Thursday, 29 January 2009

Time and Space

One of those days when one is philosophical. One of those days when one tries to look beyond, or tries to look beyond, this and that. Here and there.

Transcend Time and Space.

One contemplates the meaning, the purpose behind a certified education. A piece of paper with a fancy stamp deciding that one is educated. Why must one have a career? To a earn a living? Why, then, are women educated these days, why is it fashionable to educate a woman in today’s time and space where it is still socially acceptable for them to live off their husbands’ money. And why isn’t it acceptable for men to do so? To live off their wives’ money? How does that challenge one’s masculinity? How does that affirm one’s feminity? To earn a living? Uneducated people can be rich too. it’s the skill that counts, does it not? And why go to Harvard, Yale, Oxford, MIT, IIT, IIM? Any mediocre college degree ensures a job. Why must one do the best? Why must one earn so much that one cannot even spend? One contemplates wealth as well.

One contemplates Honour. That individual who is, clearly, more important than you, your desires. Who is this Mr. Honour? Or is it a “Miss”? Where’d he come from? Who invited him? Why does he dwell amidst humans, in our time and space? Mr. Honour rules us. We are his slaves. Everything must be done keeping him in mind. We don’t want him to go away. Why though? Why give him that time and space? One contemplates that.

One contemplates wisdom. Why must one seek it? Why must one be wise? Stupid people have survived, are surviving and will go on surviving across time and space. Across time and space, wisdom is threatened. Why is it then supposed to be desired?

One contemplates knowledge. What’s the point? If “ignorance is bliss”, how is knowledge also “power”? Why did the Biblical (Old Testament’s) God forbid Adam for seeking knowledge? Because “thou shall surely die”? But Adam did not die. Was it spiritual death, then? One contemplates spirituality and all religions as well. But the point remains, why must anyone take in knowledge at all? Why not blissfully exist in ignorance?

One contemplates ignorance. Is it absolute? Can one truly embrace it? Prince Siddhartha’s (the prince is also popularly known as Gautam Buddha) father did everything in his power to keep the prince in ignorance. He failed. Ignorance, even ignorance, is not absolute.

One contemplates power. If you have it, people loath you because you have power they don’t. If you have it, people respect you, admire you, because you have power they don’t. If you don’t have it, you’re not worth the attention.

One contemplates honesty. What does one get out of being honest? Peace of mind? Isn’t Superego just an echo of the society, the time and space? Who gives them this power, this right? Why give them this power, this right? If honesty is all that glorius, then why does the same echo of society shun most of it? Why not allow the honesty to speak about one’s desires, one’s own body, one’s own mind, one’s injustice, one’s entrapment in the time and space. Why not honestly speak about the Divide. The Divide of gender (man & woman, boy & girl, blue & pink, toy cars & Barbie sets, protection & protégée), class, creed, religion, ethnicity, culture, regions, nations, language, tradition….

One contemplates love.

One contemplates love for one’s family. It’s unconditional. One loves their family because they are one’s family. Blood ties are hard to severe for one really does love them. But the angle of ‘like’, of ‘compatibility’ might never come in for one loves their family unconditionally. And dearly. Is it love, though? Binding one to the given time and space? Crushing their individuality so that one “fits in”? Ofcourse one wants that for their family, for them to “fit in”, because they love them. Curb personal desires…really personal ones like alternate sexuality or alternate career (tattoo-maker?) because they should fit in for one wants that, because they love that one.

One contemplates platonic love. One writes sonnets, one admires the beauty. That, one declares, is love. Love for the soul, not the body. But platonic love, is often, at first sight. One loves the individual, puts the beloved at a pedestal (so high, their head might spin!). One does not want the beloved for personal satisfaction. That, one declares, is love, the kind that transcends time and space. But one does not give the beloved a voice. It matters not, that the beloved does not give a damn.

One contemplates unrequited love. One cries, becomes a wreck to prove their love. One writes poems and in today’s time and space, blog those poems. Not caring that the beloved, the one written about, does not want that attention from that one. One insists on letting the other know “I love you” a million times, not caring to keep in mind that it distresses that beloved. One might keep it shut and die with the memory of the person who didn’t care for you.

One contemplates requited love. Is it real? Is it forever? Is it happiness? Why, why must one have that? Can’t a person live like that, alone? But one is never alone. One has oneself. One cherishes this one, but one is devilishly insecure about this one too.

One contemplates love for friends. Are they really there for you always? Then why do they covet your few treasures, and you theirs?

