December 31, 2008

Concept called Country

The events of November in Mumbai did not have such an earth shattering effect on me as it did on most other people. It did not uproot my sense of security as it did on thousand of Mumbai residents and neither did I feel a sense of helplessness where I could be the victim of an act of ‘terrorist’ aggression. 

That will be the only place in this post where I use the word terrorist. To earmark someone terrorist means that their actions does not have a reasoning. These people have a sense of being wronged. I do not know what it is that they perceive, but that is not for me to comment.

The question that arose in me as an aftermath of the episode was what does it mean to belong to a country. The train of thought I followed to get finally to this question is the underlying theme of this post.

I revive on old habit when I say that the Oxford English Dictionary (the online version) defines a country as below

Country: noun (pl. countries)
  1. A nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory

  2. Districts outside large urban areas

  3. An area with regard to its physical features: hill country

Do notice that the basic theme of a country lies in the territorial nature of it. This means that we define country based on its boundaries. When I posed the same question, what is a country to one of my friends, her answer was what I believe is the true meaning of a country. Her reply was that it was a collection of people who share common cultures/ethnic origin. Her definition removed the need for a boundary for a country.

My understanding of root of terrorism in India has been and will continue to be Jammu and Kashmir. I do not mean that the peoples of Jammu and Kashmir are terrorists, what I mean is the way that India has treated Jammu and Kashmir over the last sixty odd years has created a sense of being wronged in the minds of many people who are trying to voice that sense of being wronged. In addition, you have a neighbor who claims to have an equal right on the land of Jammu and Kashmir, creating further rift.

In my limited knowledge, I do not know what the people of Jammu and Kashmir want. I believe that the only way to resolve the long-standing conflict is to hold a referendum in the state. The terms of the referendum are if the people of Jammu and Kashmir want to belong to the collection of states that constitute the country called India, or would they prefer independence.

The reason that I make this statement is my belief that no region whose people do not want to belong to a country must have to made to belong to that country by force. An example to prove this point is in a family, if a member wishes to break free from the ties of the family and live on his own, wants to proclaim his independence, then the family has no right to prevent him from doing that. This I believe comes from the basic right to freedom.

The question that arises here is if the result of the referendum were towards freedom, then there would be other regions that would want to break away too. I hope that as you ask the question you are realizing how misplaced it is. By asking the question, you are telling me that you are identifying the country not by the people who live in the country, but by its boundaries. It is like trying to identify you by the body rather than the mind.

So, if the country is not defined by the boundaries, what is a country? In my opinion, a country is just a collection of people who share a common culture or ethnicity. That is the core issue surrounding India as a country. There are so many cultures, so many ethnic groups that it is not possible to have a unifying culture or ethnicity as the glue. Therefore, we have had to resort to the boundary as the fact defining India. I hope that you are not going to tell me that you belief in India, as a concept for that is not a glue; there still needs to be something that hold India together, not the concept of India and that cannot be its boundaries.

I would go on to state that of all the countries that I can think of at this point in time, the one that most suits the concept of a country is Russia. I am not sure if there are very many other so-called countries that share ethnicity and culture the way that Russia does. I do agree that there bound to be many dialects, many sub cultures; however, they are Russian for they speak Russian.

Given the mass migration of people over the last couple of centuries, the concept of country is getting highly outdated, for there is no particular region that does not have a multitude of cultures and ethnic groups. The so-called alpha-country, the United States of America is not even a country by any means, for it is the collection of people from all over the world. I guess that is the reason that they are correct when they say that the world starts at the Atlantic Ocean and ends at the Pacific (they are actually correct in one sense).

Coming back to the topic under discussion, when I mean that a region must not be attached to country by force, does this mean that I am advocating that India be broken into many tiny parts, each a different country by itself? I did a little research and I think that the concept of Constituent Country might work in India. This same thing binds England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland into United Kingdom.

A final question that could pop up and I want to address here is the significance of the turnout in the recently concluded Jammu and Kashmir polls. Does the ~60% turnout signify that they want to be part of India and be ruled by India. I would not assume so. When the options given are either do not vote and let someone who is not even remotely connected to the state rule the state, or have your say, the obvious answer would be to have a say in the ruler. However, that need not be the ultimate desire of the people of the state. In this case, they are maximizing the return in a given set of limitations. My request is to remove those boundary conditions and given them the option of independence. If then there is as much people who want to be with the country, the abstract concept called India, then I will agree having them as a part of my country. If not, then I would be more than happy to give them their freedom.

As an afterthought, it is the duty of the rulers of the country to give the country and its peoples what they want, even if it is independence from the country.

December 28, 2008

World in slow motion

The world around me, 
Moves at the speed of light
No time for me,
A man on crutches
For whom the world inside
Moves in slow motion.
Every step a challenge
A mountain I see
Where you see a molehill.
Painstakingly slow,
Each step I take,
Efforts and thoughts
A billion,
To put one leg
Ahead of the other.
Your feet move
With a life of their own,
You know not
Where you are going
Or whence you came.
My world is smaller,
Tiny compared to yours,
You claim the earth as yours
I claim my six by three
Every grain of sand,
I place it there,
By choice, by will.
Your world is full of clods
That you threw,
Unseen, unknown.
You rush me by,
For my world too slow,
To keep pace with yours,
You are in a haze, a daze
To see the world in slow motion,
Every action overstated
Every thought amplified,
In this world in slow motion.

December 23, 2008

Facade of love?

Is this wrong,
This feeling we share?
The passion
I can see flowing
Through your lips
Through my lips,
From your body
To the core of mine.
Every moment
A drugged state
Ecstasy and pleasure.
Pain and torture.
Pleasure in the ecstasy
Pain in the torture
That I know this can't last,
This night will not live on.
Your family beckons,
Your wife,
So lovely in her cotton saris,
Knowing every want of yours,
Waiting to hear your steps
As they come from the street
On to the doorway
The one you share with her.
Does she smell me,
My perfume on your shirt
My scent on your skin
Does she hear my voice
In every word you say?
Does she run up you,
To be hoisted in the air
The way you hoist me
When you see me after a long time?
Do you hold her as close
As close as you hold me
Never letting me go,
Until it is time for you to go?
I will never as you
To let her go,
For she is the mother
Of a daughter you love
As much as you love me.
Does my understanding
Of my position in your life
Make me cheap
Do the gifts you give me
Make me paid?
Is the idea of love
That we share
That you share,
With your wife,
Just a lie,
A farce
A facade?

December 19, 2008

Full stop

Your life is mine,
For you are me,
Not entirely,
Though entirely from me.
Now that you are here,
My life seems to stop,
Everything revolves
Around your presence.

Your life is no more,
You have left nothing behind
Other than your memory
You memories in my head
In everything I see
My life seems to stop
For everything revolves
Around your absence.

The post is based on a line I read in a book from Shashi Deshpande's "In the Country of Deceit". The line goes Both birth and death make you take your eyes of the clock. Time comes to a standstill; the hands of the clock cease to move.

December 2, 2008

Sincerely sorry

I have post where I expounded my theory that one is not to feel sorry, for that means regretting a choice one has made. When there is a point in life, where one does regret the choices that one has made, is it better to apologize to the person concerned?

I asked this question to Suchitra over an SMS and I will paraphrase, without her consent of course. 

"Which is better? To apologize for a mistake very old or to let it go, for it was so so long ago?"

The reply received was, "It depends. I guess on what complications digging up the past can bring against what good an apology can do, repair a relationship may be. Sometimes, I think that an apology is transfer of responsibility, but at least you have the satisfaction of being honest with yourself."

