Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

I just hate it!

I have a certain flamboyancy about me when I try to talk about hatred. I have always felt that maybe a part of me is cynical, even pessimistic to bring about such elaborate imagery whenever I talk about or listen to something that talks about sheer hatred. It moved me to paint a certain picture of myself in my head. It was not a pleasant picture. So I decided to go buy some new canvas. I threw away my old cans of paints and I bought some of my favourite shades from Williamsburg. I decided to paint a new me. I had a green picture in mind. Why green? Well everybody is thinking green these days and if I am thinking of an image revamp, well why not make it green?

I placed my tools and the rest of the paraphernalia under my bed. Then, I waited for Sunday. Sunday is a good day to paint. Ever since I was a kid, I had this soothing picture of Sunday in my mind. A nice warm breakfast with no rush to go to school. No bread-crumbs on my fingers when I did that last touch to my hair with my hands. Finding myself watching television at 11 a.m. instead of looking at my shoes while being scolded by a teacher. A lot of time to watch the ants move around the house with their little boxes of food. I will talk about that on another day but the most important thing about Sunday was that it was the day when I did things that I liked to do and not what "they" liked me to do. Sunday was a good day to paint back then and I presumed that it had not lost it character.

Sunday started with good vibes. I was about to flip the brush and do the first touch thing. Something made me stop. Now there is one thing common about both introspection and conscience. They have a knack for bad timing. Just like in the movies when they get good people killed. When they make the protagonist tell the truth and be slapped. You get the drift! Something inside me told me to ask myself about the last picture. What was wrong with it? Was it not very much like most other people?

So I brought up pictures of my friends first. I looked at them patiently at first but I soon found myself sifting through them rather fervently. Everybody had the same ugly purple thing on their left shoulder and a giant yellow hate medal. They loved to hate something. They were passionate about their hatred. They loved to talk about it, form groups with people who shared their hatred, wrote about it, painted about it and most frighteningly loved to motivate people to build up a similar hatred!

I told myself that it was probably because I was looking at my friends and they are likely to have similar characteristics as me. I fixed my tunnel vision and I brought up pictures of great people in history. The freedom fighters, the world leaders, the CEO's of household-cleaning-agent-companies, the car makers, the person who invented the steam engine, Mr. Bell himself, all of them. I was flabbergasted, shocked beyond reasonable comprehension and very scared. There was that purple thing and the golden medal. They hated things with all their heart. The stronger their hatred, the deeper their strife, the more wondrous was their passion and accomplishments.

So I argued with myself that they hated bad things. They hated the dependence, the dirt, the distances, the week-long caravans, the lost letters and what not. So maybe it was fine but I knew just then that I had wasted money on the paint and the canvas. The brushes? Well yes, on them too. I realized that it was getting more and more difficult to paint a different picture. I had to find a precedent but there was none in sight. I looked up the news, the television and even the monthly magazines.

There was love. There was beauty. There was glamour. There was all the amazing stuff in the world but there was a problem. Every single of those was like a coin with a bad side. We hate authority, we hate diseases, we hate misery, we are the modern knights of salvation and the mercy killing vagabonds. We are connected to the roots of reality with our hatred for being disconnected. Our chivalry lies in our crusade against the abominations of our lives. Our salvation, in our antipathy towards the loathsome entities of the universe.

We are ready to get on the Yellow Submarine and go disrupt the blue meanies. The blue meanies are ready with their anti-music missiles to disrupt our singing voices. We are sprinting our hundred metres on a landmine while we ready ourselves to pounce on the title of the fastest man in the world. Each one of us has a hole in his pockets that connects us to the constant void of the universe. The void that is full of belligerence, racism, unending spite, bigotry, malice and thousands of conflicts that represent our combined hatred.

I look around to realize that most of our lives, our buildings, our friends, our festivals and our celebrations have a story of hatred woven into it. We tell it nicely, even gloriously but it is there and you cannot ignore it. It is such a deep part of our lives that we do not really see it as a bad thing unless we see the dark side. If we see it at all. If we are able to perceive it's darkness.

So I leave the purple thing on my left shoulder and I put on my golden medal. I walk out of the door while I am thinking of places where I have seen or otherwise felt a proximity to a place and time without hatred. I realize that I have read it in some fiction text, as a conclusion of some mythological stories, as a rare end of a fantastical animation series. They are our fairy tales! Our hope lies in the fact that one of those people got it right when they described their Utopian world and that it will happen. Till then let's tell these stories to our children so that they have peaceful dreams in their otherwise frightful lives. Let's tell them to ourselves and let our mind wander in the dream worlds. There is no point in painting a new picture. It is ironical to try that. So I write something to express my hatred for hatred. How is that for an irony?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The human endeavour for a perfect life

Tyler Durden would have you believe that "this is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time" and sometimes that is what really dawns upon you. When you are at the coffee shop, sipping your creamy latte with a bit too much of sugar and you see the wall clock in your cup. Your eyes drift towards the wall clock on the wall. It's been 20 minutes and you have been at your coffee, working on it like a connoisseur without the discrete faculties to tell a Nescafe from a Lavazza. Essentially, politely speaking, a not so good connoisseur. Yet, we let time crawl around us and sneak up behind our backs while we roll through the various mundane loops in our day; Almost every single day of our life!

