Sunday Stuff: The Clutter

I do not want mislead you. It’s Tuesday, when I write this. There was a month, when I took up a challenge to write everyday for a month, when I used “Sunday Stuff” to write accumulative posts. (I just discovered, accumulative is a proper word)

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This is a forced post. Please wait. All I am doing now, is staring at my keyboard. My brain is processing thoughts and words so fast, that my fingers hovering over the keyboard are paralysed. Go, have a coffee, while I magically adrenalin-ise my fingers.

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Love. Let’s talk about love. Nah! Too complicated. Friends? Nope. Work? No way. The world we live in? Don’t even begin. Ah, social media, then? They know, and they want you to shut up. A personal story; that’s endearing? Last time you wrote such a thing, no one bothered to read it. I have a new take on feminism. It doesn’t matter, stuff has already been decided. You are already wrong. Decisions have been made. My city, let me write about my city. Go ahead; as if someone cares. A travel story, perhaps. Now that’s a good idea, when did you travel last?

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It seems, that all I have to say is that I have nothing to say. But that is saying something. No? Even when you say that you have nothing to say, you are still saying, right?

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Swimming. I can barely swim. I can save myself if the edge of the pool is 2ft away. No, this is not a metaphor. I can swim only 3ft (the best I can do). But, recently I got thrown in the middle of the metaphorical swimming pool. Initially I splashed all around, ready to drown in the next few minutes, yet, I gathered myself and floated with ease. There was a sense of enlightenment. But, I am not retrying it in a pool of real water.

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I mean what I say, but I am not what I say. It’s a thought. Not a well-formed thought, I may add. It is work-in-progress. I have always been fascinated by the “maxim” that the map is not the territory. I understand what it means at the level that it wants to make meaning. The conspiratorial mind, in my mind, suspects, there is more to it.  There’s more to “the map is not the territory” than what you see. I am not sure. I am playing with philosophy. So, I say things like: I mean what I say, but I am not what I say.

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There is no one universal truth. So to speak. There is one universe; it belongs to you. There is only your universal truth.

So, Smile.

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Life-Support

I didn’t do justice with the earlier post. Hence, this one. I suspect, it is going to be a dark and depressing one. You have been warned.

I’ve seen death at close quarters. Often, to my discomfort, I thought, at first. But, eventually seeing death often has been less of discomfort. Maybe you get used to it, maybe you understand that death is an inevitable part of life. Death occurs, broadly only for two reasons: One, that you give up. You stop fighting, you succumb and you die. Two, you keep fighting, till the last-minute, and you just deplete the resources that can keep you alive. These are the two natures of death. There may be variants, but broadly there are two types of death: either you want to die or you do not want to.

The Angles Diptych

This blog has no intention of dying, but it is unable to find the energy to stay alive. Every story is a long pause after the first twelve words. Does it make sense? Why say it at all? Who wants to read this? Even if you write for yourself, is this worth at all?

This blog doesn’t even bother to save drafts. Trash it. A thought, an idea has a shelf-life. It has to live in that span. A draft never helps. Time gone? Thought gone!

And I keep saying “this blog” and not talking of my self, because this blog is different from me. This blog is a finely cut slice of who I am. I say this for all those who imagined this blog to a complete representation of the blogger.

The blogger is not the blog. The blog is not the blogger.

Yet, they are inseparable. Neither can exist with in the absence of the other. Mostly, we think of the blog as an inanimate entity, but it is not. The blogger breathes life into the blog. The blog is alive and gives reason for the blogger to stay alive.

Sometimes, the blog goes on life support. Goes silent.

Then, it wakes up.

End of the Blog, Perhaps.

No.

Nothing to say.

I have no stories to tell, anymore. Or , perhaps, I do not want to tell stories anymore.

Or, perhaps, no one wants to listen to stories anymore. There are so many facts available now, personal stories are being constructed so easily.

The world does not need storytellers.

