The New Real

A friend uninstalled Twitter from his phone. He said, he wanted more time. I wish him well; I hope he finds time for the various things he is doing IRL.

1245: The Small Opening

I am, perhaps 20% right of centre. Or maybe I am 30% left of centre. There are times when I am totally centred—not giving a percent here or a percent there. I have sensed being 100% right; and there have been times when I have sensed being 100% left.

Within the 20% and the two extreme 100%s, lies my identity. I have given it a thought; and it is for you to find me. You can converse with me, only if you know where I dwell.

I will not be slave to your black and white. Almost none of you can see the shades of grey. There is a space between the extremes. Change your conversation. Good people will participate. Ask to be challenged. So that you may learn more. Be curious. Open your mind.

There is no left and right, really. It’s a circle.

Demon Denomination

Kabira 𝄞 is playing in the background. I suspect, I am smiling. At least in my head. Topical? That, a song about a lost traveller in denial, who is being asked to return, plays — when I start this post. I am not smiling at the potential irony, but, perhaps, at the lack of it.

*

Back to the post. We all have demons. We keep fighting them. Often times, we win the fight. A few, we succumb to. Can’t win ’em all, right? Some demons are easy to conquer, others; not that easy. Those that are not easy, are, actually, easy to vanquish, but they have perfected the art of prolonging the fight. We just get tired.

0405: Neptune and Triton - 10

This is not a demon. I just wanted to have an image that looks warring-like. Bernini’s Neptune and Triton at the V&A Museum. Detail, Neptune

Three demons have occupied much of my mind space recently. One strategy I use, to vanquish these pot-bellied purple-skinned uglies, is: make them human. I give them names. (It’s easier to deal with them, that way) It becomes a level-field, I have discovered. I do not speak from a position of fear, now. I can see and sense them. That’s the first battle won. In winning a prolonged war, it matters that we win small battles. And that calls for some serious strategy. I got two demons to fight with the third. That gives me time to rest and recuperate. Don’t get me wrong; I am fighting Movie Monster.

That’s his name. Movie Monster makes me watch movies and TV shows; spend most of my free time doing that. Given that I do not have a dish or cable, I was tempted to call him NeFl-APrime. Movie monster is good enough. I didn’t want to give him a brand value.

Writing Monster and Reading Monster are at war with me. At the same time, they are at war with Movie Monster. Just to be clear, Movie Monster is also at war with me. Yes, those are the other two demons. I just think monster works better than demon, when you name them. So, here’s the situation: WM and RM want me to write and read, respectively, however, most of my time is spent watching movies and TV shows. So MM is winning. (I am losing, anyway).

*

Kun Faya Kun 𝄞 is playing now. There has to be a limit to these coincidences. The singer is asking the almighty to have one look, and petitions that he be released from himself. It’s an interesting petition, so to speak. I mean he could have asked for wealth or world peace. But he asks for a release from himself – so that he can see himself.

*

Having definitively defeated some demons (and having pathetically lost to a few), I have discovered this: their endgame is possession. Absolute, uncompromising possession. In that, I discovered, keeping them at bay is winning. No, it wasn’t an epiphany; I saw The Siege of Jadotville (thanks to MM). Learnt a lot.

*

And as if on cue, Allah Waariyaan 𝄞 (apologies for the hamming in the video) plays. “May our own be upset, may the others be upset. May dreams break; same with promises. If it comes to that, let God walk away, but, let’s always walk together.”

*

So, that’s my “warscape”. WM, RM, and MM. When I hit “Publish” on this post, I will have one tactical victory over WM. and I’ll read a few pages of The Lost River tomorrow; yet another tactical victory over RM. I won’t login to Netflix today. That’s yet another tactical victory, over MM, i.e.

*

I give up. The background music is undoing my post. Main Rang Sharbaton Ka plays. “You are the dream; I am sleep. Together, we are night. I wish it every day. I am the colour of the sorbet, you are the sweet water of the stream. There isn’t a union like ours.”

