Sunday, October 17, 2010


It had been a while since I had read, seen or heard something entirely disconnected from me, that had moved me. I have often found myself translating images and passages, other people's experiences, into those that I can relate to; and if they happened to be something that I could find no axis to, either emotionally or ideologically, I found myself masterfully 'projecting' sympathy.

This is the same me who in the spurt of adolescence, had spoken up in an inane moral science class proselytizing on the importance of sympathy, saying that it simply wasn't good enough; that if we could not be empathetic we had no business showing sympathy. (The teacher had simply heard me out, thanked me when I had finished and gone on with her rant as if there had been no interruption!)

This is also the same spoiled child in me who had taken to, very early on in life, making much of her exertions and expecting all attention to be centered upon her. Much as I had wanted to wring a certain woman's neck for implying that I have an attention seeking disorder (resolute in my belief then, that she is branding me without trying to understand my peculiar case{!}) , it has taken me over two years to realize the various different implications of the term 'histrionics'.

Therefore, the present me, a queer mix of self righteousness and what I am beginning to call an unselfconscious (though, not unconscious) self-centered-ness was, no wonder, rendered incapable of responding to things that could not be prototyped into the categories of her limited emotional and ideological archive. This had, I confess, not bothered me for a long time. (I do, after all, live in times which had been advocated by certain twentieth century writers in their treatise called "The Virtue of Selfishness".)

This had become a way of life until it was put to shame by the brutal honesty of a child. It was through his worldview that I could see how much bitterness had clogged my receptivity and how for some time now I have been putting things into predetermined brackets, brackets that I have fought for and have bruised myself in the pursuit of, brackets that are different from those that I had been fighting against and yet for all practical purposes that function like the ones that I have relinquished.

There seems to be something more earnest about existentialism when compared to this form of being which believes that in embracing bitterness and hence legitimizing selfishness, lies it's answers. Atleast existentialism was an acknowledgment of defeat and hence discomfort at the inability to expand one's reach; Individualism functions by convincing people that there is nothing to expand to, that being self centered translates into self sufficiency and hence strength.

However, what seems to be closer to the mark in answering questions about life in the world are those efforts that are not directed towards doing just that. Be it the child who told me the 'story of his life' or the book that finally made me cry, not in the parts where I could see myself but in the parts that I truly felt the character's feelings, were both more life-affirming than any philosophical effort to understand the 'essence of our condition' has been!

There was a time when a certain taciturn, self-absorbed architect created by an immigrant American woman writer used to be my hero; the idea of a self motivated, creative man working against the tide of society was extraordinarily appealing to a misunderstood, self absorbed teenage girl. However, today, the character of a lawyer, motivated by the trials of a girl whom he had known as a teenage boy has forever dislodged the pedestal that had been instated in favour of the former. I no longer see any value in not being able to affect and be affected by people, rather I see it as an insidious ailment and the project to rationalize it, an unpardonable crime against humanity.

[There is no comparison between the writing skills of the two authors. The above mentioned woman was highly skilled and she received her due acclaim as a writer. The second writer, a certain Richard Paul Evans, is more 'popular' with no reason to be remembered in terms of his contribution to Literature, but for some very fortunate emotive skills, he will be remembered by readers like me.]

Saturday, July 31, 2010

On His Blindness

There is so much you never saw..
Your blindness made them stark to me.
There is so much I wished you had seen,
If only to bear witness to what had been.
I held on fast to them...
While you let them drift past.
Your seive of perception has served you well,
You will never know them till the last.

And I will not show them to you.

I am afraid they shall cease to exist,
As soon as you turn to face it.
So, the plan was to cry "Prejudist!"
While being a bit of a hypocrite.
But, you old man, had your own plans..

How can I resent your blindness to me,
When blind is all you will ever be?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Suspect- (Muddy waters)-
I watched as a dirty brown colour flowed into the sink when I put my hands under the flowing tap. The pristine white sink; its true purpose is to make all dirt stand out in contrast- the dirt on my hands, the dirt in me.
Arrest- My jaw struggles to fit change and I struggle to bring about change-in me, in my life.

