The boy’s toy.

Dear Mr. Invisible Bully,

It is my 4th birthday tomorrow. I am my mum’s favourite son, and my sister is her favourite daughter. It is a happy family. Though the upcoming birthday has filled me with a sense of dread and trepidation.

Now you might blink at my use of such big words, ‘dread’ and ‘trepidation’ while I just said my age to be 4 years (minus one day). It is just that I am syphoning the vocabulary of the future me through a giant black portal with shiny lights all around so as to make this a more cogent narrative.

So making allowance for that teensy bit of creative freedom, let’s get to the root of my dread. I want a Barbie for my birthday. My sister got one and I love it. But she just wouldn’t let me play with it. But my mum is planning to buy me a GI Joe set. Now you might wonder that I am caught up in the midst of childhood genderification. Well, possibly. Or maybe not. But I like what my sister got.

You know, mum got angry the other day when I lingered in the cloth store by a pink frock. I thought it was pretty and asked mum for it. She refused and was visibly disturbed. I notice such things. They think we kids don’t, but I do. Back home, mum had a long heated argument with mum. No, she didn’t speak to self, nor to her mirror reflection. I just got two mums. My mum married my mum. No dad. It’s allowed where we live. It made me no difference. I think. I am open-minded and accepting.

But mum was discussing with mum that maybe I needed a positive role-model. What they actually meant was a model for male-gender role. But they don’t get it. I don’t want to fit in a mould. I want to be me, whatever that may be. Though they are worried that a lack of a male presence at home is hampering my gender-awakening. Woah! I know, big talk, as if that’s even a thing. Is it? Be it what it may, but why need there be one anyway? I want to think thoughts of my own, feel emotions that are mine, be a person that I am to become based on my own individual inclinations. I don’t want to be impressed upon to fit in conventional social schemas. I want to be an original me.

Are you worried this would be the end of civilisation as we know it? All the social anarchy and break in custom such thoughts lead to. Well, don’t. Not all are me, just as I am not all. And I don’t want to be bullied to be like all. I just want to let be. But how do I tell my mums’ that I indeed want the Barbie. It would just spark another fight. I will have to compromise I guess. About time I learnt that trick of the adult.

A bear is cute and soft and fluffy while yet being a boy’s choice isn’t it? Yogi bear is a boy right! I would be allowed to get him as a present rather than that stupid GI Joe where we are meant to imagine battles and clarion calls?! Guess I will ask for a bear. For now. Though someday, I do want that barbie. And mums’, no, I want that regardless of your choice. I don’t think having had a dad would have changed it. But this is me brought up in the absence of dad talking. So who knows. Yet, either way, what’s wrong in wanting a Barbie? Why your guilt? Sister got it. I want it too.


She danced.

I watched my sister dance at the funeral of her husband. It wasn’t the frenetic swaying of a delirious mind. Nor was it in measured restraint. It was seamless, fluent, san all conscious effort. It felt the same as the day she danced when I told her that she had become an aunt, her movements sparkling of joy and pride. It was the same as when she got into the grad school for design, her life’s motive, her long-cherished desire. It was the same as when she fell in love and danced to let him know, that while her heart was all his, she couldn’t be. She bowed to her mother’s dying wish and married a guy of her family’s choosing. The guy, today, lying on the funeral pyre, was silenced in death. He didn’t hurt her, nor was he bad. He was a good fellow, kind and gentle. But she couldn’t bear to hold within a love she felt for else. She wrapped it deep within, where it simmered. One fine day, unbeknown of the cause, she cracked. Breaking the calm placid facade shot out the hand, her hand, grasping a knife in a tight clench. A cruel unfaltering slash, it hit an artery in his neck, and he ceased to be, diseased, sliding to the beyond in a gush of blood-red blood spurting from the gash. She was sane, oh yes, rational too. She just broke once, then, and the deed couldn’t be undone. Today, she danced in farewell to the guy, her erstwhile husband, caught in cross-fire of her unrequited love. It’s wasn’t his fault, nor her’s, or her mother’s who died while holding on to the wisdom and custom of the eras bygone. It just happened, and all she could do was to dance resigned to the fates design. She danced. She did.

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The town fair

The kid was wearing brown boots. His eyes simmered with the kind of hope that only innocence can offer. He had the string of a green hot-air-balloon pinched tight between his thumb and index finger. With the balloon bobbing in the evening breeze, he walked around alone, checking the various curiosities the town fair had to offer.