I kind of like the last lines. The apology is transfer of responsibility, a transfer of guilt. When I apologize, I am relieved of the pain that caused me to want to apologize. It is now the prerogative of the other person to forgive me or not. At least my conscience is clean. 

However, I am not sure if this is being honest. It seems to be more of cowardice than anything else for the reason that by apologizing I am saying in not so many words that I do not want to go on regretting what I did. Therefore, I am apologizing for the effect my choice, if it were a choice has on you. Now forgive me, or not, it does not matter for the moment I have let you know that I am sorry; my soul has been freed from the clutches of guilt. 

We are honest when we accept that the choice was wrong and that someone was hurt by it. Not when we go a transfer the responsibility in the mess to the person who was already wronged. The best thing we can do is regret it, to ourselves, keep it to ourselves and try to ensure that the regret is not repeated. To accept that one was wrong is honest. To rid of it because it caused pain is more like cowardice, the inability be true to yourself and the choices one has made. 

I am sorry, 
That I was foolish
In my choices
But, it is my secret
For my sin in life
Is my sin alone, 
I will be brave, 
I will be strong, 
For my weight to carry
I will not spread
Among people
People I already wronged

Accepting ghosts

There are a lot of things I know, these are things I thought, I think and I hope to think about. However, knowing them is far removed from accepting them. 

These are like the ghosts in our lives, the ones we believed in as children. When we were kids, there were many methods that our parents and elders at home devised to keep us from doing things. I am not sure of many children who have loved the dark as kids. Again, that depends a lot on the way that the parents have exposed the concept of darkness to a child. With most of the faiths believing in post mortem life, in other words, life after death, it has never been too hard to imagine those spirits of once alive people to be among us. Why, this is amongst the most popular of all genres of movies, with creepy crawlies. Ghosts, the things we sense, the things we believe we stress, dead people, coming back to haunt us, to protect us, to take care of us, to cause us harm, we have the entire gamut of emotions that we can feel, we attribute to them. No matter how many times we have read that there are no ghosts, and there is no place for such entities in the science we believe in, many of us get goose bumps when we enter a dark room, when there is a slight breeze touching us, when there is a sudden noise, for which we are not able to place the source. Then our cognitive mind comes in, reassuring us that it is either a figment of our imagination, or just a breeze or some earthly incident, and not a ghost. 

This is what happens when you have believed in something for a long time and then have that belief destroyed by reason. When we believe something, we do not need reason. It just is. God, good, evil, right, wrong, everything is a belief. The ones we choose to believe in is something we picked up from our parents and that is because since those sets of beliefs worked for them, there is a high probability that those will work for us. I am not sure if ever running away from a hungry tiger that is directly in your path, without anything separating you is bad. You can try reasoning it as much as you want, but logically, and instinctively it is the best path.

What happens when reason destroys a belief? Well, in that case, you stop believing because you can think that it is not true. However, there will be a part of you that still wants to believe for there is a comfort in belief and human beings are creatures of comfort, comfort derived from habit. The destroyed belief will leave scars, it will come back in different manifestations. It will ask, when you reasoned that I was wrong, what prevents the current belief, which came as a result of that reason from being wrong. 

If your reason is air tight, you will have an answer. However, reason cannot be airtight, for it is something mankind developed to explain things. This means that, what we know to be wrong, because it cannot be reasoned is not out from our system yet. This goes on to mean that until we can accept that the belief has gone and either find a better belief to replace it, or accept the absence of the belief, we would still be haunted of the departed belief. 

The question that arises is, since all are just beliefs, what prevents us from holding on to just the first belief, and not questioning it? Since reason, even if it is paramount, cannot be tantamount to carved in stone. So why change a belief in the first place, and then be haunted by the changed reason?

Man kind will never learn, for learning means more questions, and more questions is both a measure of ignorance, and knowledge.

November 30, 2008

My God





Her fingers so slight
Like blades of grass
As they sway in the wind.
She holds out her hand
Asking for mine
As she crosses over
From her world to mine.
As she steps over
Across the looking glass
Into my two arms

A woman I have seen 
In a thousand dreams,
A face I’d recognize
One that grew from within
A part of me
One I had given life
As I breathed life into her
Her first breathe was mine
Every one of mine since then
Has been hers

Hiding behind the mirror
Far from the gaze of this world
She lived only for me
Her every word, precious
Her every action, elusive
She rarely spoke,
Yet she said a lot
In each other’s silence we grew
She came from nothing
And became my everything

As I worship her presence
The very feet that stomp me
The lips that curl up a smile
Every time I cave in 
A duel we fought, 
One of life and death, 
Her victory over mine,
Was it my victory over her?
We were separate, to separate victory,
Were we separate, to separate defeat?

The man I never could be
She made me want to be
My life’s purpose
She defined for me
She was for me
A god, I created
Out of nothing, for nothing
Not in cathedral, not in temples
I placed her in the mirror
Her face on mine, she on me, my god.

November 29, 2008

Imagine....

At at time like this, there is one thing that keeps coming back to me..

Imagine by John Lennon




The lyrics are asunder


Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

How much is too much?

How much is too much?


How much of blood should this world see before it realizes that it is too much?
How much of hatred must we put out there before we realize that it is too much?
How much of insanity must we be exposed to before we choose sanity?
How much of loss of love must one bear, before we lose ourselves?
How many eyes must we remove for someone removed one of ours?
How many times must we kill before we kill our souls?
How many children should cry before we turn a deaf ear?
How many guns must we buy before we run out of iron?
How many bullets must we fire before we run out of targets?
How many buildings must be razed before we run out of homes?
How many women must be widowed because we chose to stand up and fight?
How many limbs must be lost before all the landmines are used up?
How many men should sacrifice their youth for someone else’s cause?
How many tears must I shed before my glands run dry?
How many times must we die before we forget to live?
How many ideologies must we extinguish before we decline to follow any?
How many religions must I change before I am let to live?
How many countries must I migrate to before you let me go?
How many times must this injustice go on?


How much is too much?

November 28, 2008

Of bees and flowers


A bee, flitting from flower to flower, in search of nectar.
Leaving behind pollen, on a fertile flower.
As the bee moves on to the flower to follow
Little does he know, he has changed the flower,
The flower remains a flower no more.
Fertilized, she becomes a fruit,
Shedding her petals, and her beauty,
She starts her way to rot!

November 24, 2008

An egg shell



The other day, I had this egg in my hand. It looked so fresh, and the thought of an omlette, with some chopped onions, a few peppers, a few tomatoes, and a pinch of salt, it seemed heavenly.

I broke open the egg and all I found was an empty shell.

I miss the complete unbroken egg, I miss the anticipation of omlette.

November 18, 2008

Walk On

Alone
Yet not alone

I walk
Forever

November 14, 2008

Freedom anybody?


This is a short post, rather a line of thought that I wish to pursue at a later date.
The usual definition of freedom is the ability to make a choice that is constrained only by personal, i.e. the decider's ability. This is to say that I have all the freedom in the world to do as I please and no one is going to question me about it. Obviously, this is not the freedom we are used to for we have to work within the limits of society.
My thought is whether there is another more sublime form of freedom, one wherein there is no choice at all.
I am FREE from having to make choices. The question that pops into my head is "Is life not a series of choices we make?"
The answer to that is a simple YES. Life is a series of choices we make. Since we are discussing freedom, and that has to encompass everything in life, should we not be free from having to make choices? Will that not be the most basic definition of freedom? Will that not mean that every point in life, we have the freedom to be, rather than choosing to being? In addition, as a final point, is the consciousness that we all revel in a reality? Do we believe that life is a continuous function of conscious decisions or is it a collection of unconscious choices?
Fleeting thoughts,
Claiming stake.

