Monday, July 1, 2019



(Features of narcissism)

Her husband died.
Amidst relatives and friends
She was to mourn
On the date and time scheduled.
Oblivious of the tragic demise,
The way to present her best self
Even in the sordid scenario
Became so important that
Anxiety instantly pervaded her psyche.
Grave and urgent issues like,
The fascinatingly melancholic clothes to wear,
The specific beauty parlor to visit,
Powerfully occupied her sub-consciousness.

Though only a few hours were left
To reach the burial site,
She could not embellish herself
To an extent that would make her appear
Both beautiful and sorrowful
To impress and attract the mourners
With her improvised beauty
And counterfeit dejected expression.
She then rehearsed the gloomy expression
That she was to soon wear
Before an all sides view mirror,
For, the face, deemed the mirror of the soul,
Ironically blushed with remorse for being so unnatural.
Anxiety began to grow, it grew so deep that
The flurry of excitement
Impelled her to rush into her car,
To quickly occupy the driver’s seat
And hurriedly drove past all red lights,
Cleaving deftly through thick traffic.
In the twinkling of an eye,
Her car finally almost collided head-on
With the best beauty parlor.
With some slight latent remorse and shame,
She urgently demanded
For the best waterproof make-up
From top to toe
That deluded the beautician into thinking
That a grand wedding ceremony awaited her client.
Enthralled by that misconception,
She rushed home after renewing
Every millimeter of her being, except her soul.
But another problem sprang-----
----attire, compulsively fascinating,
But sober and demure,
Must have to be worn.
But, that became another difficult milestone
For her to cross,
For modest and grief-stricken she had to appear
To harmonize well with the solemn occasion.
She ferreted and delved into the deepest depths
Of all the shelves of her wardrobe
And fished out a dress…. soberly fascinating.
Soon, she reached the grim venue.

Tears welled up
In the eyes of many
But, in the souls of only few.
Seemingly unfortunate, but actually fortunate rains
Assisted some dry eyes
Including hers, to be tempestuous
And rain all rainless eyes, facilitating successful display
Of false grief.
But the rain-resistant make-up face she wore
Was unaffected
Like her love-resistant heart
That was also unaffected
By the permanent parting
Of her soul-mate.

Narcissism is all!

Mental and even spiritual interest
In oneself, one’s beauty,
Instead of God, nature, humans
Or even animals,
Reveals selfishness unbounded, unimaginable
Displayed naturally and brazenly by a narcissist.
A vain grandiose view of one’s own traits hollow,
In fantasy or behavior
And an abnormal craving for admiration
Proceeding from the abnormal pursuit of praise
To egoistic admiration of one’s presumed attributes
Is nothing, but a disorder.
A long term pattern of such abnormal behavior
Characterized by an excessive sense
Of one’s own importance
By one, who also wants to be breathtakingly beautiful,
Is dangerous also, for, she could demean herself
To any extent
To elicit admiration and success
That enlivens and sustains
Her ceaselessly demanding personality
That is also ironically, an extreme defense
Against her own feelings of worthlessness.
Behind this mask of ultra beauty,
Seeming success and confidence,
Lies a thin veil---- weak and sensitive,
Vulnerable to the slightest censure
That could derange her completely
And could also result
In the failure of all relationships,
Be it home, work-place or society.
Inability to handle the real,
Uncomfortable with her own deficiencies and limitations,
She unconsciously lives in fool’s paradise,
For peace and survival,
Signifying a colossal waste of time and energy, rather life.

Covert narcissists are a rare breed
And hard to decipher.
They owe their existence
To the attention they get excessive
Or tortured by rejection or neglection excessive,
Generating a huge void in adulthood.
Magnifying a real or perceived offense,
Taking offense also at minor criticisms,
Cornering most people,
They search for some flatterer
They earlier had or now lack,
But their never-satisfied stance
Perennially creates a frustrating vacuum
Never to be filled.
Their own problems for them are paramount,
While others’ are deemed meaningless and useless.
Adept at shooting from the hip with swift advice
And averse to answering or asking questions, they prefer
To shut down dialogue completely
To avoid any exercise or strain,
A conversation entails.
Outwardly, they appear very benign,
But can be damaging
And cause infinite distress to others.
Love to play the victim, they down play themselves,
Simply to bait others into sympathizing and complimenting them.
Cocooned in their make-believe world,
They’re warm, comfortable and safe,
Resisting all changes positive.

But, who’ll bring adamant, arrogant narcissists
Out of an overpowering stench of habits vicious,
Trends, tendencies and behavior
And restructure their psyche?
One may also be blown to bits
While belling the cat.

But once the gift of reflected appraisal is imbibed,
All narcissists would be wiped out from this planet.


