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.
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?
May 21, 2013 § 1 Comment
If I was one of those wild willed, feet running, ye-ywah-ywapadido sort of guy, I might be hungover right now. But as it stands, the fish named Fish, is surely having a better time of it. Calling a fish, a Fish is odd eh? But then, I’m sure nobody called the first fish, Bob, Marley, Dylan, Wolmer or for that matter Kartick.
The first fish, was surely a boring little thing, which did not have a name given it to by humans. And the reason why it didn’t have a fancy human name was, there were no humans around to do so. And for that matter, there wasn’t a he-who-must-not-be-named around as well. When the sun rose, there was light. When the big fish ate the smaller fish, when the smaller fish had already eaten the remains of another big fish, courtesy a bigger fish being a messy eater like a toddler, the cycle of life wasn’t manufactured by men with fat bellies and set to tunes. It was just generally how things happened, or at least must have happened.
One cannot be sure, you see. How do you know what actually happened? Through books, through others, through google? Or did someone post a Facebook meme about it? If you had been there and done that, the proof of the event is the headache that follows. If you hadn’t been there, the proof of the volcano are those beautiful jaw dropping sunsets. But apart from such silly logical links that can be harried and wedded into a neat little, on the rocks, waves crashing long exposure, there isn’t much to tell something actually happened.
There’s plenty of scope to exploit this. A suggestive nod about how a truck might bump into you, or the fact that XYZ slept with ZYX, and ABC was very upset because ABC was something of XYZ and HIJ was something to ZYX, gets us. If I had added names, you would read on, curiously, for hints, anything to tell you more about the morals which were summarily quartered and pickled after being left out to dry in the sun for a few days. But not using names, gives you nothing of it, because you don’t have a point of reference, something to link you to the plot. A clever story teller uses a few common names, if they want to be snappy or sets of characters who have something similar to you or people you know and then goes on to throw them on a bear skinned or tiger skinned carpet, and generally engaging in very interesting hanky-panky.
One has (or since I have conveniently chosen to act like the all knowing whatsitsname here, you have) no clue what’s happening or what happened or what will happen. In the world of finance, they call this uncertainty, which in the world of Noddy would just mean make way for Noddy because he’s bringing in Big Ears, to solve the whole hungama. The only reason you do know something is because there was a boy named something who told you that bad bad word, which all the adults used, but wouldn’t appreciate you using it.
Those words, that little knowledge of a few sounds strung together, puts a link to the whole adult world. The fact that you need to be an adult, makes it more special, because you do want to be an adult. Not a teenager, not a big kid, but an adult.
Why not all those big fat books, which we read to become doctors and scientists, why is it that they don’t tell us as much as that wonderful four letter word? The only reason you remember how the heart functions is not because you had large beautiful diagrams but because someone explained it to you as a process. The only reason you remember mythology is because your grandpa told you those stories with a personalized narrative. It doesn’t matter if you believed in it or not, it was special, something told specially to you.
There are times when one reads, where we are lost for a voice, a point of reference. Take a moment and imagine a HUGE ocean, an endless ocean. Can you see your brain scanning for a reference point? Or do you see it throwing known imagines of an endless ocean acquired through films or NatGeo in there?
Well, let’s try that again; there was a fish, in a vast endless ocean. What do you see now? In a vast endless ocean, there was a fish. Did you zoom into our friendly fish with a single horn, on which a rope can be thrown? Now all you have is a vast endless ocean, where does the fish steer you? Not to the super market or Mcdonald’s for a burger, it steers you to safety, we are told. And safety is the lack of bodily harm and not a bowl of fries and a big glass of your favorite soft drink. No one thinks about the mental agony of having to watch water, water everywhere(unless you are held up by an Ancient Mariner.) Just think about how you felt the first time you heard the story of Matsya or Noah.
Not much of a connect is there, right? Because you never knew a vast endless ocean and neither did you know the variously bodily harms that the fish steered the world in a big boat away from. To you, safety was something else and not as generally defined by the world. You just didn’t get it. So over a period of time, you find your way through, are told various things and slowly being the wild-eyed super clever race we are, you get to know a lot of things.
Think of the tiniest thing you know. Now cut that into half. Cut that into half. Cut that into half, as well. You couldn’t do that right? Anyway, moving on, send those two things running around a tunnel of about 27 kms or so in diameter and then BANG! What did you see?
Not much? Now if I showed you a video of the big bang and how Earth and its life, miraculously was just there created by he-who-should-not-be-named, and then if I were to tell you that that happened after these two tinier than the tiniest of tiniest things crashed, whether you got it or not, you will construct an image out of it. A lovely movie, moving slowly, showing the tiniest things spinning, curling, like a baseball pitch or a cricket ball or a marble and then, bang! And suddenly, your brain zooms out and the whole big bang is there. And a second later, you on Earth with no more dodos. What if I someone told you the entire thing took a few billion years and there probably isn’t that he-who-should-not-be-named? It seems possible if you lived in a city where a pile of rubbish is removed after He-who-must-not-be-named-knows-how-long. What if I told you it happened in a matter of two thousand years?
