Reclaiming Pleasure

I completed reading a book the other day.

(No, not this book.)

Normally, this would not have been news. Definitely not bloggable. I used to read a lot and often. Like writing, something broke, and I didn’t read a book for a long time. I didn’t stop reading; articles, documents and such were still being consumed voraciously; but a book didn’t figure in the list.

Clearly there is a loss of patience to go through the book. From deep within, there is a constant nagging that seeks finishing the book. The remainder of the pages on the right hand is a daunting task. Desperately waiting to increase the pages in the left hand.

It doesn’t help that others are reading so many books and so frequently. What should work as motivation creepily transforms into competition.

What should be pleasure, becomes a chore.

#NotesToSelf

In Collateral we Trust

It’s been years.

I asked a wise man once, what collateral meant. Patiently, and in his own inimitable style he explained the meaning of that word. I had some follow-up, what-if questions, which were more to confirm what I understood, than pure questions themselves. His answers confirmed that I had understood collateral correctly. Apparently, learning Computer Science is useless if you do not learn where to use it; we had to, therefore learn something called “Commercial Applications” – Banking, Accounting, Finance, Ratios, and related boring (but money-making) stuff. That’s about college; I usually tend to remember other, interesting, college stuff.

Bound: Original

In the following years, I heard the word trust many times. In different contexts: love, family, friends, organisational structures (See Business & Legal), and of course as simple day-to-day use of trusty-phrases. Much later, (as a young, ambitious — and obviously foolish — man) I went to a bank and asked for a loan to start a business. I have to admit, I loved the attention when they knew I had come for a loan, though that delight was short-lived. I had no collateral to give and therefore they had no money to give. But that’s how banks operate, and without any grudge, I found other (legal) means to start my business. And it was good for a while, which is another story.

But it is not just about banks (and their business model is to trust only in lieu of collateral) – this transactional trust tradition has become a part of our everyday lives. The forms have changed; the nature has not. The presentation has become sweeter, the legal document has not. But, there’s more to trust, than that. Trust is not a street-kid that you adopt out of sympathy; but sense it, acknowledge it, and embrace it.

In the times we live in, your future is the new collateral. One might say, that’s fine. Hedge, I think is the word. (But I may be completely wrong, because “Commercial Applications” wasn’t my favourite subject.) And I may even agree, if it was just that; just the unknown future; a random bastard value, legitimised by sheets and sheets of non-native numbers and foreign formulas. But I don’t agree, because, essentially, it is not just the future which is in lien; a slice of your present, is also to be surrendered: for that possible future. [Fun activity: look for the etymological roots of the word lien and ligament.]

Here and now, she said, here and now. You are slashing your supreme sword at empty shadows that have long been sent skywards in the pyres of the past. At the same time you are nitpicking on details that you know not how will unfold; entitling it grandiose: opportunity and strategy. Be with me? In these war games that are long dead and the chess games that haven’t begun, I see you nowhere. You are behind me or ahead; but not with me. [Dramatical abstraction of an otherwise simple, straightforward conversation]

Commitment considers not cost, neither collateral. Nor does Passion. Experience is the evolved cousin of commitment and passion; perhaps the most arrogant of the three — but is rooted in certainty and reality. And all the wealth that Kubera hoards; cannot stand collateral for these three cousins. All three cousins are here and now. They have no sense of the future. But they are faceless intangibles seeking a presence within noxious numbers and random ratios.

You and I, distant cousins of these three; once removed, perhaps twice removed, know them very well. They are almost us. And so we say, No! No, sir. We have nothing tangible to deposit in those vaults of yours, what we have, cannot be stored or locked behind those steel doors. For they are formless and beyond being bound.

But, if it is to be a market, in spite of all, we walk with swords ready to be unsheathed, that have value inscribed across the blade.

Almost There

Closer to that finish line, there are two ways, I think, how we respond. Either we summon all the reminder of our energy to cross it, or we slow down, and slowly walk to the ribbon. I am close to that line. And I must admit, I have no way to express what I feel. I am split in the middle, one wanting to finish; the other wanting to take time.

0466: Blur Walk

I am happy, though. The line that I will cross is absolute. Absolute, in the sense that it is mine, completely. It has no relation to what other people are doing or what other people expect. It is mine and mine alone. I am happy because I never planned to reach this line. I never worked towards it. I just kept walking. It will come soon, and you will all know; I am not telling. Even if you try to guess it with comments, I won’t tell. And because it is so near, you will know soon enough.