The Mob Within

There are those who wear white. But they didn’t always wear white. And then, there are those who wear black. They didn’t always wear black either. What was white, what was black was never something that was definite.

In the absence of standards, White said, this is how it all should be. Black said, this is how it should not be. Like iron-shavings, around and about a horseshoe magnet, alignment happened. Needless to say, the shavings had no mind of their own.

Whitish emotions aligned with the White end. Blackish emotions, of course, aligned with the Black end. I wonder if it was truly magnetic. Emotions are mercenaries. They will go where they get the most benefit. White camp, Black camp. They’ll adorn their hoods of grey and go to either camp. Emotions have the same basic survival instinct as humans. They will make their choice. Emotions choose to survive. Simple.

White makes a recruitment case, so does Black. We are our emotions. We are choosing camps.

There is darkness in all of us. The “obvious” Black. But the White camp has currency. Black is bleaching their hoods and becoming greyer towards white. Acceptance eats identity for breakfast. The White-hood gangs up. Swords drawn, ready to attack the Black. Black is smart, it fades in the darkness that is its nature. White can’t fight in that arena, it withdraws. Stands tall.

Black is not vanquished. And it never will be. For if Black was to ever disappear, how will White exist. White knows this. It can only push Black to the shadows, but never vanquish it. When and how did White become the vanquisher? Did it borrow from Black? Is a part of White’s identity based on Black?

Then comes the question of the whole. Can it be fully White? Can it be fully Black? Is there a Blackness in White? Is there a Whiteness in Black?

I am White fighter. In between the gunfight, I look over my shoulder, and my coat is grey. A shade I have never seen before. I am Black fighter. In between the gunfight, I look over my shoulder, and my coat is grey. A shade I have never seen before.

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I am White and Black, and everything between. I am the total of the Mob that is fighting with each other. I am fighting with me. I am both sides of the Mob. I am White. I am Black. I acknowledge White. I accept Black. I am Whole.

I am the conflict. I am peace.

A Half-Decent Writer

A while ago, I gave up on writing a novel. For a while now, I have dismissed all the ideas that would have been posts, here or on my other blogs, that have come to my mental and emotional durbar.

I am a half-decent writer.

Now, I feel I should qualify that statement. I have seen writing that’s shoddy, and I have seen writing that is really fine. I haven’t related to either ends of the spectrum. The left, because I could not be as crass as it is, the right, because I could not be as good as it is. So, I am a half-decent writer.

In making the above statement, and, I have called myself a writer. Half-decent, though, I am. Maybe, just maybe, I have to do justice to that: I am a writer. I wonder; justice to who/whom (never got that who/whom right). Do I justify the writer that I absolutely am, or do I justify the writer through those who read me? Am I a writer because I write or am I writer who is read? If a writer is never read, is she still a writer?

What if a writer continues to write? Even if no one reads what she writes? Is writing an absolute act? Or does writing depend on reading?

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A good writer is free. From everything. A half-decent writer doesn’t have the courage to write it all. The half-decent writer is a very good writer, mind you. She has all the devices and the words to say exactly what she wants to say. She is just not ready to say it all. Abstraction is not her refuge; it is her means. She is not hiding; she does not know any other way, to say what she feels. Roarkism is what she feels, but it does not come easy to her. She doesn’t relate to it.

But she ends up being a half-decent writer.

LIFO: The Recusant Rule

Till recently, India did not have a no-fly list. A while ago, an Indian MP (Member of Parliament) misbehaved with the staff of an airline. What actually ensued, during that misbehaviour is a matter of discussion (and speculation), which, folks on Twitter have happily voiced, without their seat-belts on. The misbehaviour occurred when the doors of the flight were open. I am further assuming that when the aircraft is “open” there is ground/airport security available (and in charge). As far as I know, Captain of the flight gets authority only when the doors are closed and his or her word is final. Airline staff could have just handed him over to airport security; charged him for assault etc. We live in times when a 140-character tweet gives you all the information you need to be, not just the judge, jury, and executioner; you can even be sarcastic, nasty, abusive, and further. Without a need to investigate or reflect.

