Monday, August 3, 2009

Demons Washing Out

Epictetus once said "...that your son is sick, not that he may die of it." I don't think many people (would) get this right. The implied ignorance is deceptive, while the impossibility is a worthy, smug feeling -- like being always sure in mistaking paradise for that Home across the road. And what people end up with is a stewed over mess. They don't realize that in their daily dosage of anxiety and fear and the verisimilitude of uncertainty itself, someone plays the anchoring role to keep them tight. Someone without whom no accomplishment will be worth a penny, let alone the pearl. Demons.

Now I don't hold nothing against the Demons when they come to hurt me; when they deliver to me something as inscrutable and as out-worldly as I'm going to tell you about. It appears that as they come and go; they become a delicate cocktail of your dissolute life - just as your morning floss and evening yawns are, just as your favorite peg and joints and smokes nail you down to your basic instincts. They make you feel like a man. They are the one's who keep you humble and grounded, the one's who shake you up from your amnesia of relentless self-love, the one's who help you to raise high and wave you flag of rebelliousness, if ever you want to.

So it happened that not very long ago my Facewash and my Laptop landed up together and decided to have a feud. As you wonder what has it got to do with Demons, you are mistaken, and you need to be sanitized. See, even demons come in variety now. Great product-mix. Demons inflict your good luck charm and disturb the normal ascent of your libido. Demons churn up your mundane assumptions and keep you on the edge. There was absolutely no fucking reason why my Lappy interfere with my cosmetic indulgences, no fucking explanation why they landed up in the same travelling backpack, and overpower each other. But Demons, here they come. The bag was traveling in high speed with me; the laptop, with its useful weight, pounded over the baby Facewash gruesomely; which in turn, with all its tenacious will --puked. Not at the front cover, not at the back casing, but right inside into the screen. Guess who won then.

The demon did its job well; 9k bucks it got from me for the laptop repair, as I still wonder of Facewash's novel prospects of usage for pouring it over to cause a crash-Laptop (can make up a great Ad, if you include a smiling blonde to do it for you). But in between the Demon also made me realize that I'm so homogeneously promiscuous when it comes to money and my possessions and my love for them. And my love for loved-once. Fuck it.


These deferential Demons -- as I must address them, are the ones who wretch your own glamorized sense of self-importance, ones which make you more than the sum of your parts. It reminds you of your finite existence, and your childish limits of showcasing modesty. "Don't be so modest, you are not that good" -- sometimes I want to scream it aloud to as many as possible. Because earnestness and modesty are like those Mannequins standing in the still and glitter of the shops. Liked for exhibitionism, but not loved. For they can't do anything.

Stoicism pays. Demons are bonafide change-agents of fortune. Because chances of Misfortune is as much of worth as is the Fortune itself. Because it causes sadness to seep within you.
Because sadness in graceful. Because sadness is so fucking real, so less superficial, so much human.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grounded At The Lord's Game

Sometime back I got into a directionless debate with a friend of mine, AG. For the sake of few juvenile friends, me and AG both often have to grind pompous topics together, topics that don't really relate well :-) AG is great guy to be around with, the one with whom you can argue endlessly without bothering who is right or wrong. And that goes in everything.
Here's what we were conspiring:

AG: Yeh icerocket kya hai.... ICeRoCKET mein bhi mujhe sada hua cricket dikhta hai ;) [referring to the lesser known website: icerocket.com; and that hidden in these words is that bogus game of Cricket. He hates Cricket, maybe more than cockroaches, or maybe more than the dirty nose-hairs too]

Me: Cricket sada hua hoga tere liye. Huh [Cricket will be BS for you only.]

