Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The render of the veils

It's the title of a horror story by Ramsey Campbell. Among the creepiest stories I've ever read. In synopsis, it's like this:
It's a rainy, gloomy night. Two men, looking for a taxi, decide to share the first one they find. During the taxi drive, they begin to discuss perspectives, and the thought that we do not truly see things for what they are. We see things as we have been trained to see them. One of the men is a worshipper of Daoloth, the render of the veils. Daoloth is the deity who renders the veils that keep humans from seeing what truly is. This man is about to perform a ritual to Daoloth, so Daoloth may remove the veils.
The other enthusiastically agrees and they head to the first's house to perform the ritual. The next morning, police finds both the men dead. They also find a very creepy audio recording of what transpired that night.

I read this story a long time ago. But it has always been at the back of my head. What if what we see, what we feel (as in sensory perception), what we hear, what if it is all a figment of our imagination? An imagination that we have been brought up with?

It struck me how much the perspective changes the way we see things recently. Friends of my parents came home one night. My entire family was at our shop at the other end of the city. I offered to go along with the friends to the shop, since they were not from Pune and didn't know the roads. And it changed the way I see Pune.

Having travelled the length and breadth of the city on a two wheeler for most of my life (generous thank you to the folks at Kinetic Engineering and Honda Motor Scooter India, for the unforgettable experiences I've had on a Kinetic Honda, a Kinetic Nova and a Honda Activa, before my current beast), all the development was unnoticed. I'd seen it change slowly, seen it evolve. But when was the last time I'd travelled through Pune sitting in the back of an Army Gypsy vehicle? A VERY long time ago. Sitting in a Gypsy again, it suddely showed me the contrasts in the Pune of old and the new Pune. It showed me the immense development that had taken place in my city. The city I'd lived in for years. It felt an alien city suddenly.

Another example of this, is the realisation that my college is actually a very beautiful place. When you're busy with college activities, you seldom see how nice the place is. The other day, I took out my camera to take a couple of pics. The realisation didn't dawn on me until I'd started clicking. My college is beautiful. In bits anyway. And it took me the bast part of three years to realise that.

How deep does it go? How much of what we sense is real, and how much of it is what we're supposed to sense? Who can tell?

13 comments:

Gautam Akiwate said...

I must say that is actually a very valid point. I remember during CYG when I showed the visting teams around the city I was frankly amazed at the things that had changed!!!!
Like they say "Purvicha Pune rahila nahi aata"!!!

anu said...

When I say our college is beautiful, every one laughs at me :|

Seriously creepy post :S

falconer said...

Do not try to bend the spoon, because that is impossible.
Instead just try and realize the truth
There is no spoon.
Then you will see that its not the spoon that bends, only yourself.

abhi said...

Falconer just stole my comment!! I swear to god I had thought of Matrix and that very scene of Neo watching the kid bend the spoon.. (I couldn't recall the dialogue though..)

What you have said is on same lines of the Matrix, and no one can disprove it. However, your examples are way off the topic, and deal more with the unawareness, which is still in the "fake world"!

Nice post, but I'd have liked it more if you hadn't mixed the two issues.

greySith said...

@Abhi,
It's not unawareness. Certainly not. I've known that Pune has developed a lot all along. However, it is the change in perspective that hit home the point.

The matrix deals with reality and the matrix. My post deals with not seeing what is, and being blinded by our own imagination.

falconer said...

Come on...you don't expect me to believe that machines have taken over the planet and have stretched the Matrix over our eyes.
Indeed the Matrix and the reference to 'Machines 'in my opinion is only a metaphor for the mechanical lives we lead, and the imagination we use to blind ourselves.

greySith said...

@Falconer,
My response was not aimed at you. It was aimed at Abhi, who mistook my post for a musing on the reality of our existence.

trupti said...

Yes I agree with Abhi. The examples in this post indicate that you were just looking at the finer details of the surrounding around you, which you had missed earlier.

It is always difficult to know the 100% truth of events and people arround us. The truths largely depends on the context in which they are referred. Some things in life are just so complicated that no opinion or fact about it can be called "the complete truth".

And I know that you are very fascinated by this concept that everything arround us is a big farce. I remember you telling a similar story you had read somewhere about a foreman and a briiliant scientist who discover the truth and then die mysteriously.

In fact, a long time ago I had read an article in scientific American that said the this whole universe is nothing but a big hologram...which is after all a farce

greySith said...

That story... yes... 'Breeds there a man?' by Isaac Asimov. I suggest you pick up a copy of vol 2 of Isaac Asimov's collection of short stories (it ought to have it) and read it. Very creepy.

I still stand my case. I'm talking about perspectives. Not reality.

Blogging Ibex said...

I have imagined the presence of such a veil so many times.The feeling has always been of uneasiness.The uneasiness because we suddenly become aware that what we are seeing might not be what it actually is.We are no longer sure of what to believe in.
But its so difficult(may be impossible)to know if the existence of the veil is for real.It might be and it might not be.
I find myself engaged in such imaginations quite often.But nowadays I prefer not to take too much efforts to find out the truth.I might have,had human life span been much longer.
i agree with others when they say that you are mixing two different things.I'd have called your discoveries a change in perspective if u had mentioned an awareness of the details of your surroundings previously also...you haven't changed the angle of your viewing.Only this time,you seem to have looked more consciously.
Coming back to main point,i think its an individual's decision how much to indulge oneself in such thoughts.I consider myself as one of the lesser mortal beings and prefer to accept things as they are.But i would never tell anybody not to think in other directions.Who knows,50 years from now,new discoveries would have been made.Facts as we know them now,would be outdated by then..Its your choice.

Blogging Ibex said...

and yes,a nice post! :)

greySith said...

@Encke
No No No... you still don't get it. I was seeing exactly the same thing. With all the details just as before. What had changed was the perspective. The veils had changed!

Blogging Ibex said...

OK