November 10, 2008

Dry tears


A secret,
One that she cannot reveal,
Covering every smile,
Painting every action,
Pain
She refuses to see.
Every moment she cries
Her dry tears
Unseen by my all seeing eye.
Her life, she says,
Is a sham;
A lie to the world,
An unsaid lie,
To a world
She refuses to acknowledge.
She chooses to live
In the shadow
Of times gone by
With hopes, none
Of the times to come.
She now stands before me
Asking me to wash away
Her dry tears
Running down her face.
The tears I see not,
Ones I sense not
For her pain
Is hers and not mine
Her joy is hers and not mine
For she is hers
And hers alone and not mine.
I smile
My all unknowing smile.
She understands,
Help her, I cannot
My hollow smile
On an equally hollow heart
Holds no love
To soothe her pain,
Holds no water
To quench her heat,
Has no fingers
To wipe away her dry tears.
She smiles in return
As she fills my empty heart
With her dry tears
And my empty smile
With her heavy heart.
Together,
We fill each other
Her pain to my joy,
My pain to hers.
At long last
Her tears laid to rest
In an empty shell
On an empty smile.

November 1, 2008

Best and worst

Identity


A thousand knowing eyes
Among
A thousand unknown faces.
My own eyes,
Scraping the floor
Averting gazes,
Missing eyes.
Yet strangley,
I am at home,
For here I belong,
This, my Identity.

Picture courtesty Balu - acetic acid

October 31, 2008

I, Icarus



Earthbound, I Icarus,
One day wished to fly,
To soar into the clouds,
Into the heavenly sky.

Bird, alas, I was not,
No wings of mine to beat,
They said, “Humans do not fly,
They stand on their earthly feet.”

Far stronger
Were my dreams of flight,
One day to leave the ground
Out of my mortal sight.

Wings I grew
Of wax and leather
Tethered to my arm
By straps of leather.

I beat my arms
As I had seen the birds do
Up and down, up and down
As away from me they flew.

First, just an inch,
I cleared off the ground,
The weightlessness of flight
Intoxicating, I found.

Harder, I beat my hands
Till ache grew in my arms.
I beat on still, higher I went
As you looked on in alarm.

“Higher, higher, faster, faster,”
Until hoarse I cried,
To soar above the clouds,
Above everything I tried.

Along with the eagles,
Far over your head,
Right up to the sun,
Where even birds fear to tread.

The wax began to melt,
And feathers, off they fall,
In the middle of the sky
Oh did my flight stall.

And earthward I hurtle,
I smile and close my eyes,
I Icarus, man-bird
Will always belong to the skies.

31st October 2008

October 27, 2008

Just for a minute



She stands there,
Hardly moving a degree,
awaiting his arrival, just
A few minutes away
She has waited an hour
To be with him again,
Even if were to be
For just a minute.
The world rushes past,
Looking at them;
A couple to the world,
To an unseeing eye
They are together,
Oblivious
To the world around.
She counts the seconds,
A mental countdown,
Till the second arrives
When he moves on above her.
Her joy unforetold,
They seem to appear one,
One body as,
Her small body mergers
With the big one of his.
Even in unity,
She anguishes still,
For even together,
They are apart,
Joined at the feet
Cursed to go around,
Awaiting that one minute
When they be together.
She cannot touch him
Just his feet,
He is stoic,
Does not seem to mind
As if he is looking ahead
To move away from her.
She pleads and beseeches
"O why for more than a minute?
Can we not stop time,
Forever, for us?"
For the whole minute
He does not talk
And as the minute ends
He moves on,
Parting slowly but surely.
And as he moves on
He whispers into her ear
"Hold on my love for
An hour goes very fast.
Move not very much,
For I will run
And we will be together again
Even it were for
Just a minute".


Let the muse know that I have been mused

October 26, 2008

Hypnosis

Sitting at the wheel,
Movements automated
Gears move from first, 
To second, third,
Hitting higher speeds,
They move to fourth and fifth.
No thought on the road,
A blank mind.
Hand handling the wheel, 
Legs handle the pedals,
The music blaring on
 radio
Music I do not hear,
Just the sound
That drives away the languor
I look on at the traffic ahead.
All in a state of hypnosis,


All moving ahead, 
In the same direction
At the same speed.
One stops and so do the rest,
One moves, 
And rest do likewise.
No individuality,
All just the same
Image of the one ahead.
The roads are long, 
They are straight
Nothing to distinguish
This bend 
From the next,
All driving along
Waiting for their exit
The one that takes them home.

26th October 2008

Diwali....

Another festival, one of the many that dot the Indian calendar has come. However, this one is different, for it is time for Diwali, the festival of lights. There are many mythological tales behind the tale, the most notable ones being the return of Ram to the kingdom of Ayodhya, and the conquest of Krishna over an evil ashura, whose name I forget. I am not going to talk about that. 
I am going to talk about what this festival means to me. 
  • Fighting with mom to sleep a few minutes when she comes to wake me up at 4:00 in the morning
  • Having an oil bath, squirming when she gets the oil on the face. Trying to remove the oil from all parts of the body with the bitter Sheekakai (I have tasted it, accidentally) and coming to terms with the burning eyes. No matter the rest of the year we use shampoos and conditioners, that day belongs to sheekakai. (If you are a kid, you are allowed to use Kadalamaavu)
  • New clothes, the ones that we shopped for the previous weekend, bugging dad to get a jean (when I was a kid, they were a fad and not the ubiquitous clothing of today) and a Tee shirt 
  • Making a thousand faces when mom feeds you the Diwali marundhu (Diwali medicine), a concoction of things that I still have no idea of
  • Going out to be the first in the society to set of a hundred wala, the first to start the day long sessions of crackers
  • Coming back home for the puja, praying to god for things that I do not even remember
  • Waiting for mother to finish cooking, the Vadais (Wada), the paal payasam (Kheer), the poricha appalam (fried papadams). Eating till I can eat no more
  • Going back with friends to either burst more crackers, or play a game of cricket (is there any other game.)
  • Going out with dad in the evening and seeing him bravely bursting the bigger crackers, the ones that I was scared to burst, the atom bombs, the giant flowerpots, those Vishnu chakarams, closing my ears in fright, bur completely enthralled with the event.

Years have passed and I have come to realize that the festival was more than all this. It was a time to be with your family. A festival is not the clothes or the food. It is just an excuse to spend time with friends and family. Things have changed in the recent years, festival have become a reason to call home, to tell them things that are not important anymore, discuss who is doing what and then keep the phone down returning to our daily lives. 

Here is to wishing all the people who are not with the near and dear on a festival, a Happy Diwali
and here is to wishing all the people who are with their near and dear on the festival.. A Happy Diwali

October 21, 2008

Of rocks and pebbles


Eons have passed,
Running water
Having weathered the rocks.
Those grooves I admired,
All smooth, all plain.
The grooves remain,
But, in memory.
I am, but, a boat,
Riding along the stream
On whose shores
I saw the grooved rock once.
I came back to see again
The grooves on that rock,
But here I see no rock,
For all I see is a pebble
In the place where I saw rock.
The pebble is true
For it is there.
The grooved rock is true,
For I saw it there.
I walk on by,
Another memory to carry.
Until I pass by the pebble again,
The grooved rock is a memory,
Just a memory, for
The pebble is here.