AG: Cricket leads to lower productivity for this country... Had people be not as fanatic about cricket as they are...India would have had higher GDP and better per capita income.. And the people would be more competitive with the rest of the world. It also leads to more divide in the country...esp after IPL...as if the country wasn't fragmented enough...It's such a sad sight to see flocking around electronic shops and putting a pause to their work. Ban cricket :) Isliye mein cricket nahi dekhta...(That's why I don't follow Cricket). Maybe we can have this as a debate topic next session ;)

Me: Thou shal be hobbled with chains and inflicted at the Gates of Sepulchura that opens up the dreaded Hell, to let know all the cursed, incarcerated witches of perdition present there -- of what a grave transgression thou had committed once, against humanity and all its followers, against the pantheons of faith -- by denouncing something as gentlemanly and as divine as the Holy Cricket itself...Amen. Truth shal behold.

AG: Don't think I got scared after your mail last evening or that I had a new-found-affinity for cricket ;)

Me: I know I know, you've no dread whatsoever for your reprehensible act of denunciation against that Holy Spirit's Game...May all the world's cricket-lover's cuss afflict you till your last cry of mercy. Amen.

AG: All holy things in this world suck... that's why they exclaim... Holy shit or Holy crap...

Me: Poor boy thou are ill-omened with a sullied eye in this pure virginal Holy world...that's why thou reckon that all of it sucks...Lord bless.

AG: And God said...Let there be light...But poor god didn't realize that people would shut their eyes on seeing the light. Hence the blind refer to the world as "pure virginal Holy world" Then god created hope (a four lettered word)... So that people keep hoping that lord would bless the world some day. Alas! Even the lord knows that he will never bless the world; but its a good ego-massage for him when people exclaim, "Lord bless"...

Me:
And if only could people realize that light deceives as much as it evinces... as much as it blazes shamelessly.
And if only could they sense the stipples and reflections of their mental eye too... eyes that could actually dream. Unparalleled.
And if only could they come out of their fatalist mindset to rediscover most of the things 'taught' to them, which they never quite really explored themselves...
And if only could they learn to etch away the impassioned dogma their mundane routines are moored to... from the hopeless hope to the overflowing ego.
And if only could they leave aside, for a moment, their crusty cynic sense of scrutiny for all that they care enough about...
Then only...the Good Lord proclaimed -- the people shall see -- a "pure virginal Holy world" -- in even the flip of a bee's wings, or in the wisps of smoke, or in the blindness of a thunder-lightnings...Amen.
---

Pretty mindless those statements are. Forget them. So yesterday Pakistan won the T20 World Championship. I'm low I badly wanted it to be Sri Lanka. However, come to think of it. A nation with a tottering democracy, leaving its home soil behind, looking down upon the world's best-of-the-best wholesomely, managed to lift the heavy cup at -- the Lord's. Even the words tend to arrange themselves mystically sometimes.
When the distrusted countrymen get even a single bright day to stand up high, to cheer out loud with a collective smile -- then, in a sweeping flash, it rubs off every little blight of anarchism, of failing nation-leaders. Just like the god's whispering in your dreams at night -- for the more religious among us, whispering a hope for the better tomorrow. Or like your neighbors --
for the less religious among us, suddenly extending before you those hesitant hands of trust, with an unfailing like-mindedness, unbeknownst heretofore. That's the realm of Cricket, for you, dear.

Image: From the book titled same. Note that this post has got no relation to the book.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

When Miss K Outstripped Me...

The first lessons of professionalism I learnt were...not here. Not here in office.

I learnt it from my house-maid. 

It was at home, back in the days when studies meant getting some time off the rigorous play schedules, and schools meant
a place to sit and conspire and hunt for potential crushes. Our maid was, well let me stand up in reverence and say... Miss K was quite like -- a deep-chilled ice-tea, a deceptive hard fried-toast, a Britney rock-star in her tiny frolicking skirts and broom, a starlet for all her fella workers, a Lara croft on her tomb raider mission, a girl with a villainous chuckle, a maid in prime form...well I pass, she was more than the sum of them all.

