Friday, June 9, 2017

Who am I?

"Who am I?"

A question like this is more often than not considered representative of someone with a psychological crisis.

Or is it?

I love being a part of this generation of young people. We represent the kids of the 90's and early 2000s. A lot of us have seen both the pre-technology age and the post technology age. No landlines to fitness tracking wristbands. Snail mail to Whatsapp... so on and so forth. Throughout the years, we have been forced to adapt ourselves to the changing landscapes around us. (Not that older generations have not had to do the same) Constant change has brought about differing sensibilities in a lot of us as time goes by. Some of us refused to move out of the paper era into the computer age. Some others kept the bowl cut (also called mushroom cut) going through the 2010s. I had a Nokia 2610 brick phone till atleast 2012.. feel free to judge this fool on that alone.

Almost three decades of steady change has left a lot of us at a completely different point than where we intended to be when we set out into adulthood. What is important now to me was hardly known to me just a handful of years back. What was important to me when I was 21 has completely disappeared from the horizon since then. In a way this makes perfect sense but when you realize how much time you wasted thinking of things that will never be important to you, it sort of feels deflating. I still believe there are geniuses who planned every step in advance, reached their goals and went way past it by this time in their lives.. I'm certainly not one of them. Neither will most of my readers here be.

Ideals and beliefs make a person live life the way they do. Ten years ago if you asked me what unconditional love is, the answer would be a complete 180 from the answer you get today. Ten years from now, who knows how different the same answer would be from now! Life is a constant search for truth. It's a wild goose chase behind the holy grail of self discovery...an ECG connecting moments, people and their feelings.

Self discovery does not happen until you open your heart, lay it out in front of you.. and ask yourself what matters to you and what does not. Many years ago when I had not seen the real world and was still in the loving embrace of my parents, my span of acceptability was a lot smaller than what it is today. The realization: Acceptability is a direct result of what is presented to a youngster. I believed what was told to me, and what was dictated by society. I was stubbornly resistant to change and anything "out of the norm". In short, a CLOSE MINDED WIMP.

Indian society and its norms are a fun story unto themselves.  Drinking? No. Smoking? No. Weed? Drug Addict! Late night outings? No. Girlfriends/Boyfriends? No. Pre-marital Sex? Disowned. Homosexuality? Big Fat NO. Women wearing whatever they feel like? NO. Not going to the temple? Blasphemous. Smiling at a random person from the opposite sex? Nope.... It almost feels like a Meghan Trainor song. I know many of us have been through these situations and more. What I have learnt is this - nothing matters but your belief. NOTHING. Not 98% in your high school exams, not your fancy engineering degree, not your 16 years of school, not your first half-girlfriend, not your endless coffers of money. None of the societal norms matter if you believe strongly in yourself. When you believe, you live. Every moment of life then becomes unique, self driven and precious. Every moment fuels your search for the ultimate truth. You then quit existing and start living. (Atleast that's what I think awaits me when I'm done with figuring out where I stand on the roughly 3 million South Indian societal norms.)

Believe, and you Become, Love and you Live! 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A right time to write.


Image result for writing


There are some instances in life that cause you to wonder "what the hell was I doing all these years going off on a tangent?" I had one such epiphany sometime back.

Call it whatever - a course correction, throwback, renewed purpose.. I love writing. I used to write a lot, and then I stopped and did not know what or why that happened. Writing is a great way to express yourself - especially when you put pen on paper. With corporate life sucking the juices out of most of us millennials, we do not find time to even write a note to our loved ones. Writing letters to pen pals, relatives and friends stopped being fashionable in the 90s. Blogs apparently went out the window when Twitter arrived... Hold on a second.. that's what happened with me! 

Whilst Twitter is awesome to trash talk sports and politics, I find that writing blogs calms me down and helps me focus. For thoughts and feelings that go beyond the 140 character limit, this is still the best medium to write in. Everything around me shuts down when the words flow from the heart through the fingers onto the screen. It's akin to what they call "being in the zone" when you are out playing the innings of a lifetime on the cricket field. The feeling of being engulfed with adrenaline, singular focus and the world slowing down to how fast you are zipping through the paces - there are few things in the world that beat this experience. 

