July 14, 2015 § 6 Comments
On Saturday I will be turning twenty-four. A lot has changed in my life, but amongst those which haven’t is the urge to write. I still write a lot- in my head. It is a weird process, but one which is most fulfilling. The fact that technology hasn’t invaded our heads is fortunate, else even that would be captured and put out in the web. Paper is a lovely option, but this is more about not putting pen to paper and just losing yourself to the words. Music has been essential in me discovering this. Anyway, that’s for another time.
Amongst what has changed is the way I see the world. The idealist me still exists. My belief system hasn’t changed. But what has changed is the way I deal with people and the world. The ropes that bind(freedom, rights, independence etc) are such that one needs to be suspicious if it is too long, fight if it is too short, or be left wondering what is the right length. But as you go along you try to get a grip of it. Ultimately nobody knows, and what’s essential is to enjoy the process. Along the way I have learnt a few things, some on my own and some through people- you know who you are, and I am glad that you allowed me to be a part of your life. This isn’t a definitive list or in any order,
a) No self-pity.
b) The world owes you nothing.
c) You can have no friends or a seemingly endless list of people, but you got to deal with yourself. You owe yourself something- enough care to be with yourself.
d) Your happiness is important. You may derive happiness through people, but don’t expect people to make you happy.
e) You care for people, but there is a line beyond which you can’t do anything for them. No, you haven’t failed.
f) There’s much wrong, but there’s also much right. Anger shows you care, but you need to bear in mind that actions have consequences; think things through. Respond and not react.
g) People will go away. Some forever, some for a while. You don’t control them neither are you controlled by them.
h) What’s here today can be destroyed in seconds. Look at the sky- there is a universe out there you don’t know.
i) Be nice to people, but don’t expect people to be nice to you. You will encounter rude people, hateful people- be firm but don’t lose your manners.
j) There’s no point in getting stuck. Space is in the mind.
k) Believe in yourself. You will fail, again and again, but don’t stop believing.
l) Hope is that which makes you want to get out of bed. There are those days when you don’t want to- let it be, you soon will.
I am at a stage where I don’t depend on people for happiness. And that’s not sad, bad or mad. There’s a contentment in that. I take comfort in music, writing, art and the shadows thrown by my reading light. I think of old stone and new- of Hampi and of the Himalayas. We are in an age when everything is shared, told, advertised and success is that which someone else is surely jealous of. The world is gluttonous, and there’s a clamour for privilege- I cannot escape this, but I can ensure that it doesn’t consume you.
To Life and Hope,
October 21, 2014 § 1 Comment
Inspired by this post on brainpickings.
It is indeed worth pondering that we as a civilisation have lost the ability to live apart from time. Time, not that inexplicable thing which over which tectonic plates move, but time of the red queen sort. Evolution tells us we cannot wait a moment, that we have to keep running. And we run- towards an apparent goal, away from things we despise. Yet, we are always far from where intend to be, and rather too close to where we don’t want to be. Let it be financial goals, or career goals, or even personal goals, we fail to achieve what we want.
We have come to measure success in weird terms, like the number of houses you have or your bank balance. But, success as a race, as a species should be in our ability to coexist and progress, to live in happiness, with strong health, mental and physical. We define happiness in weird ways, and seek to sooth our despair in vestigial rules, while losing focus on what truly matters. We try to replicate supposed happiness our forefathers had through rituals, or we try to fight it all, and claim that the present is all that matters. But ultimately, very few of us are happy. We lie to ourselves.
We live in fear of failure, as individuals, as a society, as a nation, as a species. Our music reflects this, our movies do, our arts do- everything around us is a tribute to the apparent conquest of our fears, although we never quite do so. Fueled by this, we run, we give in to time; we run till we fall; we run till we end up in a hospital bed and hear that the insurance doesn’t cover our treatment. Our savings for a better future are lost in a supposed cure, and your legacy ends up being a bunch of photographs which fade too fast, because today’s corny capitalism requires things to be perishable.
We have come to view ‘work’ as effective use of time. And for this we try to suck the life out, put our spirits in a cage and lose touch with our better selves. This work is nothing more than being a clog in the system, a merciless martix which we have created and we run. All but a few live outside this, and we chide them as negligent, as far too capricious, and tell ourselves that their happiness is but temporary. We yearn for currency, whose value changes inexplicably; we yearn for recognition which all too well loses its meaning faster than we seek. We live at such a pace, we live by such precise clocks that all that persists is a vague feeling of uselessness, an insatiable insecurity, prodding us to move on to something better.
Maybe, it is time we take a breath as Neruda says, put things in abeyance like Whitman says. Maybe, it is time as a species we reach out to that part of us which many of us ignore and help ourselves. And from that will stem a recognition of what we have done- the chaos we have created called civilsation. A world of class, of inequalities. If we don’t do something about it, all we would give the future humans is pain, insecurity and nurture the need to destroy it all, in the quest for peace.
