Friday, December 26, 2014

late night mutterings.

This year has been an important year.

 Nothing can quite match up to the continued extravagance that has been this year.
And now at this unearthly hour, dulled by the searing cold, I feel strangely situated and adrift at the same time. There is staid contentment, laced with a tinge of melancholia- of roads not taken and words not uttered -of bridges not burnt and quests, hurriedly abandoned midway.
But above all, there is hope that next year will be as extravagant as this one.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

All the jazz.

 I have spent the past two hours digging up my old posts and reading other old, forgotten and now defunct blogs of friends, acquaintances - the works.  I have obviously been cracking up at the sheer immaturity and the startling level of transparency displayed in most of these writings.

 In a time, when  words are weighed out in terms of rhetoric and carefully constructed sentences that reek of a certain cultured eloquence-- these writings stand testimony to the fact that there was a time when we were brave enough or probably young enough to lay bare our souls without worrying about being judged. We were not so much taken in by a turn of a phrase as much as by the turn of events which deserved a worthy mention on blogsphere.

Most importantly, it made me reflect on the girl I once was and the being I have morphed into today. Interestingly, each one of those events which lie concealed in this blog under a haze of flimsy embellishments have been so instrumental in helping me morph into this being that I do not so easily recognize now.

As I lay cringing in my bed for the better part of the two hours, eyes glazed from the fixity of gaze that held the laptop screen in rapt attention, old memories were rekindled- churning out easily recognizable patterns that my life can be broken into; the same fears, the same insecurities staring back at me like old friends reunited after years, embracing- silhouetted against the backdrop of a setting sun and rapidly falling dusk while I zoom in and out of the frame- never too far, never too close but always lingering- ALWAYS lingering- just within reach.

For all the smugness that I can grant myself for having accumulated some amount of sparing wisdom, there is a deep hollow inside - for things that can never really be ever filled up to the brim. There is always a price. For every reckless joy and every wanton sorrow, there is some compensation- some creases that need to be ironed out, some bloody price that has to be paid. For who can be so blessed to drink deep from the chalice of both sorrow and happiness without having sacrificed something in the process?

There is no love without pain and only the love that has exulted in the deepest throes of pain can be worthy enough to be recorded for posterity's sake. No other love is great enough or noble enough to warrant such singular distinction.

And blessed are those who have seen it all.

Blessed are those who have quavered from the sheer intensity of it all and have experienced the state of being broken into a million pieces.

And amidst all this mindless cacophany, you find a part of yourself being born anew- soaring in the endless sky- rising like a phoenix from the ashes and in that single moment when you are poised to fly, you are infinite- a million worlds nested within but so delicately congealed into that singular mass.  This is when you find all the reasons that is reason enough to worth risking such a love that is so delicately fragile but grotesque in its intensity.

A part of me does not believe in anything that I have typed out here. The part of me which is too cynical and too weathered to negotiate the possibility of such occurences. All of this looks good in movies, old Bollywood movies-soulful and melancholy like a Geeta Dutt number. But there is a certain specificity to this kind of melancholia. It hovers around you, enveloping you but never quite touching you.

And then there is another part of me which believes that one day I will get back all my reasons to risk everything for a cause that might tremble against the limits of sanity, but in all that trembling insanity- I will be complete and infinite. And it shall always be worth the effort. Always.

I can't help but crack up inside as to how easy it gets, when you try churning out long drawn , meandering sentences with a generous smattering of misplaced punctuation, in the quiet silence of darkness- all in an effort to sound grown up and mature- when in reality you can never live up to all this jazz. :D 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lost in translation

Fumbling with letters, feelings and the multiple voices in your head- a curious patch work of words clumsily sewn together which transform into one of those fancy quilts that adorn your bed. So much and I mean so much is always lost in translation.

Beautiful, poignant words; of the poetic kind can lift your spirits like a jesting wind raise those fallen leaves in autumn- just an inch before the wind dies down. But there is a mad rush: a flurry of excitement which precedes this inevitable death that can be read in the collective swish of leaves being picked up and dropped. This is what beautiful words do to you. There is a soaring feeling inside which dies an eventual death.