Private and public sector airlines came together and listed this MP on a “no-fly” list. Simple — he would not be allowed to fly on any airline. This, when India did not have a government-mandated “no-fly-list.” We have a body, in India, called the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) – a regulatory body for, well, you guessed it, civil aviation. The DGCA (or any other government body) was not a part of adding this MP on a no-fly-list (as far as I know, and I may be wrong). The “no-fly” list was issued by the association of airlines. A private body. This one name was declared persona-non-airline-grata. No thought, no plan, just no-fly-list. How will the airlines know if some other passenger with the same name is travelling? What if this MP has a medical emergency? (He has only misbehaved, he is not a terrorist, right?) Many such questions came to my mind.

It all got resolved in a few weeks, and this MP was back flying. A few days ago, I heard that India, now has an official no-fly list. Three degrees and all. It’s scary. I’ll leave it at that.

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But this post is not about that at all. But the irony is stark. I’d assume, bad behaviour is bad behaviour, right? Not so, apparently.

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Airlines in India tend to promote recusant behaviour. As a person who generally respects authority, I find the baggage handling of all airlines to be very peculiar. Now, here are all airlines, asking us to check-in anywhere from two-three hours before, right? So a person like me, does that. I check-in early. That’s good behaviour, right? The new commercial airports in India are happy too, because of passengers like me I end up paying three times for some eatable just to hold something in my hand and chew on. Win, win. For the airline and the airport. But it is actually win-win-lose. And I am the loser. When I land, my bag is the last to come. The recusants are the first to get their bags. LIFO. Last In First Out.

They are the ones who are brought to the front of the security line by the airline staff. Almost every time I have seen this, and I have wondered, why do I follow the rules? I am denied my five minutes in the smoking lounge and the time to buy the overpriced sandwich. Needless to say, these irreverent people are the ones who will carry mobile phones in their pockets, and will be sent back by the security to send their devices through the X-ray machines. Delaying me further, six minutes. I am amused by how they are blinded by the 12 signs asking them to send their devices and wallets through the machine. Why don’t private airports get this? That’s one overpriced sandwich I do not have time to buy! That idiot who you just allowed to cross the line, is not going to buy anything at your illegally overpriced shop. He is going to run to the bus. (If you are certain blue airline. If you are the other blue airline, you get an aerobridge.)

Airlines and airports promote bad behaviour. Commerce eats rules for breakfast. That’s about it. Given my upbringing, my ethics, and my respect for authority, I will continue to behave the way I do. But, if you have no qualms, be a bad boy or a bad girl. You will be rewarded. I actually recommend it.

Little did I know when learning data structures in college, LIFO/FIFO it would have meaning in just more than code.

How, will you use what you learnt in school and college?

Story-listeners

I was called a storyteller, recently. (Read this first, if you want to make sense of this post)

I acknowledge that I am a storyteller, don’t want to be modest and such. There have been a few times when I have told stories. Some have been good stories, some have been quite lame. But that’s how you get there, you keep at it.

In the post (link above) where I was called a storyteller, I wondered what kind of storyteller I am. I am not C-Bag, and I am grateful for that. I am definitely not Wallace-ish. I am certain, I am not Murakami-ish. But I am someone-ish, perhaps. Which makes me think of this anthem by S&G:

This post is not about the style of stories that are being told. This is about the stories that I cannot tell. Stories of love. Stories of hate dislike. Stories of gain and loss. Stories of depression and ecstasy. No, those stories don’t sell.

The people in the stories do not want these stories to be published.

Some stories will be ours, personal, and secret. They may be beautiful, dreary, shocking, wondrous, or fantastic, but they will be untold. Storytelling is not just the responsibility of the storyteller.

Do not be a passive, patient audience.