Growing Up With Lions

I come from a family of wrestlers.

I discovered that, today. I knew of an uncle here or there who used to wrestle, but never knew that it was a family pursuit. Either there was some genetic leakage along the way; or there was a mutation, and I now wrestle with life, taxes, and twitter; not with other wrestlers. My uncles who are 50-somethings, 60-somethings, and even 70-somethings, took me on a tour of the wrestling heritage of my family. My long-gone grand-uncles included. When my uncles narrate the wrestling history of my family, there is sheer respect when they speak of my grand-uncles, unlike when they speak of their own achievements. Thankfully, this history is not brand new to me, so I know them well. But that’s what a conversation is all about.

One of my uncle was a great wrestler who used to take me to the talim when I was a little kid. Yes, I have wrestled too, but those memories have been generously showered with fine red mud. I do enjoy watching Olympic wrestling, perhaps for that reason, but I can’t relate to it on a one-to-one basis. We used to wrestle bare, on fine red mud. The rules were different, the style, and approach was Indian.

I wonder if being 40-something is the advantage I have now. Because for the last four decades details in these stories were unknown to me. 50/60/70-somethings, are willing to give you that exclusive pass to join their club. Only because you are 40-something. Yet, an other uncle was in denial about my age. Also a wrestler. I asked him, If I am not 40-something what age am I. He shrugged off the question, perhaps because he would have to calculate when his sister (my mother) got married, had her first child, then had me, and all that. Emotional drain, I am thinking.

Without warning an invisible fog of guilt enveloped the space of our conversation. Only I saw it.

*

These are uncles who could, and have changed my diapers (or equivalent; we didn’t have diapers then); hoisted me on their shoulders, in crowded fairs, so I could see; they never lost me in that crowd though, I was, in my own sense, untethered, and they taught me wonderful values, perhaps without being aware — because they were only teaching me what they had learnt and experienced. Their own values. Uncles were the best part of my life. And ditto for Aunts. But, I’ll stick to my maternal Uncles, given the wrestling reference. An entire different post, I’d dedicate to my paternal uncles for most of my life skills. My uncles and aunts are amazonian jungles of adventure, learning, and fun.

*

I wish I was not a 40-something. Not because I regret being old. Somehow, by saying I am now 40-something, they realised their age. Was I reminding these once regal 20-somethings that they are no more who they were? That was the invisible message of the invisible fog. Over time, I knew, that was not it. When you live a good life, it is forever. Even when you live it through transferred memories. But, I like being a 40-something. I now have access to jokes and trivia and memories that they are now comfortable sharing with me. They are balding, and thinning white hair now adorns what was a crop of thick swishing manes.

These are the lions (and the lionesses) I grew up with. I am a happy cub.

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Homeostasis

July is done. I had a choice of adding fifteen posts yesterday and declare that I have completed the challenge. Or I could say, I wrote only half the number of posts, and graciously accept that I did not complete the challenge.

And that’s what I am doing. I have lost by your standards of measurement; I have won by my standards of realisation.

The entire month was a big exercise in realising why I am not writing as much, or I am not writing with the same fervour as before. I even considered these two as separate, different questions. I found some answers, but they work only for me, and may not really work for everyone. And with good reason. Why you don’t write, I have no idea, I never will. We can discover the answers only for ourselves.

For all the days that I did not write, I discovered this: it doesn’t matter.

There cannot be an experience of pleasure when the mind is not at ease. Unlike this post. My mind is at ease, now. I care not how many posts I write and when I post them. The writing flows. Back of my mind the challenge, that I did not complete, is a monkey on my head.

Hey monkey, I deny you.

Monkey is not happy. Monkey needs identity. I just denied it.

Monkey goes away.

This blog will suffer. Yet, it will persevere. No monkeys on my shoulders anymore. Unless I permit. No more imposed monkeys.

*

Fear and security. Anger and solace. Peace and wisdom.