That’s all. Wait for just a little while.

Rounding Calculations

People who have read my blog for a (long) while may safely disregard this post. You’ve read this post at least ten times before this. Yes, it’s my annual, matching-up, of days and posts remaining, as I draw closer to my blog-anniversary. People who have followed this blog for several years now can predict with high accuracy, the content that is to follow.

IMG_1837Thirty-four days left for my blog-anniversary — the eleventh, by the way — and sixty-eight posts to go to reach a round figure of a thousand posts. Which means that there is a real opportunity to reach this goal if I post twice a day. Of course, on the eleventh anniversary one would try to reach for a number that sounds more like eleven hundred rather than a thousand. But it just so happens that thousand is the closest round number to nine-hundred and thirty-two.

Now, all I have to do is think of two things in a day that are bloggable. And no cheating this time. No photo-posts, no re-posts from my other blogs, no counting posts on other blogs towards this goal. Also, I won’t change the anniversary date to January first, to extend the deadline, although, that also seems like a well-rounded date.

Disclaimer: Not a single number was used in this post. All numbers were displayed only using letters and words.

Mind the Gap

Some people should write more often. Definitely more than a post every two months, on an average. It means a lot to the readers. But, perhaps these folks should not write more often. Supply demand economics will come into play. I am not sarcastic by default, but I can be sarcastic when I feel the need. I am not being sarcastic at this time. The Ides of November called into question (and answer) much that this year has been about.

This year died a long time ago for me. I am just dancing on its corpse, awaiting January, so that I may alight. I would elaborate on this thought, but much has been said about the tone of recent posts (Go to Archives, and read all posts in 2014) on this blog.)

<start:pet peeve>

Each entry that you write is a post and this collection of posts makes your blog. That one entry that you make in your blog is not your blog. That’s a post or an article. That entire collection of your entries? That’s a blog. Each of those entries in your blog? That’s a post.

<end:pet peeve>

I like the “gap year” concept in the post (post; not blog) that I have linked to, above. It makes so much sense. What’s interesting is that it is never obvious and we end up writing about it in November – the fag end. If you have read my blog for a while, you will know of my love/hate relationships with dates, especially rounded numbers and milestone dates, as well as the conflict I face with social sharing. That notwithstanding, after I read Amit’s post, I’ve decided this has to be the gap year (for me) that he so wonderfully describes. I didn’t need the post to inform me about it; his post just confirmed it, in a way.

9240: Small Gaps

Which, in a funny way, means that I have less than two months of left, of the gap year.

There’s this notion of point of no return. It has always intrigued me. I always measure distance in terms of the time it takes you to go there “and” return here. So, in my head, the point of no return has to be more than half of getting there. It’s like middle-age. People say, Oh, I’ve hit middle age. I always wonder how people can say that. To be able to say, you are in the middle age, you have to know when you will die. Else you are just statisticalising (Yup, I made up that word)

The one risk I face, come, end of December, is that I do not learn from this gap-year. Irrespective; if I chose the learning or it was imposed on me. The next year will have to be different. Either we will board the train or we will exit the platform.

Else, we risk another gap year.

December is About Numbers

While it is now abundantly clear that some numbers will not come together as I had wished they would, along comes WordPress and informs me of this number.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 11.50.02

I assure, you I had nothing to do with it! 😀

 

New Meanings

Turbine Hall

Space, environment, intimacy and depth have new meanings.

Going to Rehab

That’s what friends are for – they make you see what you already know – and make you put a number to it.

Dang! No addiction is good addiction. Be back when it’s like 35% or less.

Addicted to Blogging

Don’t check your addiction index.

Blogging Being

IMG_5101 - Version 2

I like to believe in coincidences. That way it is easier to deal with happenstance than dissect and analyse the ‘bigger scheme‘ of things that we aren’t privy to.

A couple of days ago I found great food for thought (as much as I was tempted to say food for blog, I shall let the cliché survive) on Lorelle’s recent Blog Challenge post. Just the thought sounded yummy and I said so. But I had no idea what definition I would give. I had shied away from it some time ago, when I had asked the same question to a few bloggers. Blogging means a whole lot of things to me and at the time I put my comment on her post, all those meanings were happily rioting against the floodgates that barricade my otherwise unruly thoughts.