But in that brief instant of soaring, you experience a million worlds erupt within you, of watching fireworks burst into the night sky and of feeling more alive and more real than what you have ever experienced before. 

long after the music is heard no more.

Sometimes it takes a special kind of hearing to hear most of the words that are left unsaid, even when the obvious reality prods you into hearing otherwise- there is always some music playing in the background. You need to strain your ears to hear it but when you can do that, you will feel the music engulfing you in its soft, feathery grip as you viscerally feel your heart soaring and plummeting to the rhythm.

And long after the final cadences are played out, you can still hear the music around you as it trails farther off, leaving a wispy haze behind.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Note to self.

I am 23 years now- that is technically 5 yrs since I soared and plummeted into the world of adulthood, both in equal measure ; the soaring and plummeting that is.

I don't feel like an adult. I try to behave like one. I really really try. But I am not sure how much that works.

But then I have these disturbing moments of epiphany and I can actually feel myself growing up, you know in your head you are 5ft and a decent 4 inches, make that 3 ( i am trying not to be too ambitious here ). You are strutting about in high heels, hair swishing back and forth. There is a collective intake of breath as you enter the conference room and all eyes are upon you as you flash that winning smile, which smiles back at you from the gleaming backside of the recent book that you have authored.  There are cameras flashing at your direction and every word that you speak is held in rapt attention. You look quite the picture-you with your winning smile in all that sartorial elegance, deftly answering questions with a cultured restraint that can only be acquired over years of practice. You smile a poised and well practiced smile.

 For all that is worth, it is important to get the whole act right. Doing anything otherwise would be just killing it- like dislodging a strategically positioned rock and bringing about a landslide. Who cares if you have never known love or feel terribly hollow and empty inside- it is still important to pull yourself together and get the whole Act right. Therein my friend, lies the emblem of true showmanship- when you can pull yourself together even at that precise moment, when you are sinking deeper into the abyss but you still retain the poise and dignity. You smile even when you are breaking inside. That is my friend,true showmanship !

My hitherto 23 yrs of existence has been spent in a flimsy pursuit of trying to get this whole act together. Not all of it has been futile but yet again today, in the slowly gathering darkness, I realize how much of it has been in vain. Here I am, quite a standard mess in the most standard way that you would define a "mess", struggling with dreams and aspirations, more imposing than my diminutive frame. I, who have always been vertically challenged can only dream of soaring-flying beyond the hitherto untrammeled seas and oceans, past huge expanses of valleys, over the raging rapids, riding the waves- never slipping, never retreating, always guiding myself forward.  I cannot resign myself to walking or simply running, for fly I must and fly I will.

 But all this drama can happen only in your head and in the face of real adversity, you stumble only to cower behind a protective force; willing yourself to believe that this protective force will fight your battles and help you in putting the said act together.  Of course, you do not have the wisdom to understand how this action could permanently impair your agency-clipping your wings while hanging like a millstone round your neck. And that is how you kill your own dreams, a little every minute- beating the life out of them, till they lie dissolved in one squirming heap that is forever rendered immobile. Dreams are mobile creatures.They bring momentum and agency in your life.

You kill something fundamental within your own self, every moment you judge your own dreams and seek refuge behind another person. Every time you dissociate your dreams from yourself and try to transmute your ideas and beliefs with someone else's beliefs and ideals, you are guilty of adulterating  something that was intrinsically yours in the purest form possible. You are guilty of becoming the lyrics in someone else's song and the paint in someone else's painting. That is one of the very worst things you could do to yourself- killing your own dreams by viewing your life as an extension of someone else's life.

Most of this is written as a reminder to my 23 yr old Self.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


 I rarely discuss books here.

 There is a reason for this. Books are an ubiquitous presence in my life. Talking about them with a convincing degree of reverence intact does seem stretched at this point. It is not like I am proclaiming myself to be widely read or trying to brag about my erudition here. It is just that, at this point I rarely come across a book that sustains my interest till the end.  After a couple of pages, I will inevitably find the narrative slipping into a predictable mould and that would be the end of it.