As he turned round a corner, by the alley behind the tent with the fortune-teller, the kid came across a boy with his tongue in the mouth of a girl. They were definitely kissing, but he thought they were doing it wrong. The lips should touch the cheeks and the tongue definitely stays safely inside one’s own mouth! Lost to the novelty of this gross spectacle, the kid’s grip on the string loosened which sent the balloon flying.

The balloon climbed, first with a sense of immediacy, and then with a lugubrious slowness as the air within began to cool and it reached a height where the air outside was equally dense and it could rise no further. An ambitious sparrow in the hope of setting a new record for highest flight amongst its clan blinked at the green round shiny thing at head-level ahead. It swerved right and gave it a miss. But given its meek nature, it thought better to take the green thing for a predator that inhabits those particular heights and started making a quick descent to inform its clan of this new discovery.

It flew in a straight line, glidding, cutting through the wind, toward the thicket at the end of a bridge over the river that ran north of the town. Arriving at its nesting site, it set a chirrupy chatter that was picked up by a lone bloke standing on the bridge beside, staring down into the water flowing in swirling turbulent eddies. He was tired, despondent with despair. His parrot had died, he had lost his favourite pebble, his parent’s were having a divorce, and his best friend had gone to the fair without him. He felt alone, lost, and weary. Yearning for love but feeling barricaded all around he wanted to jump down the bridge into the water and end it all.

He made up his mind, climbed the safety railing, and looked up to say goodbye to the world just when a green round something glittered in the sky above. Against the orange shade of the evening twilight, the green formed a pretty harmony of colours, and queerly it seemed to grow bigger with time. He let his gaze follow its flight as it descended from the sky, still hovering in the air, moving in slow stutters toward the town.

Forgetting his original intent, the kid got down the railing and broke into a cheery gallop to where the green round shiny thing was to land. He would get it, and will run to his friend to share with him his find.

And thus, there occurred a town fair such, once, afar!

Loss of Innocence

mermaid-on-nova-scotia-beachThe roar of waves breaking against the shore set a continuous polyphonic chirrup in the air. The lone fictional being, our protagonist, sat against the grainy tickle of sand. Her eyes were pinned on the horizon, where the orange-yellow gleam of the rising sun had smeared the sky and sea in shades of red. Raman Effect, she quipped in cold abandon. She was troubled by insomnia, and had come to the shore to await the break of dawn. Now it was about time to leave. But she loathe to.

For a callous observer, it might seem the rapture of dawn with waves lulling in that peaceful serenade had her drawn to the scene, locked in the moment. And had the observer’s intuition been deeply colored by a massive dose of existential angst, he might opine that she sat there, jaded, complacent, hoping to distract self from the tedium of existence. But we are neither callous, nor troubled with wistful imagination. From the vantage point of an interested perspicacious onlooker, she was waiting. For what, we wouldn’t know, nor do we venture to guess. We doubt if she knew herself what it that she awaited was. Was it akin to that age-old itch we all bear, for something incredible to happen in life? Of note, this latter is a quip; not a surmise.

As she breathed the salted breeze, she imagined the molecules flowing in turbulent eddies through her air-passages to the lung alveoli, mixing with the blood gushing just across the surfactant-lined walls, in gurgling streams of pulmonary capillaries. This stream was then churned by the constant continuous pulsations of her dear heart, that still longed for someone she could lose herself into. No, love is not a necessity. Akin to God, it is only an endearing hypothesis. But the need for the same, given the frail fragile constitution of us humans, is very palpable and real. She blinked at her single relationship status. She could undo it in a blink. But to blink for someone any less than self, would be a regretful error she didn’t want to repeat.

With fingers digging into the sand beside, she clenched her palm into a gentle fist, feeling the coarse grittiness of sand rubbing against sand. The tactile sensation seemed to add poignancy to the reality of the grainy nature of the same; just as this façade of human realm with individuals, where inter-individual interactions add weight to our individual reality. She slowly undid her fist and the grains slid down in thin streams. The weightlessness of the act seemed surreal, simple, solemnifying.