Still possible, because you are in a world Buggati Veyrons and Little Boys. Who the hell is right?
Your accountant tells you to invest in a house or in certain funds or do such and such a thing and you do it. Your doctor tells you to take a few pills for something and you do. Your lawyer tells you to bring cash, you do it. The reason why you trust these people is because there is a basis, an understanding, a point of reference, created by a very complicated process. No one chooses a professional without a reference, if we can help it and when we haven’t chosen them, we don’t trust them entirely. The problem is that though every lawyer knows the law and has read the same thing, each one presupposes and has a very different understanding. The successful ones not only have the recipe, they also instinctively know when to add what.
What sets apart your uncle who cracks jokes and Douglas Adams is that Adams knew how to set out a point of reference and take it from there. To me, Adams is funnier than Wodehouse, because the idea of a street smart butler with common sense to go in tow is not as exciting as Bebblebrox or rats running the show. We all have our own little Babel fish, translating the world into whatever goes into our tiny heads. There is no need for a complex alien language, there is no need for detailed settings; you will believe it, if something happens to something you already know.
Harry was a boy living under the cupboard and he receives a letter. Moon face lived close to the clouds. Above the clouds was topsy-turvy land. In each case, there was no need for you to know where the devil was the wall or who was Jon Snow. You jump into a world through the cupboard and you are a king.
Chick lit sells. Pulp fiction sells. They rake in more money and are more widely read than literary fiction or poetry. Literary fiction tend to be filled with details, emotions, what not, this and that, and not simple people who worry if XYZ is sleeping with ZYX. It doesn’t take much of an effort to relate to that sort of thing. You might not have a vocabulary as fancy and varied as Milton. But you do know, what’s the internet, what’s a television, what’s a watch and such everyday objects. Chick lit can be good too. If you are into that sort of thing. Like how mathematics is fun, if you knew the language.
Right, so we have established that the way you think and what you know is completely different from what Marvin the paranoid android knows and that married couples start looking like each other. If you have read the entire post till now, you know where this is going- two paras from now, a guy with a funny mustache shall meet a man carrying a stick, who will tell him to peace out. A man with a big beard shall tell a boy with a stick in his hand about how he can kill the world’s biggest problem by uttering a few silly words.
Or should it go like that? Should every toast be buttered and jammed and for that matter be toasted?
A guy named James jumped high and slammed the ball into the basket and did not protect his son from the evil guy. A certain Maria did not run around borders teaching music to kids, rather she whacked the ball with a big grunt and what followed was an applause, accolades and titles, not a song of farewell.
When we can reconcile those facts, why is that we cannot put together a world of big bird and people or say, theists and atheists? To me, sitting in a city that is boiling hot, cold reason seems such a nice idea, while for the native speakers of this language, cold is everything that is wrong. Ice came to this city through ships from the U.S. While that’s a fact which is not of any use to most people, (unless you are a history student or an avid quizzer) there are other things which do matter. As time moves on, we forget the history, the origin of all that. Partly because that isn’t real and/or relevant to you.
The stars were always there. And we know much more now than we did when that ray of light started, all those light years ago. In fact we didn’t exist when that light ray started from the quasars. But to someone who doesn’t know about quasars or hasn’t learnt about light years and space and milkyway, the sky is still fascinating in a different way. The narrative that follows from there is unique which is worth hearing as well. Like listening to music in a language you do not understand.
It is quite tempting to fall into traditional metaphors and say life is a mumbo-jumbo and say life’s all about cutting off your thumb for your teacher. But to pull out a certain sample from this great big melange and use it to summarize fiction and reality, culture and what not, is a coping mechanism. While that is fine in itself and much needed to get through drinking tea out of paper cups while staring at computer screens, there is a point where a conscious thought should be one where things just flow without a judgement. Maybe like how Murakami puts a moon next to the one that is already there. Maybe like how everything that’s happening over so many eras is just a Brahma day; but the need for concrete and taming, never allows it.
(Un)Fortunately we don’t live in Neverland and we act based on our needs and will. The complex webs we spin ourselves into is furious enough to keep us on your heels for many life times to come(if that’s what you prefer; more Monday mornings, anyone?) We try to wrap and to an extent do wrap a couple of rounds of the sticky stuff around everything that comes into our world. Every now and then some oil spills and a light shines through it, making our jaws drop, but most often than not, the sunrise just happened, and the concrete doesn’t breathe but just holds all those lives within.