Black







P.S. This is my 150th post, and I could think of no better way to commemorate the joy that I have derived from this medium.

October 18, 2008

Eyes



Eyes, they are a one way mirror
Showing the world to me,
Everything that I want to see.

My mind remains closed
Behind open eyes
To the world outside.

Eyes they are open,
To light,
Piercing painful light.

Behind open eyes,
In the presence of light,
I struggle to see.

They hold back
From the outside world
What is me, me.

Eyes, they remain closed
To everything that goes on
In the inside of me.

My eyes close,
Light enters, Mind opens
I can finally see.


Picture courtesy: http://possikimble.blogspot.com/

October 15, 2008

A month



You barely see her forehead,
As she peeps from over the mountain.
Hiding her face,
All scarred from years of strife.
The day is special,
The start of something new.
You promised her a new start
The end of something to forget,
For she is coming out of your shadow.
Over a fortnight,
She has prepared for this day,
Each day adding a little more,
To arrive at her wondrous splendor.
As she gains more courage,
And steps out of her room
Every eye turns to her
To wonder in her majesty
This is first meeting, anew,
She has chosen an orange drape
So splendid against the dark room,
Set off by the glow on her face.
As she comes out more,
She changes into a resplendent white,
Dazzling to the naked eye,
As bright as the midday sun.
She hides not the scars
That runs along the side of her face,
Her scars make her more alive
Bringing perfection to an imperfect being.
As she progresses along to you,
Willing to put on show all she has,
She starts removing from what she put on
Moving from splendor to a thin crescent.
You could hold on no longer,
For she had to be in your shadow,
“A fortnight in the open”, you said
“Is a fortnight too long”, you said.
All dressed in black today,
Hiding the scars on her face,
She slips back into your shadow,
To remain behind you for the day.

For the full Nila outside the window, and the full one inside

October 5, 2008

Lightning



A clap, a streak,
Of white in complete black.
But for a second, she stays,
All illuminating.
Purity, in all her energy,
Dissipated in a moment in
Her thousand arms,
Brandishing,
She takes a path
From heaven above
To the earth below.
Fear not for she is sent
To quench the world
The world of its thirst.
Soon she will be gone,
Leaving her tears behind,
Her tears that will soothe
The very burns she caused
She burns the air
Around her, singeing
No mark left of her
To show that she was here.
Just the memory of her path
Infringed on my eye.
Just a memory of her tear
On the palm of my hand.

Personal public writing

Trying to make sense of the following sentences

1) I write for my pleasure
2) I blog

There seems to be something fundamentally contradictory in the above two statements.

I have always maintained that writing is something that has always given me immense pleasure. In fact, the other day, during a conversation with Suchitra, I went to theorize that writing is currently the evolutionary equivalent of being the fastest runner among cheetahs, being the toughest elephant, or being the fastest swimming shark with the worst bite. The reason being that evolutionarily, humans have come to a situation where they do not have to be fast, or sturdy. In fact, man has come to a state where his size does not matter and it is the thoughts in his head that do.

Taking the analogy forward, to be able to think is to mean to be evolutionarily enabled, to be the fittest among the species, for it means an ability to think (or at least a thought that they do!)

Therefore, the underlying is that I have a perceived ability to think. If I can do that, I write so that I have a forum to discuss what it is that my thoughts are and to receive and perceive the underlying thought processes of others writing, which means that my writing, although does not pander to others, is still a call out to others to read what I write, to comment and therefore commence a train of discussion.

Therefore, there is no underlying disconnect as long as there is a healthy conversation on the blog. Is there? I think so.

Words mine,
From thoughts mine.
To hear thoughts
Yours,
On thought,
Mine.
A conversation,
A discussion,
A mutual exchange.

September 26, 2008

Need to write vs. Desire to write

"It is the final round and the two opponents are squaring off in the middle of the ring."

"In the blue corner, we have the defending champion, Need to write, who has never been displaced from his position of the ruler of sanity.

"In the red corner, we have the challenger, Desire to write. He is an up and coming fighter, who is much more of an enigma. He seems sane, but is he? That is the question on everyone's minds today."

"The fight is about to start and the tension is so thick that you could cut it with a knife. The entire fate of the four cities of Soliloquy, A tall tale, My god and My religion, and The N Series hangs in the balance. The two pugilists have been very vocal with what they plan to do if they come up tops. We will now go with the file footage of what they said in the locker rooms."

"Mr Need, what do you think will be the outcome of the fight?"

"There is not doubt about it Blog, there is only one champion, there is only one reason HE (note: this is self, me, AR) blogs. That is because he has me, The Need. If it were not for me, he would never have begun this blog. Once I am re-crowned the champion, I will ensure that there is a post a week, a story a week and philosophy like never before. Now get out of my way, before I mow you down, just like I am going to mow down Mr. Desire."

Well, that was a confident Mr. Need. Now the same question asked to Mr. Desire.

"Well, it is a fight, and the person who is better will win. I sure do hope it is me. But, my best wishes with Need. He needs it. And there are no rules or regulations when it comes to writing. HE will always be a writer, even if he writes or not. And when he gets an idea and Desire to write, he will come back. Ciao"

"The fight starts and all Desire does is touch Need, and Need is out like a light. The count is on, Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, there is no response from Need, six, some amount of stirring, Five, Four, this is close, Need is dazed, Three, Two, I think we have a new champion, One and he is out of here."

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new champion, Desire to write. As promised as and when I get a thought worth penning, time to spend and desire to write, I will be back.

Cheers and have a good night.

Still falling

Still falling,
With each passing second,
Increasing velocity
Decreasing distance
I am still falling

The earth
Rushing up from below
The skies
Running away from above
I am still falling

My eyes are wide open
Looking at the world
As it hurtles up to me
I greet it with arms open
Even though I am still falling

It is a jump I took
A flight in the sky
A parachute-less flight
From start to finish
I am still falling

I can hear the wind
As it rushes forward
Me it greets, cradling
My body, which is
Still falling

No weights,
Neither limits
nor boundaries
Can exist in this state, when
I am still falling

No fear nor regrets
for the fall is the joy in it all
I am still falling,
for the earth is a long way off,
And truth still rising.

August 10, 2008

Cocoon

She looked at the thing
Lying on the window sill.
A cocoon, unopened, virgin
Lying await for the grand opening.

And as she stood there,
A small head appears
Peeking, with eyes so big,
Looking outside for the first time.

Breaking the shell of safety
The confines of home,
The little one crawls out
Into open light for the first time.

Even though the wings are stuck,
The eyes almost covered and
The legs wont hold
The thing wont stop trying

At last it succeeds,
It stand up on its feet,
Opens those color filled wings
And takes to flight, to live

She stands there looking
From within her shell, wobbly legs,
Stuck wings, blank eyes, in her cocoon
Wishing she could fly, she could.

August 8, 2008

Quarter life crisis

I know that this is a forward and I know that it has been circulated like a zillion times, but it makes some level of sense. (And it is damn funny)
It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.

You start realizing that people are selfish and that, maybe, those friends that you thought you were so close to aren't exactly the greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch with are some of the most important ones. What you don't recognize is that they are realizing that too, and aren't really cold, catty, mean or insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

You look at your job... and it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you.

Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't. One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure.

You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward.

You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. Or maybe you love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure out why you're doing this because you know that you aren't a bad person. One night stands and random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision. You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for yourself... and while winning the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!

What you may not realize is that every one reading this relates to it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out.


We call it the 'Quarter-life Crisis'.