She blinked the thought away. She abhorred this metaphysical. She was through with them. Life is fun, or rather, fun could be had in life. And fun is heartening. Thus, to indulge in what’s fun is what, and all, that counts. The pleasure of the senses, the thrill of suspense, the joy of forbearance, and that enticing allure of companionship and understanding, she thought one could be drunk on life. Drunk, in every sense, with all the senses drenched in the exuberance that life has to offer.

As it became light around, she began to notice people. A young man, rippled, jogged by the shoreline, breaking a sweat. He left shoeprints in his wake that formed little pools. Slowly, with the succession of waves, these pools got filled with sand and were erased. She noticed an elderly couple, walking, with the man holding a dog, a german shepherd on a long leash. His wife who probably had put on some weight since her youth, hobbled along, beside, two steps behind, stealing a glace once every while at the horizon, and her husband. If one looked carefully, one could see boats in the sea, far off-coast. Fishermen out in open waters, gathering their days catch.

This last aspect from this near idyllic scene nudged her, our protagonist, that it was time. She need leave, and go about with her day. She lowered her torso against the sand, and slithered in the wet watery coolness. She reached the shoreline, leaving behind an unbroken trail. Once completely immersed, she flicked her tail fin, undulating her body in graceful twirls, as she swam deeper into the sea, toward her watery abode, the mythical Atlantis, at the heart of ocean.

Jim’s last

design1There was a screech. Yeah, that word’s onomatopoeia; sounds like the sound it means. First the screech, then a dull thud, a moment of muted stillness and a slow rise of strained human chatter, in that order. The elderly man who was seated beside our young protagonist till a moment ago, was run over by a speeding car driven by a concerned husband who wanted to get his pregnant wife to the hospital. Her water had broken and it was to be their first. Little did they know of the elderly man before that moment. He was a common man, taught English at the City College, and was survived by his dog. Don’t worry, the dog, a brown brawny spaniel, was later adopted by their understanding neighbor. This little story is about the hour before the accident, as the bus rode out the city into the suburbs while the spirited youth was trying to have a conversation with the elderly man on that ill-fated though pleasant-weathered evening. You must pardon the incongruous upbeat weather, it just happened to be restful, retiring, with the sky smeared in shades of orange and yellow, with the variegated variety of clouds sailing over the pleasingly scented breeze. There was a touch of cold. Just enough to make you button the collar of the shirt as the elderly man, lets say, Mr. Jim had.

The youth, a bumbling bundle of optimism, Sam suites him right, found the seat by Mr. Jim vacant and sat beside. Mr. Jim did not bother to turn and look. He was lost in thought. He had been thinking of carrots. For some inexplicable reason, while reading out Antony’s stirring rhetoric from Julius Caesar to his class earlier in the day, he found his mind’s eye sizing up a carrot in its vivid detail with its orange-red grainy tapering surface, topped by a bunch of green juicy stalks. For the life of him, he couldn’t fathom what led to that thought. Here Antony was craftily inciting the Roman crowd, appealing to their hearts with why Caesar had been wronged, and he was thinking carrots! As scenes by the road flit by, his eyes saw not. It seemed important to know why carrots. The intrigue was compelling. Just then, he felt a nudge. He turned to behold the apologetic Sam’s beaming foolish smile. ‘Hello there’, Jim greeted, holding on to his etiquettes. Sam waved in return. ‘Nice weather, ain’t it sir!’, he added. Jim wanted to correct him, but he let the colloquial slide. He just gave a silent nod and was about to turn around to look out the bus window when a thought occurred. He asked him, ‘So son, what do you want to become when you grow up?’

Sam was surprised a bit, but he liked the invitation for a more serious conversation than the weather. ‘I want to be a politician and change this country for the better’, he said. Jim didn’t say anything. He let his sight linger on him for a while longer, then his lips broke into a good-natured smile. He liked energetic idealists. He was one once. And with time he Black-And-White-Abstract-Wallpapers-6got tired, and he had made himself inconspicuous in this grand scheme of life. It isn’t that circumstances defeated him, nor that he was strained long enough to weaken his will. He just grew tired. With days, his will gradually ebbed. It could instead be reasoned that he didn’t fuel it enough and again to keep going. One day, he found self convinced with the rhetoric ‘why bother’ and had decided to fit in. He stopped making noise. He gave up his job as attorney. No more litigation in public interest. No more serving writ petitions to factories for breaching environment protection norms. No more of that fight, while meaningful and important, yet which for some reason had now come to feel a bother. A burden. He had energy; ample skill and wits as well. Man he was good with rhetoric. But he just did not want to go on. Took a job as lecturer, and decided to spend time reading and teach what he read. Feeling the weight of the silence heavy, Sam asked him if he liked books.