0234: Keystone

We live in times where opposites don’t walk against each other the way they used to. Long ago, we recognised opposites. Now they both wear a disguise. Often, opposites hold hands, as if they are synonyms. Opposites who knew each other, are no more themselves. Black and white are no more opposites. They walk hand-in-hand. Black is not as black as we knew it; neither is White.

The way I denied the monkey, I deny opposites. You are not my monkey. You are not my opposite.

Bad monkey!

It Starts With You: #Anthem 19

 

In between these attachments, these threads, tangled threads
Along and in between your fingers
I search for a clue
For how they may untangle
this instrument of one string
Oh just one string.
Ah! The clouds sing for me.

How and why did you choose me; there’s madness about you
You heard all that I never said

Opposites like the day and night, we are
Hey, let’s meet in the evening.

You are like a day, I am night.
Come let’s meet like they both meet in the evening..

I wasn’t as carefree earlier
You are the destination of all my messages
They have found a place to go
I wasn’t as carefree earlier

On unknown and empty roads I will walk, eyes lowered
For no reason, I’ll get there.

The Matter of Form

So, my last few posts have been about the writing block. Or Laziness. Or some such thing. While I venture on exploring what causes us (me, actually) to shy away from writing well enough and often enough, I discovered that it may have something to do with the platform. (Previous Post).

100 Links

I wonder whether it is about form — that makes us choose a platform. Now that micro-form is more popular than longform, do platforms like Twitter make more sense? But then, Twitter has added features that allow it become a platform for “longform” writing. See this thread:

So is it the death of longform writing as we know it, and that conventional longform has no readers now? From a readership and access point of view, perhaps, – it makes sense.

What then, stops anyone from using WordPress (or any other conventional blogging platform) for microform writing?

Jumping Off The Platform

I recently wondered if a block is just pure laziness. It’s not. I mean, not just pure laziness. There is some laziness, for sure. Part of it has to do with market forces. Byte-sized information. Twitter-threads. And such.

Early warning: this post may end up being a 4,000-word post. Will you read it? This may seem like a question for those who were born in and after 2000, but no, this question is for the rest of us. Those of us, born in the 70s and 80s – this question is for us.

I think I have discovered one more reason for the writer’s block. “It has all be said/Someone else is saying it.” It’s so much easier to Retweet what someone has said, than say it myself.

There’s a reason why we don’t write. It’s not a block. It is laziness. What we want to write, has already been written. All we have to do is endorse it. That is it. This is not a battle of those who write. This is a battle of platforms. No platform has an identity. We identify with platforms. We got used to 140 and 280 characters.

We have no one to blame, but us.

What of Wisdom

Say what you may
There will always be those
who hear what you say.

They may listen for a while
Curiosity is natural
Common sense eventually takes over.

Words may be your weapons
What of wisdom?
Would you wield that?

Synonym for Laziness

By now, we have clearly established that there is a writer’s block, and the July challenge is suffering on account of that. Fourteen days behind. Filling up the fourteen days is not the problem, come to think of it – it would take fourteen minutes to come up to speed; which, by the way is the plan.

The real question is, whether it would be quality content. Which in turn begets the question – what is quality content. Quality for who? And then, we do a full roundabout and start questioning the writer’s block. That phrase is just a fashionable word for laziness. And I prefer that. Writer’s block sounds so much better than laziness.

*

I read a book recently. From my perspective, it is an important book. Politically themed. It is a book that should have helped us all, get a deeper understanding of stuff. It did. Great insights. Important information. Cleared misconceptions. Yet, it fell flat on its face. Shoddy copy editing. That is about it. Nothing gets me upset than a word or a punctuation that is misplaced [especially one that could have been easily corrected], and I have to correct it — on-the-go — in my head. That just ruins your tempo and your flow.

*

Perhaps that is what my writer’s block is about. I dread I’ll write something shoddy. In a little over a thousand posts, I have perhaps written only 30-40 clean, neat, thoughtful posts. Maybe that is what writer’s block is about. You are scared of your worst critic: yourself. I am very unhappy with myself for those 20-30 really good posts I wrote. They are the standard. And anything I write now, reminds me of those 5 – 10 good posts of mine.

May the seas part!