Coincide the above with: The day after I did AFJ’s tag, I thought I would give the ‘answer‘ to the tag. But no, it wasn’t meant to be. I ended up running from here to nowhere via everywhere including WordPress WordPress Support. (The fine folks I always talk about). The problem was quickly resolved. Now, the response post wasn’t critical. At all. It could have been posted even after this post – it wouldn’t have mattered. But just the thought of not being able to post on my blog…!
Blogging doesn’t define me (and thankfully so; given the fifteen-odd blogs that I presumably “write”, I would be easily diagnosed with multiple – (and somewhat split) personality syndrome). I do, however, define blogging, and yet the definition is elusive. I talk of the kind of definition that we have all grown accustomed to.

x is y with z features.

A few of you who have been long-standing victims of my obsession with words, meanings and contexts will know my dilemma. What meaning do you ascribe to something like blogging? It is always easier, I believe, to derive meaning of multiple contexts, and blogging lends itself just fine to multiple contexts.

Blogging is spaces. It is about the spaces that we inhabit, in the world or the worlds that we create for ourselves. We believe we know our space, we are protective about it, often possessive about it. A blog becomes just that and a bit more. It allows for a meandering exploration along those in-between white spaces in between our worlds; those that we don’t often notice and hardly care for. When we are in the white space, when we see from that vantage, we see a lot of colour. There is a vigorous sense of being alive.

Blogging is fear. It is about two types of fear. One that we are able to overcome, often through anonymous blogging, a way for expressing that the otherwise imposed social rules of engagement do not allow us to. This is not floccinaucinihilipilification. Some of the best bloggers are anonymous and it doesn’t change a thing about the beauty and insight in their writing. At the same time, blogging causes fear. Well, fear is too strong a word, but after a while the material attachment to the post-count, comments, stats and therefore the readers, brings a tense sense of holding on. The blog becomes as human as we are. It has flesh and blood – and it has feelings. The cycle continues.

Blogging is judgement. Of every word that dims a few pixels on your screen. Of every post that was born of a thought that refused to disintegrate and crumble at the feet of your neurons; that insisted on being born. Of every reader who reads your post and says something, or doesn’t. Of the blog round the corner that often times does a tad better than my blog. Of the blog round the corner that often times does a tad worse than my blog. In these hallowed halls, where you become the judge and the accused in half-duplex, all is seen through a discerning eye. All is sliced up and spiced up, and given a permanent place, assigned a value.

Blogging, however, is mostly expression. An otherwise delinquent thought becomes a well-behaved angel and sits smartly in a post. And a million such, together create that wonderful experience that is not the author; the blog is seldom the author – it is the author’s projection of colourful thoughts like a festive London Eye on a moonless night, spinning at its own happy whim and in its own blissful frenzy.

And yet I haven’t done any justice to what blogging means to me. The most important context of it all; the most elusive: a blog’s cajoling nature that urges you to articulate more and articulate better (which has yet to work perfectly for me, what with the high level of abstraction that my discrete words adorn).

Ever had a dream, when you felt that you were in a deep dark abyss, falling and rising at the same time, lit up at both ends? Then you know what I mean.

And 300, It Is

It’s like a dash – the last reserves of your energy to get there – to the ribbon. The exhilarating feel of the ribbon on the chest – in days to come: the invisible cut of the infra-red beam by the first cell of your body that severs it.

The tea-maker told me a hundred posts ago that I had cheated – and I shall indulge in such cheating once again, this time five more times than the last time. Technically, I have possibly crossed the 300th, because WordPress failed to import a few posts from February 2006. But I am neither complaining nor disclaiming. You could say I am getting better at cheating.

It’s almost a burden – when you are just a few steps away from the milestone. Better get it off you chest.

But I want to rest a while. Do things that are equally as close to heart.

I read a lot about blogging – as a phenomenon, as a tool, arguments for and against it. I talked with a few people about the meaning of it all – and their perceptions. I have questioned myself enough about the purpose – because I am a firm believer in purpose.

And I stumbled on posts like this. I found kindred spirits.

In the recent past, most of my posts have abstracted themselves out of the context in which they were conceived. I have been questioned about that. Even blamed of the potential nonsensical-ness of it all. The comments have been waning. If there is pleasure in incidents and gory details of who said what – then there is always the movie gossip magazine. I once began writing a post which now has twelve words of unfinished text after I read this post that referred to this post. I don’t think I make a difference to the world. This blog is too inconsequential to be able to do that. Most blogs are. What my blog does however, is make a difference to who I am and how I see things. It allows me to express what I think, know from others what they think about what I think. It provides me a way to fine tune my thinking. To recalibrate my notions of things. Its one thing to have a thought – a completely different to be able to express it in the right way.