One contemplates life. It will end someday. Why not end it now? But is it worth it, ending it now? It does not ensure an absence of afterlife. And an afterlife is a life transcending time and space. This life is silly, the other might be sillier. Better to continue with silly?

One contemplates Time And Space. One contemplates on and on.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Observations

Certain books which are produced for mass consumption (you know the type, the ones who do not belong to the canonized cult), it seems to me, have atleast one advantage over the ones belonging to ‘high Literature’. Its very obvious to my eye: books that are products f popular culture often make cheeky comments (and not very subtle ones at that) on the system…and get away with it!

If Shakespeare or Charles Dickens even threw a teeny tiny hint at something, a million essays by various literary (and non-literary) people would pop up. If a chic-lit or a lad-lit says something, a lot of people would read it, laugh when they read it and that’d be the end of it.

In How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life (it’s a banned book, bye the way…the author was charged with plagiarism. But I love the book anyways!!), Kaavya Vishwanathan tells the story of this really crazy protagonist, Opal, whose aim in life is to get into Harvard (according to Sean Whalen, its “getting a satin-lined coffin” when she dies). That’s not it. Her parents weave her entire life with plans and stupid acronyms (such as PISS: Positivity, Intelligence, Sophistication, Success) to get her into Harvard! Suz and I see it as a critique (in a quite tongue and cheek way) at the over-ambitious psychology of Indian parents who want their children to be a doctor or engineer from the bestest college there is.

Chetan Bhagat constantly criticizes constantly. He talks about the glorification of the IIT cult, the materialistic mindset of people and so on.

Till date, I have not seen “intellects” and “scholars” write essays talking about how Vishwanathan and Bhagat criticized society.

This is motivating me to follow the uncanonised path. I want to be able to say almost anything and get away with it, kind of like the Madman in Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist.

Let’s see what sort of an author I become.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Eating, Praying & More...

There are times when one wants to…simply forget things. Forget, be forgotten & left alone. Or given the things they desire. They just want to go off to the dreamless sleep and never wake up. They want to be happy. They want to be able to wake up in the morning and say “This is life!”. But nothing like that happens. What does happen is that every single human being (and other creatures closely resembling them) you know, apart from the few you want to speak to, will call you up all through the day and say (read: shout) “HAAPPY NEW YEAR!!!”. You will mumble the most disinterest wishes back. They’ll ask “So, what you doin, yaar?”.

Okay, I’m gonna say it the last time (fingers crossed!). I DID NOTHING ON NEW YEAR’S EVE. Absolutely. Not a ding dong thing. Face it.

And nothing’s “up” with me. Stop asking. Its rude.

It s happens that sometimes there’s pain. All you can do, all there is in your power to do, is wait. Hear the clock tick and wait.
People have their own ways of seeking a refuge. Mine is to read books. NOT text books. Books. There’s a difference.

On day, after a Frankenstein lecture, my teacher, Suz, cornered me and asked me if I had read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I hadn’t even heard the book’s name & while wondering why she wanted to know why I, in particular, had read it, told her I hadn’t. She said the most unexpected thing ever. Suz said that she found Gilbert’s style of writing resembling mine. So I made a mental note to read it. Not everyday you hear of authors who have writing styles similar to yours! Hugzy gave it to me on my birthday.

A million thanks to Suz & Hugzy for giving me that book. it’s a real life account from Gilbert’s life on her travels to Italy, India & Indonesia. She’s a depressed soul who sets out on a journey that only mends her.

Here are my observations on how I think it helped…

Italy:Gilbert sets out for Italy after a horrible divorce. In Rome (and other many cities in Italy but primarily Rome), she decides to indulge in pure pleasure. Yes, the f-word. FOOD. Eating good food, without counting the calories, and only caring about the taste buds, help her get back with pleasure.

I thought about it. I’ve been eating a lot lately. And sleeping. As a result of which, I’m gaining weight (Although, people still tell me I’ve lost weight!). It does not give me pleasure. But it’s an important thing that’s stopping from things falling apart (inter-textuality: Yeats & Achebe! Read their works, you.).

India:Here, she prays. Finds a Guru, an ashram and prays to the Almighty. Which gives her hope. Now, the thing is, being an Indian, there are parts where I thought she was looking at India through an occidental perspective, orientalising India into the almost-mystical land of gurus, poverty & turning the entire country (almost) into a land which wakes up for the day before 3 am. I have never ever woken up at 3 am unless it was because I had fever or because a had a journey to make or something. I mean, 3 am is before dawn. Its before the birds wake up! And I’m sure there’re a great many number of Indians who don’t wake up early.

But, over-looking the oreintalisation of India, the focus that brings her here is very much sensible (and considering, she spent her days here in rural India…).