Sometimes all you need is a hard reset to get back to the basics... and start doing what you were best at. It was a refreshingly thorny happy-go-lucky, insightful straw that broke this sleepy camel's backbone. My hope and prayer is this lasts longer than the false dawns that have come in through the years.

Writing, the love of my life... here I come!



Sunday, October 23, 2016

Life goes on.

In a shell
Hearing a distant sounding bell
That calls
Asks me to come back to it

How did I get here?
Life takes twists and turns a many
Stops abrupt, ceases
Comes back to bite us

Trials, never forget
Tribulations, never stop learning
little joys, relive
People, never give up

An autumn morning
A gentle breeze
Bustling alleys
Rustling trees
A familiar tinkle of the bell..
Feels like the one that brought me here..

I'm going, dear Mom.
I'm going.,


To School.







Thursday, March 12, 2015

Veteran

A few days ago I got the chance to listen to a brand new Tamil movie album by the young composer Mohamaad Ghibran - the OST of Uttama Villain. Now I do not normally sit and listen to any new composer's songs without a recommendation (or two) so it was quite out of character for me to seek this one out on my own. Thinking of it, there is actually a method to my madness when choosing to listen to an album at length. I do a couple of tracks at a time, chew on them for sometime before going on to the next two and so on. The more I like an album, the more time taken to move on to other tracks.

 

As for my opinion of the soundtrack itself, I liked it A LOT. I am still stuck in the first two tracks and am a week into the album as of today. Without going into any technical details (which I suck at), Uttama Villain made me write this relatively lengthy post to express myself. That is saying a lot given how less I have written in the past few years. Ghibran's sound took me back into the times when I was passionate about a lot of things in life that later fell off the horizon and gave way to less satisfying, more instant pastimes. How times change! Somehow I've lost a part of me yet gained another, somehow I consider myself to be in a better place today than ten years ago when life was much simpler.

Earlier this week I found myself scouring Amazon.com(not Asuvine stationers on T.P.Road) for fountain pens - that rare pleasure 90s kids got to experience during most of their schooling. There is something metaphysical about how good fresh fountain ink on paper makes me feel. It's going to set my wallet back by a lot more than how much dad paid in the 90s, but I can't wait to turn back the clocks on this one.

We sprung forward this weekend, another one of those weird things we get to experience by living abroad. I've been through it for six long years now. Every year passes by and I cheat myself into thinking there's one more hour of sunlight. Every hour passes by and I cheat myself into thinking home is only but another spring away. Ogden Nash put it best; I'm stuck in a vicious circle.

It is amazing what a moment of peace and good music can do. I remember the times when an A.R. Rahman album was some sort of a celebration, our ticket to paradise for at least a couple of days. Roja was a bolt out of nowhere, Indira a lost album we are still learning to appreciate. May Maadham was the rarest of the rare gems which rings in our ears to date. For some reason it reminds me of a BPL TV and summer vacations in Madras, not that I'm complaining. Of late I find myself trying to understand the direction of the man's music, and its differently satisfying instant-coffee approach. I do not know if that's a good or bad thing, not as yet.

Rahman visits our city in June this year for a concert. Predictably, I queued up and bought pre-sale tickets. Logic says he opts for the grandiose/contemporary over the simple/classic. The heart says do a damn throwback and give us veterans something to cheer about. All this gibberish and head scratching makes me think that I'm now where all Ilayaraaja fans were 25 years ago.... lost.

As I yearn to re-live how good uplifting music made me feel, my search ends at Ghibran... for now.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pilot

Readers, I apologize for the prolonged absence from the blogosphere. It is my love for writing that has brought me back, albeit almost three long years later. A lot has changed in life - people, priorities, points of view. Today, we begin a fresh journey here.