Never in her fledgling career Miss K would've had her mistress whipping her ass off and she letting it go without a storm, a soap-opera episode. Never there was a day when she hadn't made her yells register in each corners of her workplace -- unfortunately my home. But what would she do, dirt befriended her so much so that she must leave a trail everywhere. She would just dither and wiggle around the rooms, like a mice on an ultimate safari in a refugee camp. For her little age, order in a home was still something precocious to understand. And she made sure, with a steely conviction, that rooms be left beautifully shabby. Yes that's the first work discipline -- thou must make yourself conspicuous wherever you work, even if you aren't doing anything useful (or just anything, for the faint-hearted).  

Miss K was one unfailing prima donna of her art, the soul-love queen of her many workplace kingdoms. She just loved to snivel, fight, run, stomp, snatch, throw, pose, overhear, cry, complain, cajole, croon, curse, care, chill, cringe, cram, cower -- all dutifully in one single visit of an hour or two, with a meticulous regularity of everyday that would even make Forrest Gump shy. Which brought me to my other lessons. Thou must stick to your basic instincts however red-tape your work-processes are. Thou must trust your every little emotion you affect at the workplace, they never lay wasted. Imagine the last time you winked at the receptionist, or the time when you growled unnoticing your boss was behind. My son, they project you as a calm victor, a sentinel of your own liberty. Decency also has a limit, like indecency.


Miss K also acted with a lot of carte blanche. She never flinched from 'owning' any household material, from the sofa cushions to her TV cartoons to the uninvited lunch and dinners. Don't get me wrong here. A sense of ownership and authority is the first sign of a noisy harmony, of a blinded belonging and of unconstipated relationships -- that can be cherished in no other way. That's something about organisational behaviour for you. That's also something about pride and possessiveness you own for your work, however much you loath it. Miss K also milked her feminist rights to the best of her imagination. If she had known, she would've surely celebrated, in those steamy times as it were, had Bill Clinton not been acquitted in the Monica Lewinsky lawsuit. Or better if she was just aware how to reach court for her own little scourges. Miss K was the easiest one to get in trouble with undoubtedly the most pacifist kind of her gender-counterpart. Oops! ignore this part as any learning, no one is perfect after all.

Everyday Miss K and I would run into some kind of a crusade. A scientific surety it was. Let alone her mom who replaced
her occasionally on duty, Miss K commanded a huge patronage even from my mom -- owing to her tiny age and tinier build, which elevated her to a princess of cuteness persona. Lets take just one example. Having found my books displaced to a new kind of disorder, hitherto unknown to me, I lost no second for a, well -- legitimate (wasn't it) scowl...
"Why the hell do you touch my books" That was like clipping a bomb's fuse. Poor me, I wallowed at my success for the last time.

"Books? Which books? I don't know any books..." She retorted with missiles "How could I move those big things? And
when do you open them really. I touch them more than you do. You don't even carry them to the school. Do you know how heavy they are? It's me who grapples with your burdens each day. And I know what you do at school without books. Teach me at least I'll be better than you." I was reduced to my illiterate alter ego by then.

Without any letting up, she soon reeled into my mom..."Malkini, he doesn't even let me touch the bookshelf, how can I work
here. Ask your kid to go away when I'm in. Ask why is he tearing them away. If I had them I would grace them prim at least..."

So there I was, an educated, more mature of the two -- succumbing to this midget, unschooled, noisy creature...creature with a monumental attitude. Get the picture
right. She mentioned all things genuine and she was just being herself. And here's the last lessons for you. Thou must know how to correct your counterpart, with right kind of resources, before you can afford to engage in all of such a tirade. Thou must show your partner the bright part of yours and of everything around, even in combats.

But a thing troubles me. Miss K might have been happy primming her books, but she would've been little less so if made to rote in the classrooms instead of crafting wizardry with her brooms. Maybe that's why her mom didn't send her school, for a moment if we forget she didn't have money for it. Maybe the likes of Miss K just know how bootless the education system is. Maybe education just becomes too trivial against their universal adeptness in handling people and workplaces. Miss K was not just a maid -- a class of profession we ignore  so easily; instead Miss K was a maven, a model of every worker's desire.