*

I think I am winning. I’ll vanquish WM, RM, and MM, eventually. Soon.

*

Act 1: The Duel – Scene 1 “All’erta, all’erta!” plays. No. This time, it’s not my playlist. It plays in my mind. The staccato carries a warning of unrelenting demons on the horizon. I sense hoofsteps. Two demons have joined hands, have they?

In the Troubadour, whose song
rises at night from the gardens,
he rightly fears a rival.

*

They are far away, but I discern the flags they bear. They are coming. Travel Monster and Photography Monster. Together.

Self-Help

I told him what I am up to. The book(s) I was reading, what I gleaned, and how I arrived at the choice of books that I am buying/reading. It was a longish conversation; the flight was delayed. For once, I wasn’t getting upset about the delay, because I was speaking to my own Dharma Bum. The matter of the conversation may not interest you much. I rediscovered a poem in Hindi, chose to find its origins, ended up reading an original Sanskrit drama, and, therefore, the structure and framework of Sanskrit theatre. (When I get a grip on it all, I’ll post it on The Custodians). He said, “I am happy for you.” Which was fine, because, for a while now, I have been happy for me too.

~ ~ ~

I’ve been thinking of the “Four Enemies of a Man of Knowledge” for a while now.

That means his battle is still on. That means he is still trying to become a man of knowledge. A man is defeated only when he no longer tries, and abandons himself.

Needless to say, the emphasis is mine.

*

Captured Clouds

What you have to take care of, you will. At the same time, you have to take care of your self. Mostly, we do not have the sense to separate our self with the world that we live in. The world becomes the self. We end up taking care of the world. As if, it is self. Not that our world is devoid of our self. Yet, our self is not the world. In some way, that’s the distinction. That’s one plant we never watered.

*

I’ll take care of my world. Only after I take care of my self — for, only when I can take care of my self I can take care of my world.

Rock Bottom

I remember it.

But I have no idea how I remember it. The memory is corrupted, somehow; it seems, to me. But I have no way of knowing. There is no way that you can trust a memory that’s 16 years old.

If it is that old, we live on disconnected fragments. Disconnection is the key, perhaps. We fill the gaps of disconnectedness the way we would imagine them to be. We pour wishful-thinking in it. Much time has passed. As a wise man once said, God gave us the ability to forget. Without wanting to, we forget. The blur remains. And we try to make sense of it. To no end.

Often I feel guilty of not remembering you all; you dead people. I do not know if I have let you go or if you have let me go. The guilt is not about how I would have saved you (though, that remains), but about how I would have spent time with you.

My best friend would call out this post and say how dark, my posts have become. She has said it already. I, however, will not deny what I feel. Mentioning death, makes this post dark. But it is not so. Death, as the cliché goes, is dark. And it is inevitable. Death, however, is not just the demise of a person.

1885: Coal Mining: Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve

It is the end. End of things.

Death is a concept, not an event. Most of us cannot accept an end. It is the proverbial flogging of a dead horse. Instead of leaving the room, we concentrate on belonging. Without purpose. A promise of a long time ago, in different circumstance. Like flogging a dead horse, petting a dead horse is the same.

Undelivered.

Lies upon lies to maintain status quo. Till such time. It’s OK. Stop lying. Just say the word. Say no.

*

We will be free, eventually.

Crucial Curation

Those who have followed this blog for a while, know of my love-hate relationship with social media. I have been on and off social networks — as if I was punishing the networks — when I got upset with the nature of conversation and interaction that people on the network were having.

The network is inert.

Lately, without wanting to do so, I have been away from the networks. [To be clear, I do not consider WordPress as one of them]. It’s almost impossible to be on a network without taking sides. And if you do not take a side, variants of history’s accusations are hurled at you from all sides. Taking sides is worse; the enslavement is unbearable.