The problem we face is not the languages you speak, but the different languages across generations, across cultures, across beliefs. To top that, we fail to listen to each other and scream, and scream, and scream in hope of being heard. In the end, we give in to weapons, we give in to those instruments of fear, to enslave, to shut out what we fail to understand. There’s no pride in what we do, there’s no joy, there is but the war on terror, which we call the war for peace.
June 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
Excessive cognitive dissonance.
And as June evaporates away like a bird bath, I miss the rock under which I had been camping. While, writing exams is an endeavour I would rather not undertake again, living in general ignorance(QI! QI!? QI?!) was rather comforting. Since I last wrote a blog, much has happened, with my head turning into a cork on the shiny bottle of sour spirits.
It is just too much of effort to stay inspired. One needs to consciously assimilate inspiration and get worked up enough to care about something. Fiery fire breathing dragons, it is just too much effort! But don’t get me wrong, I am walloping in self pity with tubs of ice cream(turned lactose intolerant recently-LOL), rather I seem to have been kissed by a dementor.
And boy, it is no fun. Except that, simply knowing that this is no fun isn’t enough. It is like a comfort zone- much like trying to stay in bed all day- at some point you are going to get bored and have to get up. Which, I guess means that I have to wait for something to wake me up out of this er…limbo?
What is the point when everything is pointless? Why get inspired, if it is going to be popped by some pesky twerp anyway? Ha, might as well accept that some weirdo riding a bike while brushing his teeth is going to try to knock your bumpers off.
P.S:- Avoiding most people. A weird bout of misanthropy mixed with a general inability to be polite and smile. You might find me talking to myself though. Beware.
April 4, 2014 § 1 Comment
Abeyance. I haven’t read much of Walt Whitman, expect a couple of poems, but I do know he loved his abeyance. And in abeyance, I live. Like the patient lizard on the wall, waiting for the mosquitoes to make their way within its reach. Of course, there are plenty of mosquitoes for him to feast on, while I am still not sure what the metaphorical mosquitoes are supposed to be. Abeyance.
Life can be as slow and painful as an animation. Just think of all those drawings, those guys drew. What forced them to spend hours of their existence drawing a guy think, or make her blink? That is scary. Though, not as scary as passing the same accounting entries, day after day, forever. Abeyance.
This isn’t true abeyance. True abeyance was March. After a while, all thoughts of the past and the future went out of my head. I was just there, doing I can’t remember what, just there. The days went by, and another summer was born, screaming, wailing even, its inchoate terrors. Mangoes slowly turned ripe in my neighbour’s house. Their dog though, kept wandering up and down the house, howling at strays, barking at pets, as if it is the third ghost of Christmas. Abeyance.
I really wish I could think of some poem to quote here. Or say something fancy, but my mind dares not to think, lest it betrays itself into territories, too familiar, like power cuts in mid-May afternoons or the adhan when you wrote that particular exam paper. Not them per se, but they are the big gates, which hold a dam like none other- until you read about more desperate ones, as high as ‘scrapers, filled with all that potential- only to be spoilt by toxic humanity. Abeyance.
Some say take life by the horns. if you have read Hemingway, you know the romanticism of bull fighters. If you know my friend, you might have heard about the wonderful tartare they make out of those bulls. Some say, just run away from it all. But life has yet to metamorphose into something as sedate as a bull. I let it be, the embryo slowly growing into a metaphor, nourished by nightmares, all rather murky, like the tax departments. Abeyance.
True abeyance is when words abandon you. Broken glasses and lamp shades comfort you. And with a single malt in hand, you flip through a newspaper and listen to friends talk. Laid back, the house is like childhood cramped into a single photo frame; like that spot you hid for hours, hoping someone would seek. Maybe an aunt, long after the rest have gone to bed. Abeyance.
A moment is all it takes they say. You got to live your moments, because, well, you anyway have to survive them. Morality is like a car waiting to be battered by a rugged, torn football. Leave it there long enough and it is bound to happen. You could, of course, play with the kids and do the damage yourself. That maybe fun and there is none to blame. Abeyance.
The participle. Forever left to define itself, constantly, sentence after sentence. If only, it could just be. But then, it wouldn’t be, would it? Ha! Shakespeare. I don’t remember much, but may I misquote thee? Abeyance.
Firmly, I search for an ending. I am hunting for musical comparisons, but am lost in the strange song that plays within. Maybe it is the heartbeat, counting itself. Maybe, I imagine it. After all, we exist as we think. Abeyance.
Here and now,
Else, there is nowhere.