Image: Gutenberg

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Curious Case of S...

"I liked most the role of Amitabh B..."
"What?"

"Kya bhaiyya kitna accha to woh autograph diya tha..." (WTF bro, I liked the way he signed the
Autograph...)

Mocked one of them with a rebellious laugh, and we were not sure whether to probe him further
for a more serious answer. Poor doting hearts of ours.

Drawing their tetchy attention for a post-movie
sitting wasn't easy at the first place. But we were curious. Maybe a little over-thought. As if whatever their reaction be, it must be an unspoken verdict, an imprimatur to our own understanding of the movie-drama-elevating-the-reality. After all they breathe at places of those kinds. After all it's raining Oscars now.

But there were others in the group, who preferred to see something else in the movie. That day...

It has ended. Coming out into the light from the faintly inspired cinema hall that was scrolling the credits by now, I could see the contended it-was-just-a-movie smiles on most of the faces. Smiles with evident forgettable casualness. No feel-goodness. And I thought "Oh, even better, maybe".

An year and more of experience with them was enough Not to surprise me on this. Who says theirs is a lesser world. Them apart, at their age we ourselves would've nicely sunk into a lot of awesomeness that we would've found in the movie - from the animated game-show glitz to the teenage looting adventures in the trains. "It was good, but fir se nahi dekhungi..." (not watch-able again) -- One muted girl among them had muted. But that wasn't all.

The yawning group sat united finally. Sunken, edgy. Fiddling with everything they could sight. Thrown to them were several lines of views -- questionnaire -- to quickly unfurl all that the theatre has dozed them with, before they could peacefully forget it. Dump it, just as they fling away most of the draggy preaching we fill them with.

And we quizzed:


All your three Scenes special...
Any Jamal around you quite real?
The character you would play,
Recall & Imagine & Recall & Say.

Etc etc.

"Salim!"..."Why?"..."Didi he was a good friend, uska dosti dikha nahi, dhoka diya bahut jagah but he was a good friend didi (unappreciated friendship, easy betrayal)"...

"I have a friend bhaiya, hero hai ho"..."Really?"..."Yes bhaiya, he din't have paisa to study. Himself earned some money. Then exam diya and topped...Accha dost bhi hai."

"So only class toppers can be good heroes? See Jamal."..."No bhaiya! Salim bhi hai na."..."But he did so many wrong things too."..."So what didi, brave tha ho, kitna daring tha usmein (Salim dared to live full)..."

And much more. Prior to all this movie-going, most of my team-mates had loved to claim: "It was something they can relate to..." But I was a little sceptical. Wrongly enough. "Just Movie? We need more around." I thought "They need an identity out of it..." Rightly enough.

***

There were few who had objected on screening the movie to our group of slum kids, for the outright graphic and gory content exhibited in it...content we safely consider we shouldn't have seen ourselves while being a kid. But I vouched:

That let's face it. That we are not tipping the kindergarten kids here, instead these young guns are the ones who face realities much murkier than the well-to-do 15-year-olds are consigned to be; and who need to grow more mature than their age allows them to be, unfailingly.

That further to it, consider the likes of Ghajini on one hand and Raaz on the other (which is also an A-rated movie and few kids here have already seen it, to our surprise) - these movies come with loads of good-and-evil confection - from the sumptuous display of rage by a cult perfectionist, to the as-senseless-as-sensual mystery marked with adroit performances (Bipasha).

That not that we should do the least imperative of things by mindlessly promoting any such movies to them; but undoubtedly too, this is their (kids) formative age to learn to sieve out the good virtues from the obvious bad; to see through most of the junk temptations of teenage years; and to rise through their inner poverty of self first than looking around on their street corners. While standing at the periphery, if we can enable these kids to appreciate where any such movie falls out in relation to their own life, then we have substantially met our goal isn't it? (Movie-watching is of course something all of them follow rather keenly).