After beating their brains out
All great professionals, researchers and specialists
Failed to decipher
What lies in the life after life.
The same idea also surged
Violently, uncontrollably,
In my sub-consciousness many a time
That finally, only confounds me.

I then searched for the most enlightened priest
Of the town.
On finding one, I willy-nilly, but reverentially asked him,
‘Where does a man go after he dies?’
His answer was stereotyped---- heaven or hell.
While the former is for the people good,
The latter is, for the bad.
On being asked about his fate
After death politely,
His answer was again off pat,
‘My seat after I die is reserved in heaven,
For, as a true priest, I’ve done infinite good
And also being nearer to god than any common man,
There could be no other place, but heaven for me.’
Instantly awestruck, but easily lapsed
Into willing suspension of disbelief
I bid him adieu.

Three days later,
I went to a hospital
To see an ailing friend admitted there
Owing to some heart problem.
Co-incidentally, I saw the same priest
On the adjoining bed, smiling.
On being asked after him, he said
A pain in his chest a day before
Made him presume that
He had cardiac arrest,
But doctors diagnosed him
With just a minor gastric problem.
Immediately a humorous, but witty and
Meaningful idea occurred
That I could not afford to conceal it.
Maintaining still my reverence for the priest
I straight away, but meekly unfolded him
Something strongly brewing in my consciousness
Since I saw him:
‘When you suffered the pain in your chest,
God was actually calling you’, but by calling the doctor
You unconsciously disconnected His call, so He,
Who is the greatest, the mightiest and the most supreme,
Must be annoyed with you’.
Suspended between repentance and shame,
He hung his head thoughtfully.
Encouraged, I further enlightened him,
‘If you were very sure
You would go to heaven after death,
you would not have called the doctor to intervene
In His communion with you,
You would have rather easily allowed yourself
To die sans treatment
And go to heaven, as you affirmed,
For in heaven there is no pain, no disease,
Problem or even death;
One can enjoy eternal bliss there,
So who would not like to go there?
Even fear of death would become extinct
And it would be most welcome
If one is sure to go to heaven after death.
It shows your faith
In your own religion was not firm’.

The whole episode proved that
Even the best theist
Is a bit of an atheist.
Conversely, a staunch atheist
Is also a bit of a theist,
For when he is thrown
In dire straits
Or stuck in a dire situation
Or on the threshold of death
And no human help is in sight,
He would imploringly look towards heaven
And solicit His grace to help extricate him
From the mire into which he has sunk,
Becoming quite unconsciously or even consciously
A bit of a theist.
So, the whole truth represents that
no one is purely an atheist
And none, purely, a theist.
But hypocrisy is universal,
For, man often pretends and projects himself to be
What he is not……..


As a choked volcano
Releases a gush
Of abrupt thick trail
Of fiery embers and lava
After its choked silence,
A choked heart
Throws up
A strong gush of warm trail
Of pent up emotions
After its choked silence.

A writer spills,
Oceans of ink,
Soils, endless papers,
Toils, endless nights,
To solely vent the plethora
Of his choked feelings and thoughts,
But only to simply remain choked, ironically.
Even after repeated ventilation,
This choke continues ……
…… fated to be eternally choked, as it were.

Strangely, the ignorant creative genius
Is ignorant of the blessings of choking,
Of its redeeming features
That every bad has.
He, perhaps, knows not
That choking stimulates creativity,
Cooks and beefs up raw ideas,
Speeds up the creative process,
Of his catalytic mind.
But, a fateful day finally arrives
When after much vent,
His entire creative exercise
Gets exhausted
Along with the exhaustion
Of his life.

During the entire creative life
A writer sees
No material fruit
His creation bears,
But still writes incorrigibly, unrelentingly,
For he fails to resist
The irrepressible surge
Of his inner irresistible urge
That bursts like every bubble,
That must inevitably burst.
But lucky is still he
Who knows not
That such resistance
Is fatal,
Such retention kills,
That any suppression,
Be it of sentiment,
Emotion or sex
Often takes a heavy toll,
That only ventilation
Infuses a new spirit,
And gives a new lease
Of life.

A compulsive writer
Lives to write
And also writes to live.
He has to live
The life of contentment
Even with the random passing accolades,
For he often realizes that
He has to feed not only his own,
But perhaps, many starved bellies
Not with encomiums empty,
But with work alien and distasteful
That often interferes, gnaws and claws
At his creative diet tasteful
That makes praises insubstantial
Vis-à-vis issue survival.
Even the showering
Of great awards or rewards
On Shakespeare, Milton
And some renowned masters
Miserably fall short
Of their magnitude of greatness,
Of their acme of creation,
Of the intensity and sublimity,
Of their thought, feeling,
Keen perception, unsurpassed expression,
Mighty imagination, profound vision
And unique language skills.
Doubtless, their works are glorified,
Their names are also always sung
With reverence and awe,
But only to the unreceptive souls.