A small digression here: making a difference is often not a conscious choice. It comes out of a context. Imagine Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t thrown out of a train in South Africa. It’s almost destiny; (as much as I hate to admit it) the trigger is what helps make a difference.

Those rare days, when that one spike in a WordPress blog stat graph nearly touches the sky, and yet is pulled down by the day before and the day after. The one day Gaizabonts was featured on Desipundit. It’s as my artist friend tells me – huge canvases – those are the ones that sell.

The mark of how much your blog is your personal diary vs. an expression for others to see is the number of times that you go to your blog and check the stats and your sitemeter and such. What would we be if we just spoke with ourselves – where and what would be the significance of Web 2.0?

Blogging in isolation of the world to see and respond to is a thought. I wonder then, why such blogs aren’t private. All blogging services offer that. I enjoy the adulation I get out of blogging; I won’t deny it.

30-odd years of life and only 300 thoughts in three years (and a bit) is not a call for celebration, what is, however, is that this is a beginning. 4000, perhaps in the next. Wishful thinker.

I’ll see you after a while. Maybe short, maybe long, but a while it will be.

Cheers!

All’s Well; Still

Don’t worry.

All’s well. Slight off-road walking, even when there were no pavements, but that’s about it. Otherwise, pretty much keeping to the road – as much as is obvious. But then, what isn’t obvious is yours to manage and control isn’t it?

(Sorry for the giggle, but) yes a few funny and embarrassing incidents – the controversy and constant one-upmanship of humour and regret. It’s not always easy “in” the moment, you know – but I will happily admit to having laughed at those moments in retrospect – even if I did that in private.

Change?

Nah! I’d rather not change anything in the story that is already past. I now know that I can write the rest of the story. It is more fun that way, and if you promise not to tell, it is easy. I have a foundation. Stating from scratch, as much as others would agree, isn’t easy. It is easier and more fun to work on an existing story. And you will have to keep your eyes peeled if you ever want to notice the change!

People, ah, yes.

Many of them; quite a few forgotten and ignored; does that happen when you meet a lot? Actually, I am out-of-touch, I remember all of them. For some reason. The most remembered are those that I met the least. The transient philosophers; come and go as a breeze; as they please. The most guarded are the ones that are most vulnerable, in their strength. Almost selfish, isn’t it? I see you smiling again.

Value, well…

A new learning – curiously enough, a build-up, rather than a revelation; and each incident a stronger foundation to realise the value of value: in the word of innocence, in the (missing) backslap of a friend, in compatriots slowly turning their heads to meet your eyes with respect, in standing up to bullies, in just plain language – standing up. Enough value has been accumulated. Even if I exclude the times that I almost made Morpheus-like statements.

Sure, you never promised an easy life, but (to use a triple negative, if you dont mind and if I can pull it off), I ain’t not complaining about nothing.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

And wonderfully so, I couldn’t be listening to anything other than Hunter’s Lullaby by Leonard Cohen.

All’s well.

The Year-end OCPD Blog

Take a context and burn it, all that will remain are the ashes of nothingness of meaning.

Shakespeare is as meaningful as the contexts that ‘experts’ tell us. Experts however are a recursive oxymoron because they ‘tell us’ rather than helping us find meaning. There was a mark that Macbeth made when “…he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps, And fix’d his head upon our battlements”, but then, the discovery of that ‘mark’ would have been better enabled than told. And I wish I was back on stage.

Raag Bhoop (Vilambit, Madhayala, & Drut Teental) is only as useful to drown the staccato dialogue delivery of Jennifer Aniston.

I don’t understand abstract art, he says. But then, what does he understand of the discrete and concrete arts? He can’t make a coherent statement why Peter Paul Rubens captures his imagination. Why The Execution of Jane Gray, brings tears to his eyes. What redeemed the bonded men in Shawshank and set then free for those few moments when Duettino – Sull’aria played?

Play a game with words and you will learn that the rules of the game are written in words. It’s an algorithm built by words. Not numbers that you can deduce.