That as far as Slumdog M...itself is concerned, well the movie isn't just about the fancy escapism cinema. SM is an idea, a concept that conflicts tradition, a lateral view so outreaching that - neither slum dwellers nor the elites, equally, would ever conceive of if left to themselves. SM risks of playing with the clichéd romanticism associated with poor and the poverty, but it does that with some tenderness and lyricism that can only bring novelty in the thoughts of the positive minds of tomorrow.

For the
kids, SM holds a window to the different ways of imagining their own world, to the mere idea that their struggle could bring in a glimmer to the life -- life beyond the-dispirited-self-indulgence many westerners are used to conceive of. Through SM they could watch the downfall of a gainful illusion that outsiders had about them, about India and about its ghettos -- as someone said -- that of gurus or Gandhi; that of cows or cobras; that of wedding or outsourcing... All in a Cinderella like fairy-tale and through the shtick of a film-maker.

Monday, February 16, 2009

When Rajini Isn't Miffed...

Few days back I had to hastily put down around 100-150 words just on a given word. The term was quite amusing in itself to write, if not unthinkable. Interesting it is that almost any single word shouldn't be 'interesting' in itself for someone to write on it. Instead you can make it prosper that way.

Neither should the word represent any pompous concepts like those you and your classmates used to debate in school competitions - with ready made ideas and cookie-cutter arguments:
Westernisation is modernisation without formalisation of govt. regularisation and this realization of true liberation facilitates the ideation of essential democratisation in the grand old civilization of our nation...(And my school judges in this debate will be awarding me marks for pissing off at the westernisation so that I can win the prize money and buy that red floral tube top with matching heels for my cocktail party tonight...)

OK pardon me none of my the girls debated like that in my school and fortune had it that none wore any skimpy red floral tube top with the matching heels ever, till I breathed last there.

So coming back from digression, they gave me the word 'Miffed' - yes, that old verbal cousin of 'Irritated' - and here's an extended version of what I had written down there:

Miffed: Oh! I never knew you had this quirky little thing in you...Wow you can talk to us words too!

Rajinikanth: AHaa! I can burn a fire. I can drown the fish. I can kill two stones with one bird. I can do anything. Mind it! Tell me what you need help for? Tell raja.

M: Sir I'm little worried. No a lot worried. And I am so helpless about it.

R: Aiyyo. What's bothering you?

M: I am being overtly used by some morons in this world. Shamelessly. People...I mean even the most sinless among them...have no control abusing what I mean and what I stand for...I am not the spittoon for all their miseries, and for their mercurial self.

R: I know, that doesn't sup rise me much. But why people use-abuse a little sweet-sounding word like you so much? See, I keep smiling all the time.

M: Sir you are different, there's a charm even in your angst, even when you feel me. And as for me, I am not just a word - I am an idea, an extension. I feel like I am the provocateur, the floodgate of all the evil.

R: Raja, don't torture yourself. You come as a natural thought to me, to everyone - and you are our necessity. Have you felt like this for always, for every being?

M: Not it was so always, nor it is with everyone. Even my playful cousin "Irritated" has a quite life with few minds...less bounden with the daily banalities of their affair. But not everyone.

R: Then?

M: You know, centuries back in the renaissance France, it was vulgar to look busy***. We used to live so effortlessly. No overwork, no sunken faces staying "miffed" all the time, for every penny issue.

R: Aiyyo. How come there was no evil then? I would've been unemployed there...

M: No! Not that everyone did, but it was just entrenched in their culture, in the masses - that to be composed is the surest sign of nobility and grace. Otherwise people there still hideously fought against their dignity, and fought brutal. Call it a disbelief if you would like to.

R: So remaining laid-back was in their ideology. And not all followed it...Ha ha. Do you mean that?

M: Nope. I mean it's about avoiding me in the most arresting of times, in resisting me when I am most tempting to these beings. Even so many laid-back minds stay quite mature, if you look that way.

R: Aiyyo. If I were a child I would ask you - that why do you flinch from sneaking into our feelings?