Yes, Jim liked books. But Jim was no more interested in this conversation. Sam, with his energy and enthusiasm, and with that agenda for social crusade was disturbing his peace. Jim had achieved a tranquil state of stillness in his mind, and he liked no ripples in that pool. He smiled at Sam, wished him luck with politics and got up. It wasn’t his stop yet, but he had a growing desire to get out the bus. He decided to walk the way back. Anyway the weather was pleasant. He requested the driver to let him out. The grim respectful poise Jim posed was compelling. The driver slowed, stopped the bus, and opened the door. Jim’s last thought was of carrots, and the moment he stepped out and the car hit him throwing his mortal coil 5 ft up in the air, his mind blinked the image of Caesar crunching a carrot, the next second, the entire Roman mob was crunching carrots, and there was a vague sense of weightlessness, and then Jim ceased to exist. He now lay as a mass of bleeding flesh, huddled in the road, with the husband out the car, kneeling by his side.

Sam sat glued to his seat. It was not that he didn’t care. He just felt locked in that moment, as if the transient nature of life, with the absolute certainty of death lay unfurled before him. He felt a knot in his throat while his eyes welled up. He thought about his sister home. He wanted to go home. While the husband, mortified, felt the pulse of the body lying before; this though only seemed a formality given the crack in Jim’s skull that was pouring blood. Certain there was nothing to be done, he got back into the car and drove slowly away. He had placed his visiting card by Jim’s corpse for police to contact him when they arrive to the scene. They would in a while. Someone would call them. He had something else he first needed to take care. His wife’s on-going labor. As the car was pulling away, Sam’s mind involuntarily registered the number-plate. He would remember those digits for the rest of his life. He also noticed the staff of Asclepius with the sacred snake coiled around, the Doctor’s symbol, stuck to the top right corner of the rear windshield. And for some reason Sam felt it a tad incongruous. The bus pulled away too. And the doctor’s wife gave birth to a son an hour and a half later, who was not named Jim.

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Conflict of interest

courtroom-drama-1It was a dull noon and the court room was packed to its capacity. From my seat at the distant corner, i could clearly see the accused. Somewhere in his early thirties, he had an athletic frame and a rugged profile, with his week old stubble adding to the ardour of gloom enveloping him. I thought he was handsome, quite too handsome for a convict pressed with charges of murder. Though it was certain that he was to walk free.

The prosecution did not press any charges and the defence, the state attorney pleaded self-defence. The incident was still fresh in our minds and had obtained good media coverage. It was a weekend about a fortnight before, and in the middle of a bustling mall, he had shot a man wrapped in explosives. Over a hundred lives were saved at the cost of one. And the man standing in the convict’s pit rose to immediate fandom.

The trial was brief. Almost a formality. The defence argued self-defence under Section 96-106, quoting ‘right to private defence of the body of his own and the body of any other person’. The prosecution made some preliminary probing as to from where he had got his gun and if he had a license. Which he did have. And the prosecution had rest their case. The defence also did like-wise. But it was a queer thing that the judge had a quizzical look.

Instead of breaking session to write his judgement, he thought better to ask the convict a question. Now it’s not a common thing for a judge to adorn the lawyer’s cape of posing questions, but it seems it’s a lawful thing. Before anyone could raise a brow, the judge stated that as per The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Section 165, the judge has the power to put     questions. The judge said, ‘the accused had shot the bomber saving lives of many. The shot was fired moments after the bomber revealed his identity by unzipping his jacket in the crowded mall. And the bullet hit the bomber, piercing holes into his lungs that filled with blood and knocked him down in seconds. But as the post-mortem report states, the bullets entered the victim from his back. How did the accused realise that it was a bomber when the bomb-vest was visible only from the unzipped front portion of his jacket and the shooting occurred within moments such that the bomber did not have any time to turn over for the accused to see the explosives?’

There was an audible gasp in the court room. And i was glad none realised that the loudest was mine. The accused though remained silent. This was something unsettling through-out. This man had shot someone who was going to take lives of many. He saved lives. But why is he so gloomy about it all? As if his soul was stricken with the weight of a suffering untold.