On to 2015.. and a brand new beginning.




Saturday, March 10, 2012

Up above the wall, so high?

For the past few months I have been experiencing what is famously known as the writer's block. Twice I have tried to begin writing on a subject only to be distracted by wandering thoughts and elementary fears (such as roaches). Great efforts had to be taken to coerce the mind into writing beyond just a couple of sentences - what with the world moving towards 140-character thoughts, meme-fications and viral campaigns.

Beyond all the mundane rituals and emotions of daily life, over a while now a lot of my time has been spent following contemporary media. From going through resplendent photo archives of National Geographic to the disgusting lows of the Times of India to the creepy (erstwhile) News of the World, it has been quite a journey till date. With time I gained the thought that (like in any other aspect of life) it took the existence of bad to show who the good ones really are.

A picture is worth a thousand words they say. The beauty of it is each one of us given a paper and pen to describe a picture, almost always ends up with a completely different set of thousand words. That is if ethics were followed and I didn't copy what you wrote. Most of us would know the feeling we get when reading something we wrote a decade back. How it takes just a simple variable called time to change our own thought!

Most written/visual media and any other journalism is time-dependent on the stance it takes, the thoughts it presents (and ignores) and the inferences that it draws. There have been multiple instances over the past few years that I have set out to follow a writer or two, and found their perceptions of the same problem(or person) change as it(or they) betters/worsens. Some do turn out to be intelligent enough to veil this perceptional change with a layer of subtlety- most just write for a buck or two. Normally it takes not more than a couple of readings of the same writer's works to figure it out. Not many have that sort of time to follow specific writers when the world is busy raving about murderous rages and love anthems for non-existent world peace.

In this random pastime of following a columnist's stream of thought over months(or years), there've also been Eureka moments when I've suddenly come to realize the brilliance of a person's work, and his/her unflinchingly steady viewpoints over extremely long periods of time. Such people, (rare that I came across) make great role models to look upto when trying to express yourself in words - day after day, year after year. A great writer does not alone make sense today, but forever. I have grown to fear a not so distant reality when more than lacking great writers, we would soon lack an audience discriminatory enough of good and bad, to play to. 

Writing, like any of the other arts - needs to come from the heart. More than a mere sermon of what lies in the author's mind, it must foist the reader with its reins and say - Lets go for a ride!

I hope this took you on one.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Transcending meditation

One of the practices unique to India is the presence of what we now call the "moral police". A lot has been said in the Indian press about the "immature" policing of various issues. While the phrase itself may carry a negative connotation, an infant of the same when taught as "moral science" in our schooling systems somehow exudes positive energy. It probably has to do with the fact that children need to be supervised until they are a major(or later,in most of the cases), anyway. I vividly remember the days we used to have a session of Transcendental Meditation in our school assembly every morning, and had to pass "Moral Science" as a subject to move onto the next grade. A lot of us struggled to keep our eyes closed for those five minutes in assembly everyday. Most ended up shooting funny glances, or playing pen-games on the ground with their Hero's and Parkers- ultimately getting pulled up for disturbing the forced peace.

It is getting to be almost the end of summer in deep interior Texas, and the cool breeze now sets in well before the sun begins its journey back for the day. That means evening runs in the park do not anymore come with a free bout of dehydration, and the lake stops serving as a humidifier. The benches by the shore are hot no more- and with a couple of hours of rain behind us, we are actually having quite a bit of water in the lake to enjoy the waves. Fall is fast approaching- as is evident from the leaves beginning to have a characteristic rustle. The sun no more sets at a quarter to nine, it is more of a quarter to eight. The soccer and basketball fields fill up with people late afternoon only to empty out at eight after a couple of games and a lot of banter. Same goes for the nearby high school's football practice, as the coach loses his voice every evening to get his boys up to scratch.

A couple of minutes of attention. An empty mind with nothing to give and everything to take. A moment of transcendence. Meditation? Not sure.

The cellphone rang.