Keep Giving Up

The temptation to give up, is high.

Well, you’ve stated the primary idea. Why write more? If people want to know more about your idea, they’ll Google it, or they’ll ask questions. My writing is suffering. I still love starting to write, but after the key note has been written, I lose interest. Who cares? I’ve just finished a post on my History blog. (as of when I am writing this post, it hasn’t been published). I can sense the gaps. It is staccato. I asked a few friends to check it. They end up telling me the things I know.

Even when I know how I should write, I don’t.

One of two things have happened: Blogging has changed and I haven’t, or, I have changed and Blogging hasn’t. When this mystery is solved, I’ll know what I should do.

Or, perhaps, there’s too much of a big deal with giving up and keeping at it. Why is giving up looked down upon? When you think hard about it, giving up actually opens up new avenues. If you give up there’s so many other things that you can do. If you, however, keep at it there’s only one thing you are doing, and chances are, you are doing it for some (potentially) foolhardy reason that you committed yourself to. Or perhaps, there’s merit in keeping at it.

So I should either give up at keeping at it, or keep at it at giving up.

Something tells me, they are the same, but, now I’ve lost interest. I give up.

Being Friends

“I have a few ideas about how we can respond,” he said.

“Come home,” I said.

“Or, we could speak on the phone,” he said.

Eventually he came home. There is no way any of you are interested in the why we wanted to get together. If you really are, ask me, in the comments.There’s much more to his coming home.

*

When I was young, friends didn’t need to ask if they could come home. They just came over. We were young, so my mother and father took care of other things: called the parents of this friend who was over and fed this friend with whatever lunch or dinner we ate. At times they slept over. Some friends are on the other side of the world. They don’t sleep over. Some of them. The others, stay back. They care less about the comfort. For them, nothing has changed.

If we ever measure our friends by their achievements, we should know that we aren’t friends. We can be proud of the achievements of our friends but that should never be the barometer of why we are friends. We are friends because we are friends and nothing should ever determine, the reason why.

The moment we ask why, something dies.

The Cool Breeze: #Anthem 13

It’s December. Many years ago. My best friend insists that when we play this song, cool breeze fills up our car. Over the years, I have learnt not to question her judgement. She is my navigator, co-pilot, and my DJ. And she fulfils these roles, impeccably. These were the days when Google Maps wasn’t as smart as it is now. We would get lost. And we didn’t care about being lost. Since we didn’t care where we wanted to be, we didn’t care where we were. We didn’t know it then, but perhaps, we liked being lost.

We cared much about the music that played as we drove around aimlessly. The village roads were potholed. And as we climbed and descended these unknown roads, cool breeze danced, for a while in our car. Red mud. She insisted, it was because of this song. Cashew trees. So we experimented, driving back, forth, around, and along those roads. Any other song and the breeze paused. This song, and breeze flowed.

It’s a love song, so it made sense that it played when just the two of us were alone with the trees and the hilly road. I could afford to look at her, because there was no traffic, nor a single soul. It’s not a song that I love for the song that it is. I loved the song because she loved it. I loved the song for the experience of driving while she sat along. She is looking at the valley to her side. I love watching her seeing away.

She isn’t humming along with the song. She is looking at the valley, as we climb the inclining road. But I know it’s playing in her head. That day. I am happy. Whatever her imagination, I know I am a part of it.

There isn’t a happy driver like me, when she is with me.

*

For my non-Hindi audience, here’s the translation of the song. And for whatever reason, if you cannot see this YouTube in your country, search for ‘Zara Zara, RHTDM’.

Being Superstitious

There are many ways to be superstitious. Actually, there are many degrees to being superstitious. The lowest level of it, is trivial.

If you are a cricket fan, especially in India, you will know what I mean. Folks sit in a particular position for the entire duration of the match, lest we lose a wicket. Some of them only listen to the commentary, do not watch the match. There are a million more; all of them quirky.

Then comes the next degree, the personal. They aren’t trivial, but are rooted in long-term observation or experience. Empirical. These are the kind that tend to affect our lives (in a rather far-reaching way, than the result of a cricket match). These are personal, in the sense that these superstitions only affect us and the result is experienced in a very personal way.

Finally there are the global ones. Walking under the ladder, breaking of a mirror, and such. There is no value in the superstition, except that it has been handed down from generations and we accept them for their sake.

And that’s how superstition propagates. From the trivial, to the personal to the global. The trivial ones are easily discarded, for they are temporary. There is a comic element to them, and should be treated as such. The global ones, we just have to deny, for we can find no rational basis in them.

2726: Three Crows

The difficult ones to deal with, and the critical ones — are the personal superstitions. They hold within them the potential to become global, because we often tend to prove with “data” how real they are. Yet we cannot deny our own experience. Especially when it is repeated. The key, perhaps, is to not allow an experience (or experiences) to turn into belief. That’s where the rational mind shuts down.

And when we need its faculty the most, it may not be available to us.

Je Suis Moron

I’d like a T-shirt that says that.

I don’t know what’s the theme and sense of the local social argument around the world. In India, if you have a difference of opinion, or are asking questions (whether innocent or not) – you are a moron. Almost, always, self-styled lieutenants address every other person as a moron. I am a teacher who has taught a beautiful language for more than 40 years. I am a teenager who seeks to understand my world. Just because you have knowledge of a narrow theme (which of course you dwell in) it’s easy for you to call me a moron. I am often amused, when questions are asked of these experts, on a social platform, and the seekers are dismissed as morons.

