No More Golden Eggs

When we were young, we were narrated the story of the goose that laid golden eggs. The moral of the story was, not to be greedy; not to kill the goose.

Stretch Marks

Am not sure, if some of us learnt from it. There was, perhaps, a parallel story that we weren’t told; that the farmer was supposed to allow for some time between the golden eggs. Was this a story to teach us about patience or opportunism? We were never told if the goose had a mind of its own. Could the goose, for example, choose not to give golden eggs? Was it genetically compelled to give golden eggs? Was it helpless? Or was the goose so compassionate that it did not care. One of these days, this story needs to be told from the goose’s perspective. If this story is told from the goose’s perspective, perhaps all of us farmers might learn something more valuable. We’ll perhaps learn to respect the goose for more than the golden eggs that it could lay.

When you wring it, you have to think of why and how, you are wringing it.

The Heart of the Conversation

“There aren’t people like you and me,” he said, with some resignation. I jerked my head up, asking him what he meant. I knew there was more to it. “Take religion, for example – but take anything really – people don’t understand it.” In that statement was hidden a tacit statement that both of us understood “anything” in the same way. And he went on to explain what he meant. I agreed with him, which is what usually happens when we speak in abstract terms. It’s when we speak of human behaviour in a specific context that we strongly disagree. Religion is also about human behaviour, in a way, but in this instance we agreed. Mistaking the map for the territory; the same as mistaking a framework for a solution. A couple of hours later, the taxi was here; he went home.

A Spot of Yellow

In the wee hours of the morning, just before sunrise, I lied down, hoping to get some sleep. I ran possible permutations and alternative arguments of the conversation we just had. Sleep isn’t easy to come, when there’s a heavy context weighing down your mind. Somewhere, in between accepting and denying the arguments and counter-arguments, it dawned upon me, just before the sun did. Our conversation had nothing to do with religion, per se.

I wondered if most conversations have anything to do with the topic of the conversation. To hold a conversation, you need some understanding of the topic, yes, but what is it that we do in a conversation? Do we elaborate on or analyse the topic? Mostly, I think not.

True conversations are about bonding. Part of us wants to put a point forth, but it seems that the unstated objective of a conversation is coming closer. It is the feeling of togetherness. Our voices, the body language, the content, the disagreement, the agreement, the animated waving of hands, the submission, the defiance, the laughter, the dismissiveness, the keen attention, the disregard – all these elements are the expression of the simple feeling of being together. Often, intimacy.

With friends, you can have these conversations. With acquaintances we may have a talk or a discussion; conversations are reserved for friends.

Most acts of demonstrating friendship are specific; contextual. There isn’t an act other than a conversation that is a more holistic reiteration of being friends.

Of Airports

If the passenger is a woman, the man of the group that has come to receive the woman usually takes charge of the trolley.

This and some other interesting observations. But I’ll leave them for later.

Airports are a nice place to be. The moment a person exits the gate, there is a crowd of emotions that surround the passenger’s face. Of all the expressions, there is one that stands out: of the person who knows there is no one there to receive him or her. It is the most obvious of all. They ignore all the placards of miss-spelt names, they avoid looking at the eager people behind barricades searching for a familiar face. They keep their head down and make their way to the taxi stand. They try to keep up a neutral expression, yet you cannot but miss the hint, that is a mark of the dismay, which that passenger feels.

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If you ever get a chance to receive someone at the airport, never miss it. The smile that you see on the passenger’s face is worth much more than the trouble that you will go through to receive that person.

Welcome back.

Sunday Stuff

This week has been very good.

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I spoke with many people this week and my sense of confidence in the people in this world has increased significantly. I spoke with a number of people about what I intend to do, and while almost everyone flashed the reality in my face, they assured me that I was on the right path.

2488: Stone Face

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I missed telling a friend how grateful I am for the information she sent me. I have to become smarter about my communication. My involvement with the world that I live in and the dynamism that it generates, I miss out. It has less to do with intent and more with circumstances. And while it is not an excuse, I need to do better.

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My mom taught me a very useful lesson in UI, this week. Brands like to make delta changes in the way that they customise the Android UI – they are making it that much difficult for an audience to switch. Know your audience and what’s real for them. Not what excites you.

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Listening is an art and an important skill. People will listen to you. But be interesting. If you are, they will listen to you with intent. If you have nothing interesting to say, the listeners will not listen; they will tolerate you.