Defense- Never been so speechless. I know where I am headed, but I can’t tell you yet. STOP SHOUTING! That’s not going to help me find a name for it!
My poetry has left me, the ability to name things has left me- I don’t own anything any more. I’ve lost the art of definition.
I will find a name someday…(how will that help me be-come? Let’s focus on the being, we’ll see about the owning!) AHA! *flourish*

My Confession- Mine- the possessive pronoun-
This moment is mine. I call it trepidation.
This pain is mine. I call it change.
This page is mine. I call it immortality.
These are their appreciated values-errors, transition and endlessness respectively.

Condemned-This is my life.

The last wish
- This is how I want them willed-

The moment I bequeath to my father; for many a moments shall we yearn until eternity- United at last, in our yearnings.

The pain I bequeath to my mother; with the hope that when her stock is compounded by mine, she will find an escape route.

The page I bequeath to my brother; to him I wish delivered my most prized possession-The patient friend who waits to be confided in; the penseive striving to preserve a bit of you forever- to him I wish all that I have wished for myself.

*case closed*

Post Script- " These memories are all we have. Without these, we are blind. Without these we leave the fate of our people to chance." -Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the half blood prince.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Lock me up and throw away the key
Brandishing my claim to insanity
Banging on door to door
Scars; dozens to the score
To have another dream shattered
Shining shards that once mattered
To be forsaken by one’s own identity
To build it again, only fragmentary
Lock me up and throw away the key
Set me free of my misery.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


My eyes ache

For the sight unseen

For that which is etched

In my lids

As gilded dreams.

Thoughts after 13th September

To say I am apolitical, is to say that I let others (in power) decide the politics of my life. The choice is not between being political and not, it is not between Bhartiya Janta Party and Congress or even Left and Right; it is between having the right choose and forfeiting it to others. I could either sit back and become a victim, or I could volunteer and make a difference. Whether it is inflation or terrorism, bad roads or red tapism, big or small; if it happens to us, we must have a say in it; we must have the right to question it, we must have the right to make it stop.
I don't know how to attain this. I have no grand plans of spearheading a revolution. I just know, as it is common sense to know, that we have a choice in everything that happens to us and if at some point we feel deprived of that choice, it is because someone has usurped it. We can either claim what is rightfully ours, or send our prayers to an unwitting God that the one in power be merciful.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Such is Life

I was reading some random blogs today and I happen to chance upon one in particular which I could relate to. The blogger laments that when he is not at his desktop he thinks of so many things that he would like to blog about but when he finally sits to do so, he goes blank. It couldn't be more true for me!
Once you get into the blogging grove, you think of so many things that you might have to say to the world, so many sketchy thoughts which you think you wil explore better as you write about them and share with others. But when it comes to the actual act, one seems to be at a loss of inspiration.
This is not to say that the world around me lacks any inspiration. I am constantly being bombarded by various stimuli which gets my head buzzing like the knob of a steaming pressure cooker. Perhaps if I had attempted to express them that instant, they would've held their prominance. However, as time passes and I keep defering the act of writing it out, the thoughts like the steam, fizzles off.
To state a few instances, the consecutive terror attacks in Bangalore and Ahmedabad left most people in the country beddazzled. Metro Now had a special four page coverage of the after effects of the grotesque incident. I remember I was teary eyed at my breakfast table while I read about a 9 year old boy and his 7 year old sister who, beside being physically wounded, will also carry deeply engroved mental scars from the incident. Both the children have been rendered mute by the shock and horror of what had happened. What could I possibly "say" about this? NO words are strong enough to express what I felt at that moment.
However, as time passed and people moved on, this piece of news which had shocked me out of sleep-ridden mental state, became a piece of information, a statistical data, only to be computed. Does anyone care? Momentarily, perhaps. First, sheer shock and then anger riddled with an element of fear- what if it is one of our own next? But as we get back into the daily grind, these feelings sediment within the depths of our mind and life's guiles help to filter out the residual effects with time; and ofcourse, I am no exception to the phenomena.
It seems we have been exposed to so much brutality, blood and murder that these sights fail to move us further than a certain point. We are a generation of desensitised, self-centered individuals. Infact, as Amartya Sen points out in his book Violence and Identity, in India, most people consider violence the means with which to etch out the parameters of their being. Afterall, the nation that we are talking of , was born in a post-modern world, of a very difficult labour. India had to calim for itself an existance that it had been denied. It had to battle for it's right to persist, thrash in violent attempts to breathe, hurt itself in the process and yet remarkably ascertain an identity for itself through bloodshed.
Our civilisation is like one of those timeless fortresses, which uphold their scars and battered structures as the essence of their being. The lives that reside within such monuments-plants, birds, rodents and reptiles, turn indifferent to the surroundings as long as they are able to sustain themselves. People who live in this country are no different.
The heights of insensitivity was probably manifested in a group of people, who either in order to settle personal scores with high officials, or simply to gather some sort of demented, sick amusement, made false proclaimations of more blasts. I fail to understand these people. Do they even understand what it is to have lives wiped off in a blink? For God sake, these are real lives that we are talking about, not some virtual strategy game!
As I read these news articles day after day, there were a myraid of questions battling in my mind. Why are they doing this? What do they want? Can't there be any other way of settling this? WHY? My mind was screaming for some sort of logic, some rationale so as to be able to make something of the world around me, to be able to salvage the sanctity of human sanity.

