Sunday Stuff

It’s one thing to notice. An altogether different thing to point out. Pointing out takes effort. There’s bliss in knowing what we have observed. Letting the world know that we have noticed is secondary. How does it work? Do we care less about the world or does the world care less about us? What about you? Is it enough for you to notice or would you like to say what you saw?

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I still like my phone, but it is misbehaving a bit, now. I have to work out what makes it go.

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Family is underrated and overrated at the same time. It all boils down to how we see them. Our own lenses or borrowed ones. Which reminds me, my camera is breaking down. Parts are becoming loose and some have even fallen off. I will not, however, change my camera, till it absolutely conks off.

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It is ok, perhaps to care less. It is definitely not ok to be careless.

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5606: Green & Pink

After this post has been published I’ll be doing some routine jobs which I do not enjoy. But I have a plan to make them fun. I’ll let you know how that works out. It’s a thought. Not a promise.

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I have seen the meaning of love change. And with every change it becomes grand. It doesn’t become definite, however.

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That’s it, Sunday is done with.

The Worst Time To Write

The worst time to write a post, or anything for that matter, is when you don’t want to write. Yet, somewhere within us, the compulsion to write takes over, defeats us, and makes us write. And we end up writing something that we aren’t proud of — and in any case something that we shouldn’t have written, in the first place.

The struggle is between the defined writer inside of us and the undefined whole-us that we are — all-encompassing. The writer within us is the rebel within, experimenting, the one who knows what we should write and what we should not. But the writer is subservient to the whole-us. This meta-being that is us, directs the writer within us. Write; don’t write; write this; write like this. This gigantic composition of experiences and emotions, that we are made up of, however, develops sluggish tendency over time. Lethargic. Dragging the weight stolidly, the accumulated mass moves with little grace or finesse.

That’s when the lean writer within, seizes the opportunity. Like an out-of-training-school ninja, the sword starts slashing with vigour and excitement. Aware that the punitive reaction will be slow in coming, it spits out words, before the whole-us can respond.

And the damage is done.

The words are out and the post is published.

Maruthwã-Mala

I have often heard people, exclaiming how minute and insignificant they feel in the presence of an ocean or a mountain or any such imposing natural entity. I have usually agreed with these people, who say things like, “I feel so insignificant,” or “I sense the great challenge before me,” and such variations, and I have agreed with their statements, only, because I could not clearly express what I felt.

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I have never felt insignificant or any such feeling when I have stood before a mountain (my favourite), looking up to it. I have always felt a calling. Like, a parent, slightly bent, beckoning. When it is an ocean, I have felt a teasing invitation to play. Let there be no doubt, that their size and expanse are daunting and that specific feeling is not alien to me, neither do I attempt to diminish the weight of their scale.

[Flashback] And here we are, it’s not yet dawn and I am climbing the Maruthwã-Mala hill. All through the trek, I felt a homecoming and less of a vertical challenge. My shallow lungs and city-bred styled calf muscles conspire to give up; yet the mountain (yes, it’s a hill, but I’ll call it a mountain) almost seem to embrace me at every step. The teaching parent. Catch me. At each step, showing me the wonder that a perspective allows, like a parent would, to a child in its arms – pointing to the available vista.

Ignoring spent lungs and stiff muscles, I made it to the peak.

There, when I sat at the peak, I was, at first, amazed at the experience that this top-of-the-peak feeling offered me. When I gathered my wits, secondly, I was amazed that I made it up here (to understand this, you have to know me personally; this was no mean feat, by my standards.)

Then, there was an embrace. No hands, no touching, no bodies enveloped in each other. Years of loving the mountains and the hills as I have passed them by, driving on the highways as I created my own adventures, seeing all of them, sending them flying kisses, as I passed them by. As I drove through them. Through the incisions that we created to build roads around their contours. We cut through them for our convenience. Their love for us, however, has not diminished a bit.

I have always loved them for standing tall and giving meaning to the phrase, “I’ll be there for you.” Empty space around me, on that peak, I hugged all the mountains. Everywhere.

And in that one moment, I knew, what “holding your ground” meant. We are insignificant to these elements of nature if we think of ourselves as bodies. We are their compatriots if we think of ourselves as souls. With the ones we truly love, we don’t see their bodies, do we?

I came home, on top of Maruthwã-Mala today.

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This post was written, in a notebook on the 8th of December 2009. I was “disconnected” so this post was handwritten on paper, in a ‘paper’ notebook. It has been replicated here, with some edits. The essence of the post remains intact. I could not take photographs, since I did not carry anything electronic with me. Maruthwã-Mala is a real “hill” – here’s a photograph. The one in the post is representative.

 

Goodbye July; I’m in August Company

I wrote yesterday that today’s post might not be easy, because I wrote yesterday what I should be writing today. I don’t know how easy this post is going to be, however, I find that this day is throwing up emotions with amazing contradictions. They aren’t easy to resolve. At once I feel relieved that the challenge is concluded, at the same time, there is sadness that it is. There is no compulsion to write now, and I wonder if I will reward myself too much by taking a long break.

The chair that we build of our laurels is deceptively comfortable.

As I go through the posts of the month, it is a roller coaster of a ride. I did thoroughly enjoy this challenge I set for myself. Of course I went through some of my earlier posts too, but I do not want to talk about them, lest I start writing something that seems like a farewell speech, delivered, reclining on a chair of the past.