The nature of words is such that they strike tangents to the circles of thoughts – how some words are banned from entering the circle – how some feelings are prohibited from breaking the circumference of the circle – out to the tangent. The blame game played long and hard – and it continues unabated – with casualties on either side – sometimes the feelings go unexpressed and then some words feel useless without feelings to express.

Take love. Fight. Cry. Plead. Beg. Hope. Wish – for it to happen. In the moment that love reveals itself, you will forget all emotion that you suffered for that one moment of joy.

It takes an enormous amount of belief to get something done. But belief by itself doesn’t turn the mechanics of the gears that makes this world go round. It takes two – one to hold the belief – the other to struggle. Some day, it will be, when the abstract and the discrete will not be able to reside in one place. One will have to find the other. The middle of this year saw an amazing mixture of belief and struggle come through for one of the best moments in life so far.

Mental disorders don’t conform to structures. Why the third one now; “three” is the dominant numerical motif of rhetoric in the English language.

I have been a bit obsessed about my posts and blogs for sometime now – a fair confession in a world where site-meters, as concepts, abound. I have thought about readership and comments and site visits and such. Scalded enough in the cauldron that invites me to salvation yet expecting me to physically jump out of the brew, I have existed on the rim of the burning vessel. The third witch is the most elusive.

Milestone

It is a time for goodbyes. The New Year milestone has been questioned and cursed enough. But this is as good a milestone as any other. If not now, you would do it on a birthday or perhaps on the death of an entity. Or just some ordinary overcast usual dull day. Or the day of a significant event. Or at 3:30 in the afternoon on a day when an in-your-face stupid truth slaps you hard on your left cheek with a twang of reality that you have always known but never acknowledged. (Thank you Baz Luhrman)

I love milestones. Since I remember, I have cherished them. More often than not, they were the count of how close I was getting to my grandparents’ home. I will never curse a milestone. While some of us may curse the trite New Year as a milestone, I believe in the milestone. As much as we present a fake and a strong argument against the concept of milestones, we need them as markers to take stock of our life. New years, birthdays, calendars, graduations, achievements – minor and otherwise (from institutions and love affairs), all milestones. We need them. But we don’t need to tell anyone that we do.

At this milestone, I will stop. Things apparently aren’t making sense. This one says 0km. I don’t have to go any further on this particular road.

For those of you that believe, I wish you yet another year that brings enough challenges that prods you along, makes life difficult and you better, and makes you do the wonderful things that you have done in life – make life a wonderful place to be.

Cheers!

The Creative Answer

The answer to Creative All Around is now posted as a comment. If you are still planning on solving it yourself, avoid the comments.

Creative All Around

Music on the Top

 

Creative reflection eludes a thinking individual very easily.
Run in circles if you’d like to verify.
Escape is impossible when you are stuck inside.
Around the grid revolves abstract creativity bound together.
Think about what you seek in this act.
I could tell, but the mystery would evade.
Venetian moats around the city flow like rivers.
Even various intellectuals travel an elusive rounded circumference.

 

My early attempt at riddles. Can you guess what it is? The answer is in there, so are the hints. Have fun! (The image is just a filler, but helps, in a funny way)

Folks, who have seen this before and know about it, control yourself.

It first appeared at Deep Recess, here. Spend some time with it, till the block is overcome.

Identity

Identity

It actually boils down to a number, whichever way you see it. Your birth certificate number, passport, credit card, PAN, social security, employee, insurance, bank account number and of course your death certificate number.

The first child, the second child; a number

And not in the least, a census statistic!

That is what an identity is – a number – the unique identity.

You have a name, a personality, characteristics, attitude, and many more such attributes that set you apart from the other person. But there will always be duplication somewhere. Another person has the same name you have, your personality and characteristics are similar to someone else’s. You often heard them say, “You know, you are behaving like him (or her).” Even your attitude is not really unique in that sense. No such attribute which you think uniquely ‘identifies’ you is really unique – you may not know it – but that’s another thing. I doubt if the human brain is capable of remembering so many numbers – that is why we make this map.

Even a name doesn’t provide any identity as such, it does provide a perception – but that is again a map of what we have known and what we believe. A name is only as useful as distinguishing between two persons, for example, in a conversation. It is easy for us to map certain vague attributes to name and create a mental map that helps us relate better.

Yet there is one personal identity which is still unique – your e-identity – if I may. No two URLs (which are a mark of your online identity are ever duplicated (it just doesn’t work that way). No two email addresses are the same.

If you would care to become a bit technical – I guess even that would identify you as a number.