While this phenomenon is obvious and in-your-face on digital social networks, it is not limited to them. Shoot first and ask questions later is becoming the norm. Everyone wants to be the quickest draw in the West. And the East. And the North and the South. Amit referred to it as a left-right mud-slinging contest in a recent Twitter thread. It’s not. It’s fact-slinging. Apparently different types of facts. Alternative facts. Your facts. My facts. True facts. Baseless facts. Useless facts. (Yes, I have read people use these pairs).

We are fast losing the ability to discern between opinions, suggestions, ideas, rhetoric, humour even. All these, and more are being abstracted as statements, open for the rest of us to vilify, mock, abuse, and in general – demean. We do not have the time to pause and refer to context. And even if we had the time, where is the context? In less than three minutes we send eight tweets on seven different themes. How does a reader get the context? When does the reader get context?

There is also the question of the platform. Take Twitter, because I have mentioned it a couple of times now. Most of us readily blame the platform for this phenomenon.

The platform is inert.

It has no means or the capacity or the intelligence to expose us any more than what we publish to the platform. The one thing that it has enabled — is give voice to everyone. In these times when voice is free, there’s a dash to be heard. Me, me, me! But no one listens, because everyone is busy talking. And one thing is clear: mostly, people are angry. And it seems like old anger, one which was voiceless so far. And it has become ugly and rotten.

Unlike the different types of facts, that we believe in, we don’t believe that there are multiple truths. We do not have the patience for any truth to reveal itself. Fleeting gratification appeals to our ever shortening attention spans.

*

Jama Masjid, Kalburgai (Gulbarga)

Jama Masjid, Kalburgai (Gulbarga)

All is not lost however, as apocalyptic this post may sound: as long as you curate.

There are many people who are spreading joy (not by mis-attributed feel-good hackneyed cheesy-quotes on mushy-stock-images) but, by just being themselves, sharing life experiences. These are statements in the true sense. They carry with them, no attributes of opinions, suggestions, and such. There is no compulsion to engage. In this case, the consumption is the engagement.

That’s where curation becomes crucial.

This is not to say that we become unaware as citizens and humans. What’s wrong must be righted.

In the real-world. Not on Twitter.

It Ends with You: #ANTHEM 18

Well, it’s not really the end, so to speak. It’s not really the end as much as it is the limit. At least in this song. While the song keeps saying that you are the end – that is not what it means. We are apt to get lost in the literal meaning. And we should be careful. Love knows no end. If it did, it would be so small, so little, so less in meaning – I wouldn’t be love.

17.02.03: For the Love of Red

Living this life that I have lived, I have discovered, it’s not so. Love has limits, ends, boundaries. Unfortunately it has a start and an end, for those who choose to be in love or not. Not for a lover, however; the lover is always in love. You can throw restrictions and strictures at a lover — that person will continue to love, by throwing away the net of conventions.

 

For my readers who do not know Hindi, here’s the translation.

This song states the limit of love; there should be a poetry of how love starts. How it begins. How it is sparked.

That’s just me. But, This song has been on the top of my various playlists. For the first time, it is not the lyrics, but the sense of the song that is making sense. There are people who do not want, necessarily, to be in love. But they need a sense of it.

You can either define limits or you can define love. Not both.

For them, these limits may make sense. For the rest of us..

… ah, well…

It’s Love!

The Man in the Plane

Location: 33K feet above sea level; somewhere over Rajasthan.

*

Saw an oldish man taking notes in the flight today (Today is relative; this happened a year ago, 4 Feb, 2016, to be precise).

Two books for reference. And another small notebook, with thoughts perhaps. He had some interesting method of referencing, as he flipped back and forth between the pages of the notebook, he seemed to find exactly what he was looking for.

What is the origin of our questions? Is it how we see ourselves or is it how we see others? How do we know ourselves? As ourselves or as a reference to others? Are these the questions of identity? Of experience? 

There is some romance in the academic rigour, as I’ve experienced it, off late.

3445: Elphinstone College
Everything that we learned in school and college needs to come back.

Fast!