But Disgrace by Coetzee has achieved some sort of a rare,singular distinction, given my erratic disposition and infinitesimally small attention span. It is one of those rare books that I have read twice - at one sitting without discarding it unceremoniously.

I remember the first time I read this book, I was in eleventh standard. It was a different time then- something that seems almost surreal in retrospect. There is this particular thing that going back in memory does to you. Even the most unpleasant of memories take on some sort of a delicate sheen, when viewed from the distance of a few years. This always comes with the risk of appearing too impersonal,with an underlying sense of subtle smugness. This comes from knowing that you have been through shit and conquered it with some amount of grace, that indeed looks laudable in retrospect.

There was me- all of sixteen years, a bespectacled nerdy teenager, fielding obstacles that looked insurmountable at that time but seems dismissively juvenile now. I was also battling serious academic issues which got worse by the time I was in twelfth standard.

The annual examinations were just about to commence. I had already failed in Maths and Physics in the internals. For all my inconsistencies , I managed to behave out of character by manifesting a startling level of consistency in the reckless way I failed most of the science subjects then. I had, by then steeled myself and learnt to look at such events as temporary outcomes that are necessary for sustainable growth in the future.
I was a rather refined optimist who was blessed with this exceptional quality to silently goad oneself on, even when things looked disastrously bleak. I never lost my cool, which did not go down well with the Mater who was literally tearing her hairs out, at my unwillingness to react more aptly to the dire situation I was in.

So on that day, I had shut myself up in my room while my mother raged on outside- a veritable tornado that did not show any signs of ceasing.  This was the only book lying on the bed. My mother had taken care to remove all the non-academic books from my room. This one remained as a glaring reminder of how inefficient she had been in her task, I could not help but think at that point.

The next three hours passed in a haze. I drifted in an out of the narrative. Everything descended into an ominous silence once I was done. This book rendered any banal response to the world around me so despairingly obscene. I could not just sit still and not be shattered in the very depths of my being about what I had just read. Everything seemed so strange and unreal. The fact that I had failed in my internals did not seem as devastating to me as this book did. I was sixteen- not so well schooled about the ways of the world then. It understandably affected me in a far more visceral way than what it did today when I was reading it for the second time.

In the six and half years that have transpired in between, I have thought of this book many many times-on occasions when I have read some other book by Coetzee or come across some incident, that has really shaken me up in an uncomfortable way. i have however never discussed this book with anyone before. I just never felt comfortable about it. This book was so personally felt that it almost seemed like a transgression, to  discuss it with any kind of added embellishment that comes in the name of literary criticism. I could never adopt the required neutral gaze that becomes necessary, when you have to come up with a nuanced critical argument. I could not measure out in sentences what this book exactly did for me.  Herein lies the beauty of Coetezee's deliberations and the dexterity with which he wields every word. The glaring economy in the usage of words that promotes any sort of emotional excess, does precisely what it consciously tries to avoid- one is left grappling with emotions that are beyond one's control.

I do not think I have ever read a book as nightmarishly absorbing as this one. The grating diction opens up to you- speaks to you in a way, the only living can. Most other books gives in to the lure of conscious posturing by the author, who is always conscious of the fact that he is being assessed with every sentence that he pens down. Not this one. There is a certain degree of nakedness in the way the subject has been treated, which makes me want to fall in love with Coetzee over and over, again and again. I have never come across a more honest writer.

All of this, so that you go and read this book NOW, if you haven't already.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Shady delights.

It is really hot in here. The kind of heat that secures you in a vice-like grip leaving you feeling pretty much worthless all the time. This is also the time when people start behaving mostly out of character.