August 7, 2008

Beauty

Beauty - The qualities that give pleasure to the senses. Man has forever been on a search for beauty. Even Keats could not get to what it meant and gave up when he said, 'Beauty is truth, and truth beauty. That is all ye need to know'.

I would agree with the definition, for beauty is something to please the senses. It does not have to be just sight. For example, even a nice pot of mellagu rasam is beautiful as it gives pleasure to my nose. A rough surface to me is beautiful, for I gain pleasure from touching the surface. To each sense, its own.

My question at this point of view is there should be something that sets beauty apart from the other things that are not beautiful. Please do realize that when I mean beautiful, it is from my frame of reference, it is from my perspective. It is not universal. The one thing that is necessary for something to be realized as beautiful is for that thing to be in sharp contrast to the surroundings, for that thing not to belong. Only then does that thing stand of being considered for beautiful. I will see if I can give a few examples to drive home the point.

Let us take the most general of all things that is considered beautiful, a rose. A rose alone, is beautiful. If that rose were to be placed on a pile of garbage, the beauty of the rose is enhanced, for it is in sharp contrast to the garbage. Now if we place the rose along with other roses, what will happen. The rose stops looking beautiful? Well not really. What happens is that the roses as a set become beautiful, for they are in sharp contrast with the surroundings and the individual roses lose their identity. It goes from being a beautiful rose to being a bunch of beautiful roses. Now if we have a rose garden, then it is a beautiful garden of roses, no more bunch.

Beauty is uniqueness,
For one is more beautiful than two.
Two are beautiful too,
When they are not one.
I stand out,
In contrast, I am seen.
For me to be beautiful,
I need to be alone, I need to be free.

August 2, 2008

Kuselan - a front row perspective - (No Spoilers)

Over all verdict: (Personal) Of all the movies I have seen Rajinikant in, this one is one of the best.

Question: How does one manage to sit though a movie in which every scene does not focus on Superstar?
Answer: By looking beyond the Superstar and actually watching the movie.

The story is well known - the one of Sudama and Lord Krishna. In fact the entire movie runs on that theme (I will not divulge more). The mythological story goes as to how Sudama, a poor Brahman and a erstwhile close friend of Lord Krishna is convinced by his wife that he should go and ask for assistance from Krishna. When Sudama goes (if I am not mistaken to Dwaraka) and manages to meet the lord, he does not ask for a penny. However, when he comes home, he finds that he has all the luxuries that a man could dream of, for the lord knew what he wanted, and how much he respected the friendship not to ask for anything. The story is one of friendship at the base level.

The above mentioned folklore is adopted to suit the tastes of the modern Tamil cinema going population by P. Vasu. In a typical Rajini movie, one does not have to think, all one has to do is to suspend thought and watch the man on the screen. However, this is one movie which makes one think. For that reason alone, I would recommend a watch.

Personally the highlight of the movie was Pasupathy. As in Veyil, he is perfect to play the role of the meek underachiever with a massive inferiority complex. He is able to portray the emotions that go into such a person to the 'T' and for most of the movie takes the cake away from Rajini. In fact, there are places when you forget that it is a Rajini movie. Kudos to the actor.

Nayanthara has no role other than to be a bombshell and she plays the part well. In fact, other than Pasupathi and in some parts Rajini, most of the other characters do not have a great role to play. Comedy is the usual slapstick, with Vadivelu getting the living daylights beaten out of him, Livingston with a flat performance and Santhanam providing a few minutes of laughter.

Meena as Pasupathy's wife has come up with a decent performance, although one is not supposed to use logic to compare the state of her dressing and the state of her living.

The music played its part, with one song - Chaaral well rendered by Shreya Ghoshal being catchy. Most of the songs are just peans to Rajini. The BGS was good, in most places complementing the brillaint picturization.

One of the main points in it for me was the cinematography. Aravind Krishnan has come up with some breathtaking shots and I think that his sense of color usage during most parts of the movie was extraordinary. I would have appreciated it if the use of animation was restricted to places where it would make sense (dolphins in a lake near the Andhra Tamil Nadu border sure does not).

Over all, the movie is one which one can go to if they are not looking for a typical Rajini movie. It has its moments, but on the whole it is decent value for money. I would recommend the movie for a Saturday morning show for those who work and for a Wednesday evening show for those who can make it at that time.

P.S. (Go for Pasupathy if not for anything else)

July 23, 2008

Atlas (Re)shrugged

This is a short piece.. I guarantee that.
This is something that I noticed in 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand.
The error is self evident. I have copied the concerned text from the book verbatim.

"While you were dragging to your sacrificial altars the men of justice, of independence, of reason, of wealth, of self-esteem-I beat you to it, I reached them first. I told them the nature of the game you were playing and the nature of that moral code of yours, which they had been too innocently generous to grasp. I showed them the way to live by another morality-mine. It is mine that they chose to follow."

I think that the non readers of Atlas Shrugged need a small summary of the situation.
"The main conflicts of the book surround the decision of the "individuals of the mind" to go on strike, refusing to contribute their inventions, art, business leadership, scientific research, or new ideas of any kind to the rest of the world. Society, they believe, hampers them by interfering with their work and underpays them by confiscating the profits and dignity they have rightfully earned. The peaceful cohesiveness of the world disintegrates, lacking those individuals whose productive work comes from mental effort. The strikers believe that they are crucial to a society that exploits them, denying them freedom or failing to acknowledge their right to self-interest, and the gradual collapse of civilization is triggered by their strike." Source: Wikipedia (Go here for the entire article - Wikipedia Atlas Shrugged)

The lines in italics undermines the book and the entire John Galt speech. After all, it does not matter if they choose to live by the laws of the people who wish to use the product of individual brilliance for societal means or the laws of Galt, in the end they are not living their own lives. They are leading lives that is required of them by others. In this regard, the book does not talk completely of objectivism, but of disguised dictatorship for she (Rand) has ended up with a sermon generally associated with priests. It appears that she has crowned herself the high priestess of how to live a life.
In the end, I appreciate what Rand has taught me, 'My life is mine and no one has any right of it other than myself.'
I do not need to be told this no matter by whom- neither Rand, neither Galt and neither any of her other creations, this is something I know. In the event that I do not realize that my life is mine, I guess that I do not have the right to be informed of something that is so fundamentally true.
Neither Galt's nor Roark's
Neither Toohey's nor James'
My life is mine, Mine alone.

July 7, 2008

Life and Death

Everytime I look in your eyes,
I live a thousand lifetimes,
Everytime you close your eyes
I die a thousand deaths.
Life and death,
Separated by the blink of your eyes.
In you I see me,
In me you see you.
Everytime you see in my eyes,
I die a thousand deaths.
Everytime I close my eyes,
I live a thousand lifetimes.
Death and Life
Separated by the blinking of mine

July 3, 2008

Never love what you do for a living!!!!