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I am enjoying using my new phone.

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Personal goals are just that. Personal. Don’t advertise them to the world thinking that the world at large will be your alarm clock. None other than you can be the keeper of a personal goal. Use a mirror. Be your own critic. The world, even when it does not want to be, is judgemental.

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That’s it, Sunday is done with.

To be Worthy of Being an Artist

A friend once called me an artist.

Here’s what I do: I write, I take photographs, I (used to) sketch. Apart from that I do not do anything that could be considered artistic. That’s about me. Let me also tell you something about this friend who said that I am an artist, who, by the way is an artist. He is 70 years old, has dedicated his life to art–by creating it and teaching it; propagating it.

Yes, my friend is 70 years old. And my life is that much better.

When he calls me an artist, I cringe. I’ve never thought that I was one. I’ve known some artists in my life (and I am married to one, therefore all these thoughts) and there is no way that I have the slightest resemblance to the temperament that is the mark of an artist. A personal definition – the definition of an artist – is a combination of (a) modesty, (b) arrogance, and (c) reality. These factors show up in varying degrees, when we face an artist. For any of these three factors to be expressed, however, there has to be inherent in the artist a belief. A belief that he or she is an artist. All that the person has to do is call himself, or herself, an artist. It starts there, but it definitely does not end there. Post-proclamation is where the arduous journey begins.

Experiments in Composition

The one thing you need to be an artist, is skill. In my opinion, that is the least of your problems. Enough schools and colleges will help you with that. And, of all the accumulated artistic pedagogy that you can secure and all the skill that you can acquire, there is no assurance that you will become an artist, unless you bequeath to yourself the temperament of an artist. There is no school for that, unfortunately. There isn’t a process, there are no templates. Nor are there any rules or short-cuts. I have never acquired this temperament, so I speak with little credibility, but the true artist is forgiving.

Encompassing.

Loving.

Giving.

Embracing.

Joyous.

There are other emotions that guide an artist: anger, cynicism, jealousy, strife, deception, trickery. For, if you would think of an artist as all things nice, you would be hugely mistaken. But hate is not one of those. If hate is an emotion that guides, or even exists in your life, you are automatically not an artist. The entire soup-bowl of human emotions (minus hate) is the palette of the true artist. Paints are a medium, only, what we spread on a canvas are feelings. One thought here: when we look at art, guided by what the critics tell us, our emotions are reduced to the critic’s emotions – who is a critic, not an artist. The critic is an analyst; the audience is the experiencer.

I came a long way, didn’t I?

I am not an artist, as would be obvious by now. When my artist friend says that I am, I take it, not as a compliment, but as a statement by an artist who lives the emotions of an artist. I experience love in that mention. The context of an artist is very different from the way you and I see things. Artists are magicians. They transport us to worlds previously unknown.

I am not one of them. I thank you dear friend, for calling me an artist. I respectfully decline. Someday I might prove that you were right. Today is not that day. I am trapped between the physical, ethereal, and the spiritual. When I escape this triumvirate, who knows.

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My dear friend, I know what you mean. Give me some time. I receive your compliments with much honour, I just choose to take time to be worthy of it.

You wait for it to come to you

Maybe, there’s a lesson in here, for all of us.

‘Somebody asked me: ‘What do you do? How do you write, create?’ You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks, you make a pet out of it.’ ~ Charles Bukowski

(Via Charles Bukowski, American Author – Don’t Try.)

3446: The Warrior Art - 8a

I discovered Charles Bukowski, quite by accident. I wasn’t trying. There’s an element of laid-back laziness about this way of life, which doesn’t come easily to most of us. To even get close to this category of laziness, we have to try. Some of my poor writing this month has been a result of that: trying. And as I look back, it was also about trying the wrong thing. I was trying to get a post in for the day; not trying to write.

I’ll stop trying at the end of the month.

Unique Sameness

4612: Tea Glasses

There’s something to say about uniqueness. Everyone has something to say. In that, saying something about uniqueness, is not unique at all. It is commonplace. And in this busy bazaar of the call to be unique, I wonder, if we all would (and could) heed the call to be unique, how this world might look. There is a case to be made against omnipresent sameness in the world: an obvious boring proposition. If we are all unique, then aren’t we all the same, in a sense?

Is there a case, to be made against ubiquitous uniqueness?