Past and astride,
March 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
left, right, left-Trolls of March, into April we go. Okay, not so loudly, but you get it. Absolutely nothing exciting though, as another summer screams exclamation marks like one of those…
Anyway, I have surprised myself quite a bit, this March. Start trailer, scenes-which-promise-full-censored-X-rated-stuff-right-after -the-9pm-movie-esque, well not really. This month has been about seemingly great opportunities which rang the door bell and when you run down two floors, huffing and puffing, it is just an unexciting sales person with a flat tone or one of those survey people with a worn out face who wants to talk to anyone but you. But I have sat through it, unruffled, almost unmoved by the vagaries of life, as the winds Easterlies turned Westerlies(or is it the other way about?). Oh! whatever. The least of the trolls was being served long island, on the rocks, because I asked them to substitute the cola for some juice. That wasn’t so bad, anyway.
This year has been about reading voraciously, but not March. Apart from the complete Maus and three volumes in the Buddha series, I read a book on football tactics(Inverting the pyramid), a couple of children’s books(reviews, coming soon) and a short story collection by Mamang Dai. I suspect April is going to be slow as well, with the exams around the corner again.
I can’t recall what I have been doning in March. It seems like one big blur. What I do realize though is that I have been happy, mostly. And the two seem to be related. Indifference and I are like <insert random simile with two opposites> but we have come to live with each other. The world is rife with politics, elections and lost planes and conspiracy, but all that is rather too troublesome to process or so my head has decided. And what am I, but an instrument to be used by the head.
Watched this Malayalam movie called Drishyam- one of the best movies I have seen. I would strongly suggest you do watch it Malayalam, as they intend to spoil it grand in Tamil. I also had bhel puri and caramel popcorn at the theater. Not all that blurry, evidently.
Anyway, from cancelling tickets to another country to cancelling local tickets, the month has been…well trolling me. All I have written this month is a poem and nothing else. No photos, no stories, no reviews, nothing. Maybe, I should hunt out one of those month wise calenders, take out March, make a rocket of it and chuck it as far away as possible. I am sure at that particular point, a funny little breeze would decide that it had enough of being little and blow the rocket back straight at me.
Oh! Merchants of hope, summer is here.
July 30, 2013 § Leave a comment
There’s nothing like the comfort of the keyboard. The rhythmic sound of keys being struck to produce words, sentences, stories, poems. So today is Monday the 29th of 2013, slowly drawing to a close, IST.
Sometimes you wish life had defining moments, and then there are times when you just want to live it, just like that.
If you read, if you write, your sanity is defined by the impossible things you believe in to be possible. It is all there is- a different world, different stories, different lives, all coming true as if they were your own. Maybe staying true to reality isn’t the right thing after all.
Life is best when there is nothing for you to worry about, just a moment to live, to feel, to let go, to stand on top of a hill and shout your heart out and then listen to the silence of the world and know that the words spoken are tucked away from sight and cannot possibly reach you here.
How does it matter who you are, or what you be, if all you had was a moment? You know, independent of time, of people, of places and origins, just midstream, idling along, moving ever so lightly, un-dammed, let go off, free as the breeze, soft as the skin that the drizzle falls upon?
But all that is a moment, and an epic is nothing but one composed of many such. Like One Hundred Years Of Solitude, like eternal-ephemeral love. Jokes are wonderous to hide behind, sarcasm acts as a twinkle in the winking eye, just a sign, just a hint of what really is, what ought to be.
The freedom from inevitability, of fate, predetermined course, does that exist? What comfort is there in knowing things are happening like the way they ought to? Isn’t it better to just move on, another step forward and another into the future, as if the past was a subscript long ignored and forgotten, to be seen by those far away who cannot make out the language?
Is courage facing your worst fears or the willingness to look beyond, to see the sunset and know that there is a dawn around the corner, till there won’t be any? And that no one sets out these things, at least no one you know.
True freedom, maybe is living beyond purpose, beyond intent and just being. To see beyond the cycle of causation and the perforated blankets of relationships, to stare at yourself at night in a mirror and know that the stars are out there, because they are.
It is easier to listen to the songs of love and believe than to look at reality. It is easier to lie, to yourself, to the world and sprinkle it with wisdom cleverly made in the shower to ensure there are no clogged drains. It is easier to never admit than to fight for what you think you really want, because maybe to lose what you already have is worse than to have more.
Is it wise to have nothing then? Where there is no hope, where it looks ridiculous even to the most fantastic of the poets, is that the moment when that thing, possibly the human spirit or just the drunk you, rises up to give it a go? Is that the freedom we really seek?
July 11, 2013 § 1 Comment
Don’t think. Tie the stupid watch but don’t look at the time, don’t think. Walk forward, one step at a time, walk forward, one more step at a time, slowly, slower, slowly.
Don’t see, don’t think. Stare blankly and freak the person out. Look deep into the eyes and then quickly go blank. And when they freak out, pretend to look at the watch, but don’t look at the time. Repeat that till the person walks away or runs away. If that seems to take forever, hell just walk past them, waving at infinity. That’s a perfectly good way to begin a day.
Not that it would make anyone feel happy, but there.