I feel I am in a stateless state. I don’t feel the compulsion to write about something. I don’t feel the compulsion to write anything at all. At this time, this post seems like a formality. It just needs to exist. There’s soothing Hindi film music from the 60’s playing in the background. Before I started writing this post, I removed all the clutter from my desk. I completed all tasks and marked them as done. My mind, surprisingly, is equally free of any tinsel. Space, emptiness, and clarity are dancing a graceful ballet. The acquired compulsion has crumpled to dust, blown away. This post has become a mere ritual that has gained importance, sheerly by virtue of the position in which it will exist: the bookend on the right end of the shelf. The finishing touch of the aesthetic.

In the last decade, such a moment was never experienced: I’ve experienced immense pride after a post that I thought was well-written. Or the gleeful delight after a humorous post; the laid-back satisfaction of experiencing a meaningful blur after an abstract. But, this? No, this is a new feeling. It feels like the dead-centre of all the extreme emotions that we experience when we click “Publish.”

For the many experiences that aren’t ours as yet, and with determined irreverence to the milestones, publish, we must.

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I thank you all for encouraging me to complete this challenge. I’ll let you in on a secret. I took up two more challenges the same day, I started this one. I haven’t done justice to the other two. Perhaps, I shall tend to them now. I shall hold your encouragement close to my heart, as I face them.

Writing Tomorrow’s Post

Tomorrow’s post is going to be easy.

It’s a no brainer, what tomorrow’s post is going to be about. It’s a summary of all that happened this month about this post-a-day challenge that I took up. Easy post. Just like the first post, this month. It’s the posts in the middle that have caused all the pain. Of course, needless to say, when I say pain, I don’t intend to complain.

Advice to Writers; Billy Collins; http://www.moragjoss.com/writers_and_writing.asp

Advice to Writers; Billy Collins; http://www.moragjoss.com/writers_and_writing.asp

I had to kick myself about blogging, because a sense of complacency was setting in, given the decade that this blog has been alive. It has been a while now, that I have stopped actively paying attention to page stats, likes and votes. I visit all followers’ blogs at least once; partly to see what they write about, and in some part to know what nature of people follow my blog. I ignore all the obvious spam blogs or product blogs, but once in a while, you find a refreshing blog, like Alfred’s Almanac.

Newer social networks provided a simpler, easier, and faster way for people to have conversations, sometimes having one word (Like!) or one number (+1) conversations and all exchanges moved on to those networks. I did too, for a while. Why bother writing a hundred words when you can make do in ten. I suspect that the reason conversations seem longer on these social networks is because the idea isn’t well expressed, and bulk of the comments that follow are about refining the thought. In any case, these networks still seem to be the place where most conversations happen.

As my writing became infrequent, the phenomenon folded upon itself doubly, and I discovered I could not write very well. So I wrote less. Triple fold. I could not write at all. (Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration). Yet, quite an effort was called for, to write the simplest of things. I thought I had lost interest in blogging, but I hadn’t. That’s where the challenge came in.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 19.05.46Like any other discipline, writing too is all about discipline. The distracting clutter has to cleaned up, the act has to have purpose. Thoughts have to be coaxed and cajoled to form a shape. The shape’s surface and curves and angles have to be adorned by the right words. And the words have to be your own and should not be slave to and unknown future acknowledgement by another.

I started watching my stats again. And it was encouraging, to say the least. You can see what’s happened in July. This is not to say that if you write regularly, people will come to your site. It doesn’t guarantee that people will like your posts or leave many comments. Nothing, guarantees anything.

Just like this post, I think. This was meant to be tomorrow’s post about the entire month of writing.

Tomorrow’s post is not going to be easy.

Eid Mubarak

Festivals are about faith, foremost. They are markers of our beliefs; a tangible expression of our intangible faith. Festivals are about family; coming together, sharing lives and witnessing the good within us. And more often than not, festivals are also about food. A celebration of being alive and staying alive.

4759: Chand Minar

Of all the things that festivals can mean for us, these three should be enough for us to live in joy and peace.

Eid Mubarak!

Caring & Sharing

It has been nine years since the Mumbai floods of 2005. The rain has been pouring unabated since Saturday evening, and it brought back memories of that dreadful 48 hours.

I didn’t post about it back then, and a friend chided me about it. A month later, in August that year, I wrote about it. But only because he implied that I don’t care about it. This blog has hardly seen any social commentary. Man-made tragedies cause anger to show; natural calamities cause despair. These emotions are universal responses to such events and writing about them, in different words, amounts to nothing. It was not very nice of my friend to imply that I did not care; but I know him well — he perhaps only wanted to know what I felt.

Contemporary social commentary (in India at least) has become lop-sided, biased, and bereft of thought. The ability to comment easily has, in my opinion, caused this.

We often forget that the ability to publish our comments has become instantaneous; not the need for us to think through and form our comments.

We have all done that, one time or the other, and that’s fine, as long as we are not making a habit out of it. Spewing vitriol about an event that (sometimes unfortunately) makes headlines is counterproductive to solving, or even debating an issue.

Almost everyone cares for what’s happening in our world; very few care to take part in shallow badgering.