The Tyler in my head often asks me, "If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?" and I quip back, "What difference would it make?". At that point, Tyler smiles at me and walks away. Usually he doesn't like confrontations with me, specially when he knows that I got the point.

At the many different junctures of my life, when I have thought about the possibility of being Super-man (and well occasionally Bat-man), I have always found myself feel more lonely than what I started with. This brings me to a realization that power, popularity or any such thing which we either idolize or fantasize about, are usually also associated with a down-side. The fact that Newton realized that every action has a equal and opposite reaction, probably has a corollary attached to it. That in order to push something up in our lives, something else must go down. We become richer and unhealthy. Or healthier and dumb. Or smarter and lonelier. You get the point. The fact is that all of us have yearned for that perfectly balanced life at some time or the other. At least most of us have.

I drift back to the coffee and the wall clock with Super-man lurking in some far-off corner of my head. "What difference would it make?", I ask myself as I visualize myself in a blue and red jump suit. I see myself sitting there and sipping my coffee. Occasionally flying around to do something fancy but mostly letting life pass by. So is that it? Even if I wake up as someone else, I would still have to experience my diminishing life-time-remaining balance. I would still have to fear the unknown. I would still have to do something that would eventually make an agent go, "Only human!". Why is it then that we yearn for some sort of completeness? Why is it that we want the spot-less whites and the sprawling house? The Tudor mansion, the office on the 73rd floor, the business class tickets, the refrigerator that tells me my schedule, the antique lamp or just a Rolex. Timeless desires? Or efficient targets that help us in procrastinating reality? The closer that we get to realizing that we are just fragments of entropy in the universe, the more something inside us nudges to wave it off as rubbish. So we set goals and tell ourselves, "The day I have the Ferrari, I will have a perfect life". We walk, we toil, we waste ourselves, empty our tender insides and become hollow so that we can fly better.

All the while there is something inside us that is waiting for a Trinity to come and tell us "I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing... why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer.". Well something of that sort. Some angel of realization that will come and lead us to a light. Help us free ourselves from the bonds that we have so intricately worked ourselves into! We wait while we further tie ourselves down. Making gas engines, jet fuel, microprocessor chips, machine intelligence, sharper televisions and what not. The consumer inside us takes the front seat. It makes us the knowledge worker, the business leader, the evangelist, the stock broker, the slave to it's whim and the means to its non-existent end. What is it that we consume after all? How does the plush carpet make us a better human being? The earnest truth is that we don't ask ourselves these questions. We want things. We want them now. We want to see Wayne Rooney strike the 90th minute goal in full-HD wide-screen view. That makes us perfect. Helps us conform to the checklist of success that we as the human race so keenly maintain.

I do not stand in judgement of that being right or wrong. I do not have a better answer, to life's questions, than anyone else. What I do have is an opinion, a perspective. Something doesn't feel right in all of this. Something does not seem to fit. They say that our galaxy is just a tiny speck compared to the universe. The earth is a tiny speck compared to our galaxy, the milky way. And we already know that we are a tiny speck on our vast planet, Earth. So I ask myself, "What difference does it make if a tiny speck on a tiny speck in a tiny speck in the Universe wears a Prada?". Something tells me that it doesn't really matter. Something tells me that our search for the perfect life, the ulterior goal, the eventual balance should culminate outside of the conventional image of success. Something tells me that driving to work every day is equivalent to a predator running in the Savannah to hunt its prey. There is no glory in it. There is something that we are not doing yet, that we ought to do. Something that will make the tiny speck matter to the bigger whole. Something that will set a chain reaction to light up space. Something that will make sure that we as humans are not just fragments of entropy. What is it? I don't know. Not yet but let's keep searching. For there is always hope. And remember the what Andy said when Red told him, "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.". He said, "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

- Anubhav

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The painter and the fly

The fly stumbled across the painter,
And she looked into his dreamy eyes,
His sun-dancing brows rather still,
His hands scattering colours on earth,
His arms weaving magic through air,
And yet his feet won't move an inch!
The fly as curious as impressed,
Stood still. As still as a fly can be -
The kind that wanders the world,
In search of nothing but the trap,
That would help her say good-bye...
And here she was looking wide-eyed,
At the colours forming shapes -
Circles, waves and curves on land,
As if embossed by nature's will,
"As if", she wondered, "But he's a man,
With tools, pretense and petty needs,
Someone who wouldn't know his shades..."
She wondered while she stared -
At his shaky fingers and timid form,
His warm, and distant smiling face,
The grace, with which he moved.
His solemn mood and sullen voice,
That hummed into the silent dusk,
Just when the fly could take no more,
And she stepped forth and questioned,
"What is it that you cannot draw?",
"Is there something that you can't?"
"A shape that you don't know of?"
Questions followed questions before,
He completed his startled move...
And stepped back to look at her,
The fly with the myriad questions,
And he cleared his mellow throat,
Before he managed to collapse,
Into the arms of waiting death,
A sudden lapse, his final fall,
Just after his last whispers,
That echoed through her tiny ears...
If you care to know his words -
I cannot quote but you can try,
To listen to the humming fly,
While she repeats his last words,
"I cannot draw her tears", he said!
This, all flies tell their brood,
The story of the painter and the fly.