I am sure that this is something that everyone aspires to achieve. Every person entering the work scene has this as his/her dream and old people regret not having had this during their professional life. The dream of doing what one loves, not loving what one does (they read almost the same; however, carry a subtle difference).
This too was my dream, to get into something that I love. In fact, every profession I wanted to pursue. Being one of fickle mind, I have had my share of dream professions ranging from the mundane army general to all-important doctor. If some had asked me when I was in school what I was to become, in most cases I would have said a doctor. Then I did a turn around and joined engineering. During my engineering, I wanted to get into some Masters and become a researcher. Never once did I think that I would take the management side of business. I have always been a techie. However, here I am, a management graduate in finance, working for one of the top-notch financial institutions. This is my learning.
Never do something that you love as a profession. Always pick a profession that you like and not love. Pursue it so that you are doing something that you like. Keep the thing that you love to pursue along with the profession. I do agree that this sounds ridiculous. If one is given an opportunity to pursue some profession that they love, they should not do so. The answer is that profession over a period becomes a mean to an end. One cannot and should not restrict one’s life to work. Work is something that gives you the means to enjoy life. If you take the thing that you love the most and make a job out of it, the sheer monotony of having to do it over and over again will kill the love for it. I will give a rather vulgar example, but one that will drive the point home.
Human beings are built to enjoy sex. However, think of a prostitute. She does it for a living; so much so that there will come a point where she does not even what to think about it outside of her ‘work’. Take a sportsperson. As a child imagine that he loved running and feeling the wind in his face. As he grew older, he pursued running as a career. However, he did not take into account the amount of training he will have to do, the amount of effort he has to put in. finally, when he is running the actual race, he is not enjoying the wind in his face anymore. He is looking to see what his position is or what would his sponsor think of his current place. He is not driven by the love for what he is doing, but by the desire to excel in what he is doing. He does not love running anymore.
That is why I started by saying that one should not do what one loves for a living. There are many of so-called writers around, who dabble in blogs. Imagine if some publisher came to us and told us to write books, one after another. There would be a period, we would have to cater to a larger audience, and the entire joy of writing will be devoid in our works.

Therefore, today I vow,
If given a choice,
Never to pursue
What I love as a profession.
I will pursue, what I like,
Leaving the love to remain.

June 30, 2008

Dignity of Labor

This is something that I have thought of for quite some time now. Let me begin with something that t according to many people shows me as a snob. I mostly watch English movies, vow away from Hindi ones and watch the Tamil ones that are prescribed by Balu, who shares my taste in movies, at least the good ones. It is usually a norm that he will watch a Tamil movie first and then if he finds it good and wants to go another time, he will go along with me.
In all the English movies that I have seen, people follow all kinds of professions, they are waiters, janitors, truck drivers, firemen, cops, business magnets, run of the mill farmers; you name a profession and they are in it. However, they are not given preferential treatment as I see happening in our country. What I fail to understand is why is that to us a person who cleans a drain is socially below the one that calls him to do so? Should it not be the other way around; he is able to do something you are not, therefore he is better than you are?
I do agree that there is a certain comparison going on, something that I vowed never to do however, when it is staring you in the face, there is not much that you can do about it. It pisses me off to see someone call a waiter the way that you call a dog, pouting your lips and making noises that sound like you are sucking hard on something. I use this example because it is the most obvious. Quite some people do not even know the names of the servant maid who come to clean their houses and cook for them. After all, they say, "She does a job, which I pay her to do and why should I know her past, her present and her future?" What do they have to benefit?
Let me tell you something that I have tried and has paid off. The next time you take a rickshaw, try indulging the driver in harmless banter. You do not notice the traffic you are stuck in and at the end of the ride; you have made your self an acquaintance. The other day, I got into a rickshaw and the driver did not even ask me where I was headed. He drove as if he knew where I was to go. Having been in a bad mood and lost in thought, I did not even notice until he pulled up in front of my office, apparently, I had talked to him a few days before and he remembered me.
Try talking to your maid the next time, ask her about her kids, about her life and I am sure that you will notice the improvement in the quality of work and the involvement that she has.
Why do a few words said in what can be described as kindness make such a difference? The reason is simple; you are treating them like a human being. You are giving them the most important thing that a person needs- dignity - dignity of labor. You are telling them that no matter what work you do, you are doing it to feed yourself and your children, the same way that I work. Just because you earn lesser than I do, that does not give me the right to look down on you (I beg you, please refrain from asking if there is anything that gives me the right to look down on you, the only thing that does if I am taller than you are and I am literally looking down on you).
In the end, I wish that no one would have to undergo what millions undergo in this country, of being denied the dignity of labor. The government talks about equality, unless there is dignity of labor, there cannot be any equality, for equality comes from within and not without.
You no better than I am,
For I am no better than you are.

June 3, 2008

First rains

Stuck in this small room,
On the seventh floor,
I look out at the world,
So hot, so humid,
Months of summer
Behind her, as she lies in wait
For the first rains.

The clouds linger over,
Promising relief,
Delivering nothing,
Pass on by, a game they play.
She is parched,
Her children faded,
Yearning for a drink
The drink of life.

Finally the day arrives
When the first raindrops fall
Bringing with them
Cool relief from the heat,
Tenderness for the parched throat.
She hugs the raindrops
As they fall into her,

The earth below
And the drops from above
Dance their cosmic dance,
Emitting smells
Heavenly, yet earthbound.

Her children, they bloom,
With all their might,
For father has come,
To give them life.
It is the first rains
It is the start of new life.

Alone to the theater

If one wants to really watch a movie, I recommend a visit to a theatre on a weekend, especially the early morning show. This has two advantages; the cost of the ticket is comparatively lesser (Rs. 70 as compared to Rs. 170 in the evening) and the feeling that the movie is being screened exclusively for you. Even if the cost is not a factor, one must experience the second one. It is an amazing experience to sit in a theater, with a sprinkling of patrons all seated in the top row. I would recommend getting a seat in the middle rows. This way, one is again away from the crowd (which tends to concentrate at the top rows) and you get a better feel of the movie. The sides of the screen do not come into the point of view and the sound is better. Most of the theaters have DTS Surround sound and this is the best way of experiencing the sound systems. One of my friends tells me that these days the theaters have seats akin to barcaloungers. He tells me that it is possible to get a normal ticket and proceed to sit in these extremely comfortable seats. Please do remember that when you are in the theater on a weekend morning, the probability of finding “love birds” cooing away in the dark nooks is high. Be ready to ignore them. Do not embarrass yourself and them by gawking at them. There is bound to be the few people who come for time-pass; they will pass comments, make inappropriate jokes at the inappropriate times, and have a ball. You have two options, you can either pick fight, and chances are that you are grossly outnumbered. Else, you can shut up and try to watch the movie. There is no typical response for this. The best solution for an unruly crowd is to request once. If they do not oblige, then if the theater is empty, move. These days, the kinds of movies being produced has improved significantly in quality. I still abhor the running around the trees romance, with dishoom dishooms. A movie was ideally meant to provide an escape from reality. One could forget the tribulations of daily life when he/she was at a movie. Is there any other reason that will validate the crowds at a Rajinikant or a Shah Rukh Khan starrer? People do not want to have to think during a movie. They are happiest when everything is spoon-fed, the story is plain and simple, and the hero is united with the heroine. However, I believe that a movie like a book must be thought provoking. it must make you think and question. It must try to say something and allude to even more things. A movie is not an escape from reality, it is just another person’s view of reality. The movies I enjoy are the ones that make me think, even if they are animated versions. Lately I have found that the animated versions have more to think about than the others. Whatever else I have blabbered, I do recommend strongly going to a movie alone. It is like reading a book, a highly personal experience. Once you go alone, you would keep doing that.

May 29, 2008

Indifference

This post shall begin, like most of my other posts, with thanks to the person who brought this conversation to the fore, Suchitra. If it were not for your questions, I would not be even half the thinker that I think I am.

The question under consideration is what is indifference? We are not going to talk about whether it is beneficial or not. All I am interested is in what it is.

Indifference as defined would mean the ability to come face to face with something and not be affected by it. It seems to mean that the something that one is indifferent to does not hold any importance in my books.

