Sunday, June 19, 2016

He is you. He is me.

Don't know why I missed out on 'Tamasha'. Finally, saw it last night, an amazing, yet difficult movie to make. Ranbir Kapoor, as Ved, was predictably fabulous, and Deepika as Tara, was the apt catalyst who turned Ved's life upside down.

More than a movie, it was a treatise on modern life. It was like watching your daily mundane existence being portrayed on the wide canvas, as you struggle through to keep your inner conflict in check.

You want to be someone else, but you end up being someone else. You want to do something else, but you end up doing something else. But, in that helpless mechanical existance as well, we have a choice - to say 'No' to it. After all, we have chosen that life, and no one but ourselves are to be blamed for it. And, no one but ourselves can change it as well.

So, at the witching hour, with the lingering sound of 'Matargashti' in the background, I penned the following poem:

He wasn't a man of 9 to 5,
He wasn't a man of calculus,
He wasn't a man of logic,
He wasn't a man of law,
He wasn't a man of anything of this world order.

Who was he then?

He was a man without a watch,
He was a man of poetry,
He was a man of drama,
He was a man of anarchy,
He was a man of everything out of this world order.

Who is he now?

He is a man wanting to forget time,
He is a man trying to write poetry,
He is a man creating drama,
He is a man breaking in and out of his self,
He is a man challenging everything of this world order.

He is in all of us. He is you. He is me.

As I finished the poem, I wondered what would I have done if I had not been a writer / editor?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Have you made friends lately?

That's a question for anyone who is above 30. Ask yourself, when was the last time you made a friend. And, I am not talking about someone you met and added on Facebook. It is the kind of friendship you struck when you were a kid, when you became friends with anyone and everyone without judging them. But, do you do that now?

As you grow old, you pile up conventions after conventions. You create certain 'ideals', you need your new friend to fit in your definition of that 'ideal'. Those ideals could range from the banal to the sublime. You only want to be friends with people who are of your class, status, match your intellectual wavelength, adventurous, humorous... the list goes on as you add more numbers and white hair (not necessarily in the same order) to your life. 

You lose your spontaneity to be friends with a stranger, someone who is totally unlike you or someone who breaks every possible definition of your 'ideal' friend. 

Question is why does this happen? You have a motley crew of childhood friends. And honestly, you would have been bored to death if you had friends who were a mirror image of yours! So, why the same rule did not apply as you grew up. Did you stop taking risks?

As one crosses that dreaded threshold of 30, suddenly life no longer seems so rosy as it once used to be. You are faced with immense responsibilities, shouldering the burden of your own decisions, and running after some paper pieces that would buy you 'happiness'. And, you want to guard everything that you have with a mean pride. You want to control, be the conductor of your own orchestra, and do not want even a single note out of tune. And, that's where you go horribly wrong. You are so engrossed in your own little world, the known devil, you forget to even say 'hello' to someone new. Your risk-taking appetite ended with that paragliding jump from the mountain you ran-off from when you were not so 'wised-up'. The unknown is not for you, as you start teaching your kids, "Don't talk to strangers."

But, sometimes you do toe the line. You meet up with someone who makes you want to break your self-imposed rules. You find them interesting, and your eyes light up just the way they did when you were tiny-tots. Yet, you hesitate. Why? Because you fear, you don't want to be betrayed again? By the time you have lived three decades of your life, you know enough about betrayal that you could write a book as thick as the dictionary. And, that's where the real problem starts. You start analysing the person as per your parameters of defining someone as 'trustworthy'. Things remain hunky-dory till you keep ticking off your checklist. But, the moment you cross a pointer, you conclude with vengeance, "I knew it, everyone is the same. I shouldn't have wasted my time and effort."

You run-off to your carefully organised and decorated 'safe' world, get busy with the 'pretend-plays', as a friend once said. 

Ironically, you talk of wars and terrorism, and blind hatred almost every day. But have you ever analysed that maybe the start of all these had been because of the walls you created around yourself. When you do not allow people to know you, and extend your hand of friendship to a stranger, do you really think countries will ever resolve their crisis? Think about it, or rather don't and make a new friend NOW!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hidden in plain sight

Stating the obvious is clich├ęd. The mystery is in hiding the truth in plain sight!

It's much like hiding the tree in the forest. Despite being there, you do not see it. You consider it as a part of the larger ecosystem and ignore its existence. Truth is like that tree in the forest, only the person who has planted that tree knows the mystery behind it. And, it is for the others to figure out that extraordinary tree among the crowd of lookalikes...Now, that's a real challenge, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Living alone

Living alone has its challenges. After your friends are gone, and you finally settle down in your lonely abode, the first thing you notice is silence, that is, if you discount the annoying buzzing of the fan or the blaring horns of the passing vehicles. Suddenly, your brain is greeted with no voices to process, and your heart starts beating in anticipation of what would happen next, because you literary need to create that next step. The drama is thrown out of the window and in your solitude you find yourself thinking and questioning.

And, as you are deep in thought, all of a sudden you are tickled by two large antennae. You look down and see a huge flying cockroach. As you are about to shout, your brain processes your reaction and tells you, “Maam, there is no point shouting about it, no one is coming to rescue you. So, stop being a damsel in distress and do something about it.” After that rude shock, you collect yourself and logically analyse the situation. Should you leave the cockroach or should you kill it? You decide that the latter is a better option. If you don’t kill it, it will infest the house. You draw every ounce of courage, take the slipper off from your feet and taking a good aim, slap it on the unsuspecting creepy little thing. After that first attack, a maniac energy grips you as you repeatedly slap it to ensure that it is not writhing in pain.

Finally, jubilant at your first victory alone, you sit on the sofa to relax. As you look at the ceiling, you find another crawling creature ready to make your home his territory. Now, this one is a fight. Keeping a safe distance, you start shooing him away with a folded newspaper. You ensure that the newspaper does not hit him or else you may get into trouble. Finally, after directing him out of the window, you shut it tight and wish that you do not encounter Tom’s arch-rival next!  

Who said, living alone is easy…

Monday, June 6, 2016

Turning into a greener shade of olive

Jealousy is ingrained in human nature. You can’t fight it. When it hits you, it hits you hard. Even the ones with the ‘purest’ interest in their hearts are not immune to this universal feeling of ‘inability to come to terms with one’s own inefficiencies’!

Ouch! That hurt, let’s just call it plain old jealousy then.

And, even if you nod your head vigorously that you have never felt that way, ask your little ‘saintly’ heart what was your first feeling when you saw your best friend in that killer dress? Don’t mask it under the pretext that you so wanted that dress, and that you would have totally rocked it. Admit it, you know what you were…

Despite all that sophistication, education and walking tall, we still have this underlying pettiness. However, the beauty is not in running away from it. But in acknowledging it, processing it and reacting accordingly. After all, we may not be able to control what we feel, but we can definitely control our reactions.

So, be jealous, turn into a greener shade of olive. But, be human, appreciate the good, and turn into a paler shade of white!