A beleaguered writer knows that
Making a living by writing
Is a remote dream.
However, mushrooming growth
Of pseudo-writers
Whose only marketing and not pen
That speaks,
Surge rapidly
To flood and defile
The world of letters, of creation,
Finding a kindred soul,
Plagiarists or copy-cats also join the camp
To further intensify and hold the sway
Over the aggrieved and the true
And multiply their woes
By subtle maneuvers and crooked
Marketing strategies and selling skills….
….. ejecting also the deserved battered few
In the process
With their creations trashy.
But the truly worthy noble laureates
Withstand this painful onslaught
With all their psychic might
Even after being unfairly hit
Below the belt;
Their frayed psyche, laden
With untold misery,
Releases not groans and shrieks,
But melodies sweet and deep
That enthrall even the unworthy
And the prosaic.
But this is the way of the world
And this is how the pitiable odyssey
Of a writer goes on….
…. who knows, for how long!


Israel shrieked
With countless wounds of conquests foul,
Millennia of torments later,
Her diaspora returns now.

Prophecies haunt her again,
And the Mayans had to be red faced
For being astronomically naïve,
Now see, a universe
That still appears alive
Was in truth dead, long ago.

Gagged, muzzled, sans identity,
Timid, in anticipation
Of imminent loss,
Danger, repercussion, lurking disaster,
We are stilled…..psycho-somatically.

Puissant, mankind lives,
Breathes, pulsates,
But should this be deemed the real meaning
That life or living really is!

Turned into zombies,
Mute, indifferent
Or intimidated into silence
And shamelessly apathetic
To the crumbling, collapsing system,
Our ruination begins.
We are automatons
Or pathetic cyborgs on death row
In the quest of a human death----
……ironically and miserably becoming human
Only on the threshold of death.

With their uncannily abstruse philosophy,
The inquest into the hidden order
By the curious seers, doubters and agnostics
Seem to lend credence, meaning and purpose
To this incomprehensibly absurd life.
But, one’s mind often resonates with an awful din
Of absurdity, emptiness and nothingness
That life seems to comprise,
That savagely lashes the chamber
Of a probing psyche.

When the biologically absurd activity
That is sex is performed,
The aftermath that is birth,
Becomes inevitable,
When the absurdity that is existence is lived,
The long stretch of darkness
That is before us has to be traversed,
And the ontological truth
That is death also has to be embraced----
---making man, oblivious forever,
And the whole universe,
A travesty or nix,
For, to cyborgs, spiritual enlightenment
Is a remote dream,
And rebirth, most fantastical.

Many a time,
Under the spell of collective unconsciousness,
When my latent divine spark
Ignited my inflammable instincts divine,
My heart broke, my soul wept,
When I could neither see nor hear
The arrival of Christ
At the appointed time.
I then also thought that
Mayans calculations were, perhaps, based
On the collision of this earth
With an asteroid,
So, I strongly felt that
The destruction of this earth
Would have been
A momentous occasion.
I was also to feel elated, to witness
Some joyously destructive transition
To the new era,
But I was disillusioned
To see nothing.

Smoldering within for years
I wanted to ask God
Why demons have been given so much time
To go on with their orgy of bloodshed, rape,
Murder, plunder and evil deeds multifarious.
When everything has gone topsy-turvy,
Every ill, irremediable,
Every damage, irreparable,
Every good, irreversible,
Should I then with some credulity presume
That cataclysm has struck
‘With a whimper’
But not ‘with a bang’
And God has emerged triumphant
In this God-Satan long silent war of attrition?

Christ displayed exemplary endurance,
Shed infinite blood,
Before and during His crucifixion----
…..salvaging nothing.
The virtuous also today
Salvage nothing
Even after displaying remarkable sacrifice
And endurance to endure the pain
That is even beyond endurance,
To further only endure the long-awaited, well-deserved
And excruciatingly silent
Ongoing apocalypse with bleeding hearts
And dismal squeaks and groans.


(An inspired poem)
Coincidentally, we met
Sans terms, sans words of affection, love,
 Or an affectation of love or surprise,
Sans even any assurance
Of the purpose, aim and meaning
Of the movement, of the momentum
Of our advances
That drew us towards each other
So strangely, spontaneously and inexplicably,
With unimaginable velocity
That we knew not how
We unconsciously or sub-consciously
Generated a relationship
By this mysterious, unplanned psychic journey----from alpha to omega,
From a formless void to a concrete tenable form
We call friendship or relationship and whatnot
Which is the sum total of everything
Whereby we give each other faith, love,
Commitment, sacrifice, pleasure, ecstasy,
Comfort and peace…… ……..incredibly, lifelong!


DR. DALIP KHETARPAL Author, poet, critic, reviewer, editor, Columnist and short-story-writer. Former educationist and administrator.

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