I’ve always believed in God. But December 2008 was when I desperately sought help. Now, I’ve been praying to (praying, not practicing rituals) God.I gives me hope. Something to cling to. Something to look forward to. God is my better half, my sanity. Not my superego, my Ego, which I thought had gone for a long vacation. I call God “Him” out of habit. I don’t think God could be all male. But He’s there. And I’m clinging to Him, waiting for support. It gives me hope.

Hope is a beautiful thing. Without it, you die. Without it, despair circles you.

Indonesia:
Balance.

Balance Pleasure & Worship.

LOVE.


I’ve been eating, I’ve been praying. Its going to take awhile before I come to the last stage.
I thought about the three countries I wanted to go alone, if I had the chance, to find me. Here they are…

Greece:
All my life, I’ve been a major fan of the Greek mythology. And Greece has beaches. Islands. Beauty. I’ll find myself there.

Russia:
Always, I’ve felt an unexplainable link with Russia. There’s always been that fascination. I asked myself “Why Russia?”. I don’t know.

Maybe because I think Russian literature to be among the best in the world. Because my nickname, Anya, is a Russian name (it means "graceful"). Because I want to see the architecture.

London:
Okay, I know it’s a city & not a country!

But London evokes this feeling of writing in me.

Whenever I hear the word “London”, I remember literature, I want to write, I want to read. Not even “England” but “London”.

My hopes to find myself. My hopes that when I do, i'm not disappointed.

Monday, 5 January 2009

MOMENTOUS

Now, I love my “little creations” very much. For once, I feel this maternal sort of love (although, I confess, I wouldn’t know what the real maternal feeling is like) for my stories and the characters that fill my life. All through the day, Norelle, Nicole, Malcolm, Sunandita, KD etc stay put in my mind. There are times (especially, at night--or early morning--before dozing off) when I think of them with all my heart and concentration in their fates. Many at times, their presence is a continuity in my sub-conscious.

Then, why, this New Year (hail 2009) did I decide that there was no other way but to put Norelle through so much misery? Initially, I was amazed by the sadistic impulse, but now I realise, it was a more masochistic step on my part as to think of Norelle cry every night breaks my heart. It must be done.

I have done it. Or decided to, anyways. She just broke up with KD. I cannot give KD’s full name on this blog, for I wish it to remain a secret before the book is made available for the public gaze (my book will have a “coming out”!) because I simply love the name I’ve given to the hero. If you call him a “hero” at all. He’s not even the anti-hero, I think my book just has a heroine. So, to please myself, KD’s name shall be a suspense to those who care, for I can’t afford this name to be stolen, and I shall refer to him by his initials “KD”.

KD was always meant to be a character on the negative side. Ruthless. Heartless, even. He was, from the moment he entered my imagination, the handsome, arrogant guy with the “devil may care” attitude to all things. But first impressions aren’t always true. I have gradually grown fond of KD and hate to show this boy as a heartless beast.

Norelle and KD have called it splits. Norelle is devastated. KD is also extremely sad for he loves Noelle (as opposed to my earlier plans). But it is Norelle I’m really worried about because, my KD is very much internalized by the society into thinking “boys don’t cry” and would see it as a sign of weakness if he did. Norelle, also doesn’t cy---in public, that is. As I said, she’s devastated. She loved that guy, still does. And like Louisa May Alcott puts it “the first love is the best”. In her case, also the worst. Norelle thinks of him all the time now, crying, sobbing, torturing herself with every memory. But what else could she do? She had to let him go. He would not have been happy with her. Even if he loves her. He left her for her own good, her friends told her, because he didn’t want her to get “involved” with the negatives of his side. But did leaving make her happy? She’s submitting into depression, slowly. She dances and sings and jokes when in company. But every time she does it, wears that happy-faced mask on, she crumbles more so on the inside. The wound gets scratched even more with that mask of happiness on her. It costs her a dreadful effort, takes every inch of her to pretend to be happy. It drains her out.

Most of the time, she tries to understand what happened. Plays it over and over again in her head, wishing she could rewind it and do some parts over again, this time better. Or atleast, re-live the glorious parts with KD again.

She tries not to cry many times. She didn’t cry for two whole weeks, singing nice songs, pretending to be happy. She didn’t cry because she was scared what if she starts crying and doesn’t stop?

My poor Norelle. A “friend” of hers thought she’s being silly, losing it over a guy. But the girl’s human, for crying out loud! She cant help the way she feels. She prays every night now, praying he’d be good, remember her and come back.

I wish I come up with something nice for her.