M: Because I'm a sparing treasure. I am like a rare tiny green emerald-gem that has been gifted to everyone. Effective as much less used. Ineffective without light.

R: What light?

M: Light of the smart self-knowingness in a person, that I am just a passable state-of-mind. Light of the realisation that I can't rule his/her temper long forever. And if (s)he can't remain sensible while still using me...then I am ruined...and (s)he too.

R: Uff. That was heavy. OK tell me...don't you detest "Calm" - your anti? The word that everyone just forces to love.

M: I don't know. It seems there's a cold war between us. We've never talked. Maybe she'll give all the airs of superiority to me. These citadels of goodness virtues mostly appear in biblical papers and idealism lectures. And...

R: Eh?

M: ...And there she receives a starry red-carpet reception, as if every time she is something new, in all her sumptuous revealing gown of sexy wisdom-ness. As if nobody knew her heretofore. I am the one much more moored to the reality, the one most unsexy.

R: Listen Raja. If I didn't experience you, if I haven't realized you, I would've never known how important 'calm' can be. She relies on you for all her daily bread. Raja she is your protégé in one sense...

M: Is it you who's saying so?

R: You mind it! Even all my villains know this by now. You know their standards have really risen over the time! Now they are so slick bastards with bountiful of temperament. They have this whole halo-effect around them - its their heroism, its deceit.

M: What? Even 'Calm' can be deceitful! Appalling.

R: Yes Raja. It all depends on which soul manifests you people, and your idea. Me or my villains.

M: You and your villains - you all remain different - steeped so far away from the ordinary routines. Sir I'm fearful, I don't want to become another worn-out cliché, stripped of identity in the crowd. What you say allays all my pain. Is it really true?

R: Aiyyo. I am Rajinikanth, I am truth. You worry not. You would never stand alone betrayed. 'Calm' is there for you, even if she doesn't bear it upfront. Like me and my prim moustachio, you both complement each other. Mind It!

M: Who says you are not God, Sir.

---
*** Refer BF's Triumph of Reason

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Assumed So.

"There's no Light."

"Why do you think there should be some?"


"I...I assumed so."


"You assumed did you, or you believed there should be any?"


"Huh! What difference does it make? Light still isn't there."


"Assumption brings in a burden. While belief looks further to the idea. Belief enables. Belief is an opportunity."


"And why on earth do you think I'll believe your this piece of shit. Go sit in the corner."


"See you yourself talking of belief, of believing me..."


"Hmm So?"


"You didn't mention you would assume I am talking shit, instead you would like to believe so."


"That's just a rhetorical entanglement. Wonder what you are up..."


"Trying to assume would've let you break free easily. Break away with the usual nonchalance and think of being normal again which you are Not actually..."


"And?"


"...And while trying to believe showed your concern, your novelty of thoughts."


"So do you mean I should believe everything just to show my concern. To also become conspicuously different? This sounds like a cocktail-party mentality. Ha."


"Yes and No."


"You know you really suck sometimes. You pseudo-intellectual slob."


"NO because you won't naturally be concerned about every little mundane thing around you. And you don't have to. You are no God and you can't be."


"Hmm and so why Yes?"


"YES because it's about believing first-time first-hand, and not assuming and not speculating - is the only way to commit yourself to things you bother about. Only way to consign your thoughts to your uniqueness. And you'll put effort in only those things that you believe in...the last point is quite obvious and clichéd isn't it?"


"Obvious? Be aware you are talking dream-fully abstract. Like asking a lemon for drops without a squeeze."


"It might be abstract. But I am glad you can make that out. And there's some inquisitive squeeze in your words if you can sense that."


"Well well."


"Hmm are you saddened? Are you restrained? Are you..."


"No. Ah wait. Why IS there no light. Where's the switch at the first place? Where's the sun? Are my eyes still shut? What should I do about it?"

"There you are. You first-hand Belief. See you are more new, Now. Congrats! Bye."


"Wait! Light, Still isn't there..."

Image: FilmFanatic