Maybe it would be worth breaking the shackles of our conditioned world and staring right at all that which we ever refused to stare at. That way, the ceiling might move away leaving a whole wide world to stare at, a whole UNIVERSE.
And As Shelley says,
“look upon ye mighty and despair.”
July 9, 2012 § 3 Comments
The dreary hot days of summer afternoons, with nothing much to remember by, except the tales of a great grandfather whose photo hung unnoticed on top of the kitchen door. The days where you drew cars racing through colourful hills and sunsets, coniferous trees and exotic lakes, wishing for those vistas of freedom, blocked by grill doors of civilized fear.
The memory is a lamp made of frail glass, like that sold on a pushcart during the days of habitual powercuts. Games of hide and seek with people who no longer are around; charades which linger around in the recesses of your mind like the candle lit shadows which seemed ever present.
Of a swing, which has hung where it has for generations. The wild days of dauntless fury it has seen, holding your ambition, propelled by hands of love, and words of encouragement which turned you into what you are today. The simmering patterns of sunlight, dutifully falling everyday, till an apartment grew out of an old house.
A landscape festooned; A swing, which tends to the present, yearning for that story; Replaying all those tears, laughter and diffidence like the song your mother sang to put you to sleep.
A precious grasp of knowledge, half hidden in ignorance and half in childish hubris, now stares at you, frail and old, like those hands which carried you to look at the trains. As if the roads, lined with cars are a noir, for they remind you of some days which were better, some which were worse but all equally hazy, all mixed with elation and rebellion.
The duress of an archaic system pressed itself all around you, yet innocent you built ships and castles and planes, crossing seas and bombing nations with your imagination, bridges arranged with marble lights, hoping to find the meaning of distance in a map.
Your dreams, let loose; You see a chance in everything, yet opportunities were as biased as the coin in your magic kit. Those glasses, which you wore as you raced to school on a fifty cc two-wheeler, are now nowhere to be seen; much like the suppressed dreams lost in reality; much like the paper boat sinking in the rain; much like the paper planes flying across the class room and landing on a despotic girl’s head; much like your favorite green and maroon pencil sharpener gifted by an aunt abroad being taken away by a heartless teacher, hoping to reprimand you for a mistake of another, whom you cannot remember.
Prayers told with half opened eyes, confused veneration- in fear, untamed by rote, by repetition into belief. The smell of coffee and the rain, folded together like the supplement into the newspaper. Chagrined balls of despair, turning to bowl you over and you remind yourself that you have a long way to turn fifteen.
Like a piece of paper with a word slipping out of a dictionary. The wonderful days, rush back to you, like your neighbour’s pet dog. And like the dog which was greeted with chains, you pick it up and shove it back into the page.
September 18, 2011 § 4 Comments
Howdy world! I have not turned into a book review writing bot. Blame it all on twitter! I never have the motivation to write a post any more. The blog was once upon a time where after much deliberation, I would write a clearly worded rant. But now of course, the little blue bird and 140 characters rule my life(addiction, you see).
There are a number of factors, which have led to this post. The cherry on top of the black-forest of course is that I met Brainstuck and The Alchemist. Over come with nostalgia and admiration(it was a Harry meets Dumbledore again moment), the little (kid) dinosaur decided that it was time to make an appearance again(much like a renegade school boy, I used to be).
Of course, what exactly I am supposed to write fails me. If only there was a Mississippi(yay! I got the spelling correct for the first time ever!) I would be a Huck Finn, rescuing a Tom from the clutches of authority and helping him to escape North. As it stands, I am lost in a world of monkeys on typewriter, forever writing the script of you-know-who knows what.
Life, has turned, back flipped, somersaulted and even spun around in a Romanov influenced roulette before being dipped in the spirits of confused responsibility. One thing that hasn’t changed though is that I am still made of the same skin and blood and brains, unscathed by numbers, laws, boredom, accidents and gravity. The world as a maitre patisserie would say is like the sponge layer.
One of the reasons of abandoning ‘blog posts’ probably was that it was the vogue. But the nouveau riche of twitter have with some panache revived the Prime with All Spark-esque memes. And when a silly girl’s post became an overnight sensation much like a boy who think he can sing, it was time to contemplate a return to the not so dark art of writing blog posts.
Blogposts have gained social acceptance faster than Galileo did but twitter has gained social prominence faster than your great granddad who got a OBE did. And prominence is much more tempting than acceptance especially since it is the only way to sate your ego after seeing a 100 million likes on that stupid status update. Nevertheless, a blog is a blog is a blog. A space where your everyday trash can become priceless junk in the future.
Thus I return to being a blogger from a reviewing bot. If I fail to write a post a week feel free to fast and start a campaign on twitter. I shall without fail consider mentioning your efforts.
Until then, so long and lots of Plationic love, yours truly, V.