The accused maintained his silence. He could very well have kept so. Under Section 121 to 131, the accused has the right to refuse answer, and the judge would have brushed away his curiosity as an imaginary quirk and closed the case, but the accused spoke. But before that, his eyes loomed over the room, and for a brief moment caught mine. And i could see pain in those deep dark eyes as i felt in my own. Pain i so long had forgotten about, and only then did i realise that my eye’s were watering in torrents as just a moment latter did the accused’.

The accused sobbed to the surprise of all. It wasn’t making sense. And then he said things we all found difficult to place in context. He said it was pre-meditated. That he had intended to kill the bomber, the victim, and with that intention he had been romping the city for days. And the moment he caught sight of him that day at the mall, his hand reached for the pistol he had kept in his canister and almost involuntarily, in a blind rage, bullets fired to bore holes into his body.

My breath became heavy, eyes blurry and my tears tuned in with a dull aching sob that betrayed the pain in my heart. But the pain in the heart of the accused was very palpable. This victim had come into his life, allegedly stole his love interest, and not able to accept the fact, convinced that the man had somehow bewitched his lady love, flaming in rage he had gone about on his hunt to track him down and put him to death, as he indeed succeeded to on the fateful day.

The lawyers blinked in amazement at the turn of event, and the judge shifted uneasily in his seat. This man, going by the media hype, the god-sent saviour, who could have walked scot-free, had conscience-stricken confessed. A confession that none demanded. And one which none could have figured for all practical possibility. But given he had made the court aware of his motives, the judge, despite not wanting to, had to consider the case in the light of new evidence, of the aforementioned founded motive, and the intent to cause grievous harm resulting in death. He was put in a position to declare the murderer, a saviour, as a murder per se, though a saviour nevertheless.

The judge picked his pen to write his judgement. There was a hush in the court that none had foreseen. Each has a bedazzled look, as apprehensive as amused. But the sense of unreality was looming at large upon every face. For their reality had been shaken. Something that they had so far believed as the case to be, and as the only case that could indeed be, had been undone and the re-interpretation was a difficult version to put up with. Their hero had been reduced to a mere murderer.

But his murder consequented good. A huge good to many. Shouldn’t he be awarded for it? Does the fact that he didn’t intend the good diminish in any way the good that indeed he had consequented? Why does the action, which thus far had seemed just, seem otherwise at face of his new-found intent? Is it possible to divorce his intent from his action? Can his action be rewarded while his intent punished? Should he be forgiven in good faith? Or, he intended and consequented a crime in its own right and thus, stood guilty? The questions in the minds of all were many, but my mind was blank. And my heart, a gripping agony. An agony, that only his eyes saw. His deep dark eyes, that searched for an apology.

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I stood, and left the court-room. But my legs couldn’t carry me far. I stumbled and sat by the stairs, far from that room, far enough to not hear any judgement that would be made. And far from his searching gaze, that man, the saviour, but in my eyes, the murderer, who killed my husband in cold vein, who just couldn’t accept that i had fallen out of love with him. And this man that i fell for, though, now it seems, happened to be fallen too, in spirit as too as now in body.

An Orange Fruit

images (5)A dewy morning of early spring, and with the break of dawn, the scented breeze from lands afar blew to dispel the night’s mist off the trees on the plain. As the blanket of wet whiteness dwindled, an orange, ripened into the fullness of Sun, round and resplendent, could be seen hanging on the tree at the very heart of the plain.

The orange was as brightly orange as any orange could ever be. Spilling with the exuberance of youth, it was lulling in the breeze and making merry. From its site up on the tree, it could gaze above the lush green of the canopy, expanding over vast expanse, the very sight of prosperity, with its spotting of buds, flowers and fruits in their multivariate shades and shadows. The orange was as happy as anyone could, consumed in its own sweet pulp, radiant, ripe, it was living a life of beauty.

Pity all happy stories need come to an end, and so did that of the orange fruit. It was done on the tree and the stalk was sticking by its last bit of might. One gush and pluck! split the pedicle of the fruit leaving it under the guardianship of gravity.

The orange, blinked, tearful that its spot over above the canopy was gone. The misty morns, the breezy noon, the eve as the Sun slid behind the hills spewing red, yellow and orange over the horizon, and the quiet peaceful nights when under the shade of the moon, it would rest and dream, they where all to be had no more. It was to lose all these beauties it got to savour up above.