In my opinion, that cannot be indifference. If something is not important to us, then we cannot be indifferent to it. Rather, when something is not important to us, it does not matter what we are to it. We can pay heed to what it is; we can choose to ignore it, neither matter, for once we place it in the realm of unimportant, even the emotion that it triggers is unimportant.

Therefore, I understand that we can be indifferent only to the things that are important to us. The next question is, “Are we indifferent to things that we do not know of?” That too, I believe does not constitute indifference, it is obliviousness. When we are not in the know of something, to say we are unaware of neither its existence nor its non-existence, we are oblivious to it; therefore not indifferent to it.

Therefore, we can be indifferent to things that we know exist and are important to us. This seems to be a self-contradictory statement. How can one consider important and yet be indifferent to it?

The answer, according to me, lies in what indifference means. If it means that we do not pay heed to what happens to it, then we are not indifferent. It should ideally mean that we consider it important; however, it does not have the capacity to run our emotions. The indifference is not to the presence or absence of an entity, it is to the effect that it has on us.

The above statement means that even though something is not present, we can still be not indifferent to it, for it plays an important role in our psychological well-being. I do accept that there is a very thin line between what constitutes indifference what constitutes the opposite. I do accept that with an overview, indifference means no important. However, I can see a subtle difference that lies in the area of importance.

Indifference is in my head,
As is everything else.
I can need you,
Yet be indifferent,
I can have no use for you,
Yet hold you in high esteem.
It is not importance you see,
For indifference lies in my head.

May 23, 2008

The final farewell

She had held on enough,
Treasuring memories,
Recalling them every time.
He’d moved on,
Leaving her behind,
Removing traces
She’s left.
This was her turn,
Her salve.
Remove picture
Tear letters
Throw mementos.
Everything that reminded
Her of him.
Long enough
Building sand castles
That broke with each wave.
Long enough,
Hoping against hope,
For events that'd never happen
Long enough
She’d said
For things must end.
She changed locks,
She changed keys
She even changed the door,
For it reminded of him.
Long enough
She’d waited
To accept what she knew
Things had moved on
It was her turn now.

May 16, 2008

My unknown woman

Oh unknown woman,
I pray to you,
Do not get up and leave.
I know not who you are
Or of whence you came.
Let us fool each other a little longer,
Let us fool we know each other,
That we are friends,
That you are my lover.
The stops are rushing by,
Each more frightening than the last.
With each approaching stop,
I pray this is not the one,
The stop where you get off.
As the bus pulls out of the stop,
I am scared to turn,
Lest you catch me
Looking at you.
I sit there looking ahead,
Looking at nothing in particular
Trying to hear every sound,
That comes out of you.
From the moment you sat beside,
I have not looked at your face.
All I see are your hands
As you finger your book
One that you are not reading.
Fingers, so slender,
With nails so pretty
A touch so ginger, the lightness I feel,
When your skins brushes mine.
I think of things I can say,
A joke, a comment, a wisecrack.
But nothing comes to my mind
All I can offer is my silence.
You accept my silence
And offer me more,
That which is the foundation of our love.
You are sitting there,
So close,
That I can smell your perfume,
The one I did not purchase
For our non-existent anniversary.
You look at the watch on your wrist,
A wrist so slim,
I am scared the watch will fall off.
As you seem to be in a hurry
To go somewhere
Without me.
The bus rolls on, oblivious to us,
Everyone seems oblivious
To what is not going on between us.
You start packing your things,
You are telling me,
Without actually saying a word,
That you are going to leave soon,
Leaving me here,
Ruing the silence
That hung between us.
Oh woman who was beside me
Whence you came from,
Where did you go?
My woman, who shared a seat
Who left, without sharing a life.

May 3, 2008

Horizon

She was vast,
Expanse-less, I thought.
She covered me from all sides,
As she held me up,
So I would not sink.
She seemed all powerful,
moving with an ease,
an ease that came from within
and one that seen on her skin.
Her skin was flawless,
Though with many a trough;
She let you feel each one
As you rode over
Making your way
To where you wanted to go.
Then you looked in the distance,
Until you saw she too was being held up.
By the even more expanse-less sky.
He gently reached down,
And kissed her with his blue lips
For she was not truly blue,
She was made blue,
By his kiss.
He gave her strength,
The blue was her strength,
The blue which hid her depths
From all those at the surface.
These lovers,
They stared at each other for million miles
They held each other at a thin line,
A line that no one but them could ever see.

April 30, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes - Thoughts of a sage

Bill Watterson created the ultimate six-year old when he penned the characters of Calvin and Hobbes. These two have brought untold joy to millions of people all over the world. I too am one of those who have seen the world through Calvin's eyes. The strips below are some that I could not personally believe came from a six year old for they contain wisdom which even we as adults lack. Agreed that they are on death, but hey they are really good.










April 26, 2008

What is in a name?

The basic idea for this post is not mine; it is something I read in “The unbearable lightness of being” by one Milan Kundera. The fact that he is a Nobel laureate is something else.

The question he asks is why one loves his or her name so much. As I ask the question, I can hear most of us raise an eyebrow, “Why do I love my name? Is it not simple? Because it is mine and how can I not like something that is mine.”

The question that I would like to ask, and the question is not mine, is that how did that name, with which we identify so much become ours? Did we choose it? Did we ever think that of all the names in this world, this is the one that I identify with and therefore I like to be called that?

In all cases, expect for those (un)fortunate few who did not have parents, all the names were chosen by our relatives, parents in most cases, grandparents aunts uncles and friends of parents in others. The parent or relative thinks of all the names that they have heard thus far in life and then proceed to give their child that name. Do they ever think that once grown up, their child may not like the name that they gave them, or does it cross their minds that their children may not live up to the names that they were given?

Imagine the preconceived burden that a child named Gandhi or Jawaharlal has. Take for that matter an Indira, or now a Laloo. These children are named in the parent's hope that they will turn out to be as great if not greater than the personality they were named after. Just think of the scandal if a person named Gandhi decided to be a professional criminal, a thief who was apprehended by the police. The first sentence that they would hear would be, “How could you, with the name of Gandhi commit such a crime?”

This could work both ways. Imagine that some person who disliked Mahatma Gandhi (there are a few people who do and they have a right to) and named their son Nathuram. Even if the child turned out to be a saint, the society will always retort, “How could you do something right? After all, your name is Nathuram” Now we are not here to debate if Ghodse did a correct thing or not, the one crime he committed, which is not pardonable is that he killed another human being. Now the fact that Gandhi was not just another human being is something that is secondary to the fact. If we stop giving names of people who have committed a murder, I am sure that we will end up with no names to give.

This is not restricted to the name alone. There are so many of us who are such narcissists that we spend hours looking into the mirror, reveling in our reflection. As most of us already know the root of the word, Narcissus, the story of the young man who saw his own reflection in the water and was smitten by it. He was so smitten that he did not move and kept glaring into the water until he turned to stone or something like that.

Taking the question of the name a bit further, we do not have a choice of how we look, unless we were the children of plastic surgeons who have the power to change how we look. When what we appear to be is the sum of a large set of permutations and combinations over the pair of genes we receive from our parents. It is a factor of which gene is dominant, which is recessive and which one is dormant.

The face structure, the physical build, the hair color, the eye color, the length of the nose, the shape of the nose bridge, the nature of the hair, the amount of facial and bodily hair, everything that we think of as an indicator of beauty is something that is not ours. By complimenting someone on his or her looks, are we not complementing something that has been handed down over generations?

