went on with your lives as if nothing happened…and forgot there was a little girl struggling to breathe every second of her life…and the same life taught me to fight, taught me to win..and at my own terms….i did.’ ‘You took away Jatin from me, the only support I had…and I made sure he is mine…forever..’

‘Jatin ?what did you do to Jatin ?’ screamed Aparajita..

‘He’s dead…… and now it s your turn’  and...the phone clicked.

Aparajita could not react ..her throat was choked she felt paralised.
 Each word pierced her soul and ripped it apart.

For most, Moments define the time we are in or time defines the moment –but  for  Aparajita it was neither she was caught somewhere in between.

Slowly,Aparajita sat in her chair trying to digest what she’s just heard. Her stupor was disturbed with two gunshots outside her cabin..and the door slammed open…

Jatin’s silhouette touched her desk.

As Jatin entered her cabin… ‘how could it be you’ she stammered shocked, and speechless. She saw blood flowing on to the carpet - outside Balwinder and Shinde lay dead on the ground...and Pinky was slumped on the desk.

As sanity jerked back into her senses she said ‘Y-You shot the security guards..’ and began to franticall dial a number for help...In the scuffle that ensued for the mobile phone..Jatin’s shoulder gave in…it was bleeding again.. Aparajita’s hands got stained.That moment of distraction allowed  Jatin to wrest control and disconnect the phone.

Jatin was quiet. Aparajita was shivering uncontrollably in anger and in shock.. She didn’t know what to do or say..she didn’t know even if this was real. A myriad of emotions went through her mind. She remembered Damini’s cold voice… the jigsaw was falling in place …Jatin had left her for Damini…

‘Apo – I can’t talk much, but your life is in danger…our lives are in danger. We have to get out of here’ Raja babu is out to kill us both.’ Jatin said holding his shoulder to stop the bleeding.

‘I know -  and I am not going anywhere – I ll face my destiny right here Jatin…’

‘I have lost you once…not again’ … and before she could question further a familiar perfume –Polo green - filled her senses. Jatin removed the   handkerchief from his nose and looked at her lying unconscious in his arms…so helplessly.

As Dr.Nivedita flipped through the pages of her patient’s case history – she explained to the students.
‘This little petit girl stabbed her father 73 times in the chest with a screw driver, tried to shoot her sister and poison her husband…and that’s not enough she tried to kill their baby as well…she has created characters in her mind which do not exist oreven if they do they are quite different in reality..like some one she kept referring as  dangerous killer  - Raja babu. – we checked with her family and came to know that Raja babu was the family cook. Such is complexity of her mind.’
‘A classic psychopath’.

Later during the visiting hours - Dr.Nivedita turned to  Damini and said....'I am sorry Mrs. Banerji, still no change..I think we have to continue with her medication…She’s lost the last touch of reality in her...and is slipping into her make-believe world completely we are recording every word she says and have documented the file as Aparajita I, II III and IV. If ever you want to take a peek inside her world – read this.

With the intravenous drips dropping into the pipe…each drop reminded her of how her life was ending ....the angelic eyes looked around in despair...for some mercy some help…she did not remember how she got here...but the screams in her head had grown louder each passing year....But she was not about to give up yet…she gathered her strength and her voice and screamed again…

‘I am not mad’ they are trying to frame me, kill me…help me help me please ...’

Read previous Aparajita series -  Undefeated ,Unfulfilled, Cozen 

Gyanban thoughts - I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.Please be patient as it is a long post...but be sure to not miss lines..lest you miss the plot. This post was very difficult to write....there were lots of possible ending that came to my mind...interestingly each character could have said mea culpa.Jatin,Damini,or Raja Babu..but I chose Aparajita because she had the most compelling story to tell. It kind of wrote itself out...putting and end to the Aparajita chronicles..

image courtesy desktopnexus.com

Fade away

and then, just like that, one day we will fade away, aging books on empty shelves, receding memories of ourselves, sail away l...