That day I spotted S in a veritable rage, stomping on the ground, hurling the choicest abuses and what not. I was momentarily confused and then she grabs hold of me, launching into a litany of complaints, refusing to let go of my hand all the while. I try to placate her by saying things- half of which i didn't obviously mean, managing to calm her down in what seems like an eternity.  I then hug her tight, transferring some of the clammy, slimy heat onto her rather becoming petite frame which results in her dissolving into tears. Now, S is hardly the kind of person who is erm what to superfluous with her emotions. She is either mostly cool and composed or blurting out the most outrageous statements that would make us all collapse in helpless laughter. On one such occasion, she had pointedly mentioned " I can tolerate villains but not dumb people ". A minute late, we were all (including her) clutching our sides, giving in to fresh spasms of laughter. She is adorable that way and most of the times she makes real aww-inducing comments which makes everyone dissolve in a puddle- even the hardest of hearts. There is factual proof to certify this which I am not going to disclose here obviously. However this heat can bring out the worst in even the most 'awww-worthy' person. There was S bawling like an errant child, complaining with uncharacteristic gusto about pretty much everything- from the insurmountable heat to the covert danger of being too nice to people who take you for granted and the sudden overwhelming rise in the number of hypocrites over the years. She is an observant girl by nature who loves to take credit for noticing things that you and I would probably pass by without so much as a nod. But S is not to be taken lightly. If she complains about the sudden, overwhelming rise in the number of hypocrites over the years, I suspect she has her reasons and should not be brushed away lightly.

I am nearing the end of my 5 yr long affair with JUDE now. This relationship is clearly very much over and now we are just stretching it. Nothing is more painful than a relationship that has run its course and you are still somewhere answerable to it. However even the most devastating of relationships has room for small mercies.  So there it was that day- my small mercy which made me consider- maybe my relationship with JU still has something left to it.

So I was walking down the long rambling road that threads past the much undignified Central library and snakes deeper into this lake-side of sorts. This part of the campus is offset by an eminently inedible canteen on one side and rows of trees standing up like sentinels on the other. Now this part of JU is specially demarcated for lovers. After sunset, hidden by the slowly gathering darkness, on your way to the girl's hostel one always runs the risk of running into couples in compromising positions; of entwined bodies erupting into soft shrieks and gasps of teasing laughter and groups of people drinking behind the clump of trees or probably rolling hash joints with a speed and dexterity that never ceased to surprise me.
 It was nowhere close to sunset that day which was a relief.

So i was on my way to the godforsaken place that is KMR or the administrative building which single handedly can cause nightmares in every JU student. You are not a JU student if you haven't ever experienced the trauma that is KMR. KMR is an institution in itself. It does not seem right to talk about KMR in a divisive way, The KMR experience is something that I would never even wish on my worst enemy and i am not exactly what you might say, a benevolent soul. now figure.  The name itself "KAY- EM- AR" has a forbidden ring to it.

So on my way to the "KAY-EM-AR", I was naturally seized by thoughts that made the bile rise in my stomach. I could also sense the fear that was clenching the insides of my rather weak heart as i incessantly kept on talking to myself, making a valiant attempt to assure myself that things will be alright and they cannot possibly screw me in the last semester. I was nearing the Mechanical building when i saw one of the street urchins that regularly haunt the university campus, scrounging about for scraps of food. My heart went out to the little kid. Now I do not believe in giving money to them as 5 yrs in JU has knocked some sense in me that the money given to them serves a more sinister purpose than buying them an afternoon meal.

So I retraced my steps, went back to the canteen and got the little girl a thali which had rice, fish and some 2-3 curries to go with it. I gave her the thali, smiled at her and went on my way. I did not want to wait there to see her eating it.  However, she started to walk beside me, clutching her thali and started jabbering about the heat and how she slept beside the lake, the night before.  IT suddenly occurred to me that she in her barely there clothes was more free than what i could ever possibly be with my university education and all. By then, her spirits had soared which was quite infectious and I found myself worrying less about the KMR debacle.

She spotted a dog which was lying a bit ahead from the Mechanical building  looking all woebegone and emaciated in the heat. Both their eyes lit up as they saw each other and i saw the most beautiful drama unfold before my eyes. She hopped towards the dog, kissed his forehead while the dog happily started circling her feet. She then laid down the thali before the dog. Both of them were soon eating out of the same plate.  I watched them both from a distance. I did not want to disturb them.

This stayed with me long after I had got back home that day and i suddenly did not feel like complaining about JU or the heat anymore.

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