If this is the state of our being, then how can we be proud of what we appear to be? I am not talking about my usual perceptions and perceptions of perceptions, but of the possessive nature of our physical appearance. Is this why we were told that beauty is skin deep and ephemeral? Or was it something else, which had the same effect? I do not know. All I know is I am Aditya Rajaraman, a name whose choice that was made by my parents. I thank them for that for I have built my identity around that name, if I were not “Aditya Rajaraman”, son of V Rajaraman, I am not sure what I am. There is nothing else that I am. However, it is something to identify myself and it is not me. I start much above the name and I end much below my face and skin. What those start and end is, I do not know, but I know they are there.

April 10, 2008

Marriage or Bust

I guess that I have already discussed the impossibility of having a plain platonic relation with a member of the opposite sex. If I remember correctly, there is a lot of hiding of urges and feeling involved. I did mention that it is not the lack of urges, rather the hiding which makes the platonicity (not a real word) possible.

I have a thought. By telling a member of the opposite sex that we do not think of them “in that way”, whatever that way is, are we not insulting them? What I mean is we are with them because we like them, but then we are not attracted to them? Is it not like telling them that if they were more attractive, we would be interested in them “in that way”, but since they are not, we are not attracted to them. What does this leave them with? Why are we friends then? So that when we do not have company, they can come and listen to our sob stories, so that we can bitch about other members of the opposite sex whom we find attractive to the one we don’t?

What do we gain from such a relationship, other than the agony aunt/uncle? Are they supposed to be a reserve, in case we do not find someone more attractive and have no option; we will begin to look at them “in that way”? Is this not the biggest insult?

It seems to me that heterosexual people should have friends of their sex only and only be friend with people who they think they can be with “in that way”. Homosexual people on the other hand should have friends only of the opposite sex. At least in this way, we will not be insulting the intelligence of the other person.

March 26, 2008

Illusion

They stood there,
Not a shred of cloth on them
Shame they felt, none
For they knew not
The meaning of shame.

The trees were empty,
No fruits they bore
The rivers, they ran dry,
For they never had thirst or hunger,
Which needed quenching.

They roamed about
Not a care in the world
For care was not present
They lived in ignorance,
Ignorance of ignorance.

They had created a god, in their image
To protect them from sin,
They made him all-powerful,
The creator more powerful
Than his own creators.

Not all animals were foes,
One friend they had, the serpent
He was beautiful,
With scales like a rainbow.
And he knew of ignorance.

In those garden of ignorance,
There stood a tree,
That held a single apple,
An apple of knowledge,
The knowledge of life.

When the serpent,
He tried to share
The knowledge of life,
No one paid heed,
Not one soul listened.

He took his friends,
The ones who would listen
He took man and woman,
To eat the apple
To know the unknown.

Now man and woman,
They stand clothed,
In hunger
In shame
In shame of knowledge.

The serpent, he shared,
To break ignorance,
Forever hated and rightly so,
For he removed the bliss,
Uncovered the blinds over our eyes.

We lived an illusion,
An illusion of ignorance.
We live a reality
One of pain and suffering,
for we chose reality.

March 23, 2008

Ideals and relationships

is something I noticed. Every time a person likes another of the opposite sex, (read likes as loves), that liking is based on an ideal. They have an ideal in their head and they mix and match and find the person is the closest to that ideal. The ideal can be in terms of looks, intelligence, emotions, et al. When a particular member of the opposite sex, accepts the initial advances and then rejects the entire thing, also known as a break-up, one has two choices, retain that ideal and at some level continue liking that person or change that ideal and get over that person. Strange is it not, how many people say that they are not able to get over somebody, when they actually mean that they are not able to get over the ideal that person meant to them. If only ideals were that easy to change!

March 21, 2008

Infidelity

Before I discuss what I plan to, let me start off with a small story. (Please excuse the length. Bear with me. The end will be worth it, I can promise you)

There lived a man sometime back. He was successful, happily married with a family that loved him as much as he loved them. They were in all senses the perfect family. He went to work, came back early to spend time with his family. The wife stayed at home and took care of the house. It was not something he forced on her. He had once told her that he was OK if she wanted to work. However, she chose to stay at home. She felt that being a full time wife and then a full time mother in itself was a job. She did not want to be one of those women who tried to balance her career and her family. She knew what was important to her and she was willing to do anything to make sure that it remained that way. She loved being at home when her son and daughter came back from school, loved talking to them about what happened that day, who they met, whom they liked and what was going on in their lives. It was not like that she did not give them their freedom. She was just involved with their lives. She especially loved when he came home from work. She mixed him his drink and they sat down in the veranda as the sun set, talking about random things until it was time to make dinner. Over all they had a good life.

Just like in the movies, I am going to bring in a twist. What is life without its twists and turns?

This man conceals a secret. Now please do not go about telling me that there is no person who does not conceal something or the other. However, I have always believed that in a relationship, especially one that has taken the form of marriage and has endured the test of time and begot two kids, the couple would have in most cases told every dark secret there is. Not because the spouse wants to know, but more because they want the other person to understand who they are and to accept them for all their deficiencies.

He had been in love once, with someone other than who was currently his wife. It was not that he did not love his wife. It was just the before marriage, he was in love with a woman. Again, this is something most men go through. I would rather go on to state that there are hardly a handful of men who have not loved someone before marriage. And there are some who have loved a handful before marriage. This was not the secret. This was the first thing that he told his wife when they were to get married. The secret was something that he was doing for the last fifteen years of marriage.

Everything he did, he sought his ex-lover's approval. It was not something that he did consciously. It just happened that everything he did, his thoughts automatically went to her.

For simplicity sake, I shall name the woman X.

He had not met X since the time they had broken up. In the last twenty years since the breakup, they had not even kept in touch. For all practical purposes, he did not know if she was alive or dead. And he was sure that she did not know of his existence either. He had moved on as she had. He was happy in marriage. But, as I said, everything he said he sought her approval. Every time he bought a something new, a shirt, a toy for his son, a dress for his daughter, the school he admitted his children in, the diamond ring he got his wife for their tenth anniversary, the house he got twelve years into marriage, everything he thought of her and what she would say.

He thought that he could hear her voice, “Very nice; expensive but nice. Do you need to get something that expensive to thank her for staying with you for ten years?” for the diamond ring. “You have to be kidding me. Why do you have to always go for black shirts? Do you not know that you look much better in white? It brings out your eyes?” Every act of his, he thought what her reaction would be.

As I said, he thought of her long after she was gone. He did not dare tell this to his wife and let us be honest, can you tell your spouse that you still think of the person who was once held in the same pedestal that you now hold your spouse? Does it not sound that you do not love your spouse and are still in love with that other one? Till his death, at the ripe old age, when his son was settled, as was his daughter and his wife had passed away, he thought of that woman who he loved for a brief period of time every single second of the day. It was her name that was on his lips when he breathed his last; not the name of the woman with whom he spent most of his life with, it was neither his mother or father, and it was neither of his children. It was X. With a smile on his lips and X on his breath he died.

The one thing I want to ask is this; does what he did throughout his life amount to infidelity? Was he unfaithful to his wife for more than fifty years that he spent with her? Was he ever disloyal? Is fidelity restricted to only the physical aspect of a relationship? Or does it surpass the mere physicality of the body and transcend into the mind? Does the thought of someone other than the woman or man you are with surmount to being infidel?

My views on this are already out in the world through my story “Betrayal”. For one who believes in the fact that even an extra marital affair does not amount to infidelity, the thought of another should not be an act of disloyal. However, being one who treasures the realm of thought, will the fact that my dearest is constantly in the thought of someone other than me not make me question the reason that person is with me? Single situation, two aspects, no decisions; just a thought.