Believe it or not, the first hint to an answer came to me through some movies that I've recently seen-

Alfred to Batman: I don't think you understand this man. He needs no motive, it is not money or power that he is after. " Some people just like to stand back and watch the world burn." -The Dark Knight

"The first rule of mission havoc is you do not ask any questions." -Fight Club.

Do I need to spell out the answer or does the chill running down your spine tell you all that you need to know?

There was another, more recent report in Metro Now that caught my attention one morning. It read- "Auto driver kills man for 2 rupees." The auto driver who had demanded Rs.12 from his passenger had been so ticked off when he was haggled with, that he brought out an iron rod and struck the man on his head and then drove his vehicle over the body rpeatedly, until he was assured that he was dead.
Along with this incident, there were a few more similar instances- one of a man killing his friend when he refused to buy him alcohol, another of a man stabbing his milkman when he refused to give him some extra milk for the day and so on. This article was followed by a by-line which stated that Intermittent Explosive Disorder is different from merely being short tempered. When a person is suspected of suffering from exceptional temper issues, he must be treated immediately or else he may prove to be dangerous, both for those around him as well as himself.
I was left wondering how I would recognise an extraordinary temper outburst from an ordinary one. Afterall, there are so many people around me, friends and family, who sometimes overreact to the point that they break things around them or try to hurt either themselves or the person infront despite the fact that they do not have enough reason to unleash so much violence. Some of the most logical people I know sometimes blow their top to the extent that they end up doing or saying things that they later regret. I can remember instances, only too well, when I had to struggle hard to keep myself from physically lashing out. How much is too much???

It would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that most of us our susceptible to some sort of explosive disorder, but I don't consider myself off the mark when I say that we are an insecure lot of people, who traverse the brink of insanity by living in this world each day.

In the words of the Joker, from The Dark Knight, " Madness is like gravity, all it needs is a slight push."

Terrorism is undoubtedly born of socio-political factors, but it contains a certain madness which I suspect lurks even in the best of us. After a point, the motives, whatever they maybe, recede to make way for an illogical thirst for blood. The only way to not give into it is to keep a tight reign over one's sense of logic. But what use is logic, when everything around you is disintegrating into inexplicable, but perceptibly real debris?

Even though such thoughts take their hold over me at times, it's not too long before I wipe off my clammy hands and put them to some use. As one of my close friends said, "what is the use of thinking about it when you aren't being able to do anything?"
So, I put my mind to 'better' use and think about those inane things that need my attention and thrust these ruminations back into some security vault of my mind.
I read the news, fold the paper and go on with my day. I try not to look too closely at the group of people with their banners proclaiming hunger strike around Jantar Mantar, as I make my way towards Janpath to meet a friend for lunch.
We meet up and congratulate each other on having made it to premier educational institues of the country. We are confident. We know shall inherit this world. We the harbingers of logic and sanity shall stand over the ruins of the world and place our seal of ownership over it. Why then, am I not satisfied?