As its mind fretted, fidgeting over its lost privileges, the descent to the ground propelled by the interminable laws of gravity continued. As the ground came to sight, the smell of mud, wet, musky, steamed up into the air around. Air was rushing up past it, mirroring its fall down. The sky with its vast blueness and a touch of white from clouds, the lush lavish green of the canopy, they went further and further away. The brown of the branches with swirls of green from the many creeping guest on them surrounded the orange, as it was going down, down to the ground.

The smell of musk set fear thunder through the heart of the fruit. It meant for it, decay. It now could see its fate, and it realised with pain its purpose. It carried within it’s self, seeds of life which it was to nourish, at its own cost. It was to let self be destroyed, degraded by the zymes the seed may secrete, aided by the warm moist environ down there in the mud and the multitudinous miniscule unlikely mates. It was to slowly dissolve, letting its beauty give way to fluid, its exuberance give way to nutrients, and its youth give way to death for the sake of another life. It was to soon disappear from existence, to finish its short sweet journey with an ending stroke of decay and death.

It wondered first with pain, then with remorse at the similar fate of the countless oranges still lulling up in the breeze some looking down at it with pity, some with sympathy and some completely oblivious to its end. It felt bitter at being used, at falling into the ploy of this pointless game called life. How just is it to cause a death to bring about a birth?! It was to end to nourish another beginning, and if the whole purpose is just the beginning, then what point is there in the interim from the beginning to the end but a mindless meaningless preparation for the end so as to bring about another beginning?! Is the purpose of life ‘life’ itself, nothing more?!

It looked back at its days of youth, at its sweet pulp, its exuberant wine flowing in it and thought, what was it all about? What for? Was it a bribe to make the interim bearable so that it would play its part?!

The orange was nearing the ground through the fall. It could see the crystals of sand, with the mat of moss and a carpet of herbs blanketing the floor. It knew soon, very soon it would be gone, and from it will grow another orange tree, no, through it will grow another orange tree. And though it would be through it, it will not be the same as it. Lives’ end it thought, but life remains. Though no two lives’ are the same, they are always replaced. But in each life, there seem to be a pattern with three indelible truths, birth, procreation, death. It knew this, but what made it painful now is that it used to think there was more to life than just these. It wanted there to be meaning, significance, importance, but it could see there wasn’t.

There were days of happiness and moments of sorrow in its transient past. And when it looks again, it sees they were so innate. Anything that promoted its survival and seed-bearing made it happy and caused it to like it while that which threatened them brought pain and aversion. Scented breeze of the hills, oxygen, survival, happy. Delightful daylight after dawn, light, survival, happy. Countless pearls of rain breaking down from the sky, water, survival, happy. Mother’s stories of Gaya, the Goddess of Nature looking over, protection, actually the pretention of protection, survival, happy. Grandma’s stories of Zeus, the God of Everything, with lists of do’s and do not’s, presumption of survival, survival, happy. Grandpa’s stories of afterlife, imagination as to survival, survival, happy. Bees, birds and butterflies in their many colours and clamour, pollination, seed-bearing, happy. Come on now, give me a break said it!

It wondered if its search for meaning was of any meaning?! Was there indeed any meaning?! If someone even claims to have found, how to separate an appearance of meaning from meaning indeed?! How could anyone ever find meaning if there exists none in first case?!

While the orange had heard of stories that in the end there is peace, but it seems to be otherwise. Either they were lies, built on the promise that the dead won’t return to contest, or maybe it’s was a case apart, san the apparence, the pretension and the presumptions of lives’. Its view was that of the life. And though it could, it chose not to lighten its heart with lies many. For it thought, why need it aim for happiness, peace and significance? What makes the state san these feelings any less meaningful? When there is no meaning at all, what makes any state any less meaningful but for the personal preference?  Or is it really a personal preference, or a program as to preference fed inside since before birth or from after birth through social conditioning?!

And all it could see before was webs of questions, breaking paradigms, withering assumptions, it realised it had taken so many assumptions for granted. It hadn’t challenged then and took them for either the obvious or as the unquestionable truth. And the realisation of the folly, all added to the muddle, meddled with the fret in it as the orange finally hit the ground, paving self into the mud, spewing flecks of moss and moisture up into the air, and blurted in its last breath, ‘what the f***!