A Boatman's Question

Not all questions are about casting aspersion. Some are innocent questions. Some are about curiosity. Some a genuine doubts. A leader answers a question, even when they do not have an answer. “I do not have an answer for you at this time, but I am happy to seek an answer to this question, with you,” is a leader’s response. But to call a seeker a moron? In the first instance? Without seeking context? That reeks of a power-obsessed personality, conceit, and some specific delusions of grandeur. What if this moron has dedicated his life and times to study a specific theme all his life?

This conversation happened on Twitter, and perhaps it is easy to blame the platform than the people dancing on the platform. Platforms are as characterless as they get. We often make the mistake of mistaking the person for the platform. Twitter as a platform enables us to have a public conversation. Twitter as a platform enables us to make things better. Twitter as a platform enables us to call people morons. The good and the not-so-good that we publish on the platform is about us. It has nothing to do with the platform.

If this is what it means to be an expert — calling people names — I never want to be an expert on any thing. I am happy to be an amateur and ask that people ask questions of me, so that I may become better; so that they may become better. If asking a question, whether through ignorance, or as a challenge, or to seek more information is about being a moron, then I have only one thing to say. For when I stop asking questions, I’ll be dead and irrelevant at the same time.

Je Suis Moron.

A Thousand Links

Ceremonial and milestone posts are like templates. We end up saying the same things over and over. There are small differences when the ceremonies and the milestones differ; the essence however, remains the same. There’s gratitude, there’s a description of a journey, there’s some description of a meaning, and such things. There’s, always pressure to make an impact.

These are the things that have occupied my mind and heart for the last few weeks. I was getting closer and closer to the 1000-posts mark. Each post, that was the 996th, 997th, 998th, 999th in number wanted to betray this post. The 998th post almost did! That was the excitement of the writer, and the posts, shared the excitement, if not more. All of them — the ones in the 99x series — didn’t mind that they weren’t the 1,000th. They knew their place was critical for this post to exist, to be published. Without them, this one was still far away.

100 Links

In my earlier post, I talked how “It All Comes Together.” Well, given the image above you can see that it doesn’t always come together. Sometimes there’s a zero missing; or a number is 10-times less than it should ideally be. I should have said: almost!

I’ve blogged for 4,125 days on this blog. That’s one post every four days, on an average. And while it may not mean much in relative terms, I am, and have been happy, satisfied, and proud of the last 11 years, 3 months, 18 days. What started as casual dabbling has become an integral part of my life. And succumbing to the template, I must say, I am grateful for that part of me that thought I should not stop.

Needless to say, I spent a few days going through my blog. Some of what I written is quite bad, and friends have told me that, through comments. Some of it is very good. Most, of it however, is somewhere, between. As I re-lived my life for the past eleven years, I am most proud, that I have been honest. Even if the honesty was wrapped in a thick woolly garment of abstraction. What the wool did was to protect my privacy, and that of my friends and family. The thoughts and feelings themselves were uncloaked.

If had to go back to that day in December 2003 and restart this, I would not do it any other way. Such a fulfilling experience is this one that I would dare not disturb or tweak. Many bloggers have come and gone (mostly, to Twitter) and while I have lamented their exit, my experience with my blog has been complete; has been most fulfilling; has been most adventurous.

As I write this, I realise, when you are overwhelmed, you should make a statement and exit. There will be times, later, for you to expand on your feelings, when they don’t crowd you. (This was never going to be an easy post.)

I’ll write soon.

As soon as my emotional paparazzi have dispersed.

Our Sweetest Songs: #Anthem 11

In the “Ode to a Skylark“, PB Shelly writes:

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

9315: Sounds of Innocence

Certain words, in any language, haven’t got their due, methinks. Especially those that are not about happiness, joy and anything that is overall goody-goody. We seek happiness; we encourage it even. In the small and trivial messaging we send out, we ask our people to be happy. Have fun. Enjoy. Have a blast. And such. Being happy is a norm. If we are sad, armies of friends, family, and well-wishers swarm around us to extract us, almost, from the depth of sadness and despair (or whatever name you have for it). They pull our limbs, even if it means we will be torn apart, for they seldom realise where we are stuck

*

I am calling it out.

Being sad is an equally important emotion as being happy. When I see people who are perennially happy, my first response is that they are faking it. Some of what we feel is utterly personal. There is no need to share it. Even if we are lexicon-editors, words will fail us, when we want to say how we feel. Silence, often communicates more than words. All the negative emotions that the world is telling us to get rid off, are real. But, they are ours. We have to experience them, if we are to experience ourselves. Unless we know them, we will not experience true happiness. They are, in a way, counter-related. What we should not do (and what our friendly armies and swarms are really trying to tell us, but are failing miserably) is to dwell there. One of my friends, who regularly reads my blog keenly points out the mood of my posts. She dislikes it when I am sad. Perhaps, my sad posts make her sad.

Perhaps, that is where our well-wishers miss it. There are moments of sadness. If we continue to be there, it’s a different thing. It’s called depression. It’s a medical condition, which requires a different solution.

But being sad, or in a grave mood, is just as natural (and I say this without any psycho-medical knowledge) as being happy or elated.

*

Paul, long ago, started a ten-anthem challenge. I completed it, in my own sweet time. I posted my ten anthems. I felt, however, 10, was too less to express what music meant to you. And without a number in head, here is the eleventh. This is a beautiful song (playback) by Manna De. The last line in the above-quoted Shelly stanza is the base of this song. [Trivia: The actor in this song, Dev Anand, was often called the Gregory Peck of India]