kar khud ko itna buland ke khuda bande se khud puche teri raza kya hai

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Transporter

Reading is very calming, Mr. Reader. It is almost magical, isn’t it? A written word, coupled with the imagination it produces can transport you into completely new worlds. You know what I love the most about books though, their complete honesty.  I don’t mean all books write the Truths, what I mean is the honest transparency of characters that you feel as a book places you in their shoes. Maybe that’s also why I much love fiction to non-fiction, because I love stories. I love to see the world from different eyes, eyes from different ages both bygone and futuristic ages to come. I have started to diversify my reading lists venturing into ever newer categories although I must say that medieval dramas and fantasy worlds that mimic the medieval dramas are my absolute favorites. Stories of Kings and Queens and brave Knights and famous Princesses, it just never gets old enough for me. It’s so simple isn’t it; we really never grow out of our childhoods. Although now I appreciate stories not just from a Knight-kills-the-Dragon-Story perspective, but rather also acknowledge the politics, diplomacy and power around it.

Some books are gems. So easy to read, so relatable, so masterfully crafted, reading them is almost like eating a huge mouthful of yummiest chocolate cake. I have felt a few good things from reading that I want to share with you Mr. Reader. Isn’t it almost impossibly magical that regardless of whichever book you pick up, a good story teller can metamorphose you into its characters? Sometimes it’s numbing to look at the books in my cupboard, they are all a world in themselves and I feel that I have transported back and forth out of them. Like I have lived a hundred lives, like I have seen the world from a hundred eyes, a hundred souls. The most striking thing is that you can relate to ALL of the characters, orphans and kings, men and women, soldiers and criminals, victims to perpetrators. People of all ages from all Ages! It’s truly incredible and to me reveals an exquisite truth – that really we are all alike. Deep down, really, we are all really alike.

What I crave the most in books is this deep rooted truth the honest transparent feelings that are so completely relatable. Because people in good books do not lie to you, good books tell you all about all the feelings people in them have. Real world is different, very different. People highlight their differences. We yearn to standout from each other. Real world is all about hiding true feelings or showing half truths. Book Worlds are different. The characters talk to you their true thoughts, all their good and bad feelings. They are not diplomatic to you. They tell you all what they feel and then as you get more engrossed in their lives you realize that you would feel pretty much the same. Books dissolve the differences. I am an introvert Mr. Reader. Small talks bother me. I can talk incessantly with my most favorite people in the world – my band of core group members of my life - family and close friends. Why? I guess it is because half truths bother me. Pretences bother me. If it is impolite to share all my true feelings with someone, I would rather just not share any feelings at all. Which is also why I truly treasure members of my core group, because it is incredibly liberating to be true to a few people. Books are really good that way, they are always honest. My best friends from Book World far outnumber people I know from Real World.

Sometimes I feel that if everybody read a whole lot of books there would be no hatred in the world. I think the dirtiest trick that all powerful rulers in the world have played is highlighting differences. It is outrageous isn’t it - biologically and chemically we are all really alike, and if we are all so alike inside how can we ever be so different due to outside factors? Not just all people you know, scientifically all animals and all plants evolved out of the same paradigms. I mean it’s not a philosophical debate, it’s a fact! Maybe it is fair to be proud of everyone’s unique individuality, but to hate anyone because they appear to be different is ludicrous! Real World is sometimes prominently disturbing that way, if you start to think about all the unfair things all the injustices it is quite unsettling. How can we all collectively exist without mobilizing forces to uproot all the Evil in the world?

But then again Mr. Reader that’s why probably Real World is quite real that way. Half Truths and half Evils make this world full. Life is not really black and white; nobody is completely good or completely bad. Maybe that’s why all forces in the world cannot be mobilized to extinct Evil because a little bit of Evil lurks inside all of us. And maybe that’s why Reading is exquisite – it lets you transport back and forth between Truths and Half Truths at your ease. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Of Trials and Errors

Hello Mr. Reader! Yes, I have missed you too. Believe it or not, but I did try writing to you a few times since my last monologue, except that I just ended up staring at blank computer screens and failing to draft any engaging excerpts from my life. As I have been telling you, my life has been fast enveloping into a cocoon of similar things- as if  my world has shrunk: to my office, a few close friends and my family (boyfriend can be counted in all of their intersections). I don’t think it’s particularly wise to blog about my office life, suffice it to say that I don’t exactly mind Mondays too much.

My world has really shrunk- I have serially dreamt some market data or other number crunching from my work- and have gotten so confused in my dreams with all the numbers floating around in my head that I have actually woken up in the middle of the nights. Now if I must avoid talking about office, the only other thing I can talk about is my personal life. I do understand that personal life is also not a very appropriate choice to share on an online blog either, but then again Mr. Reader- my world has really shrunk and you have always been a comforting confidant. I don’t think I am living an extraordinary life at the moment, I am sure I have the most common place relatable experiences of modern day 20 somethings. Common place or not, life is still stressful and I feel that it is important for more people to talk about everyday struggles and joys as we wade through the rat race. Not that I am exactly failing, but every day is a learning experience. My struggles may seem small, like breaking off from the g = 9,800 of my bed every morning. Sometimes Facebook is too annoying, people generally share only the sunny side of their lives. Maybe society was always this way, maybe we are genetically programmed to share only our success stories, but I think it is important to discuss problems just as much.

* Love is the most blissful emotion, Mr. Reader! Love is the most complicated mixture of agony, insecurity, jealousy, companionship, innocence and happiness. Love is like the umbrella emotion – it covers them all! I am a very lucky girl, Mr. Reader. I think being a pampered girl, is way better than being a guy. I am a feminist but not a feminazi. Even in my own relationship, I understand that I am getting a better deal than my boyfriend. I just inherently feel so protected, like he were my patronus. Long distance relationships are difficult, Mr. Reader, unless you have a partner like mine. Did I tell you, just how lucky I am? Everyday he finds just enough time to tell me his day to day details, listens patiently all of my minute by minute daily summaries, calms down all of my long lists of naggings; how does he do all that, I have no clue – he is my superman J

* I keep realizing that I am fast turning into my mom! I used to often make fun of her for patronizing overtly melodramatic Indian tv serials. These days I enjoy Modern Family, Everybody loves Raymond, Married with Children, The Middle, Dr. Ken – you know basically funnier English versions of exactly what she watches. I have started appreciating and understanding her from a new perspective, growing up she was my The Supreme Authority of the Universe. Now, I can see her in more lights; feel sympathetic and proud of her. She is more human to me now, but that makes her even more extraordinary, she managed all those superhuman feats for me, inspite of being just a flesh and blood person. How do mothers do that?- the extraordinary affection, extraordinary selflessness, she is still the primary custodian of my happiness. On her watch, no amount of sadness can invade through my heart.

* I have come to appreciate all things classic – books, movies, art, songs whatever I can get hold of. With the coming of age revelation that we are actually not much different from our forefathers, that people were always people, society was always more or less society, it is interesting to understand the intricacies and highlights of the ages gone by.  It is important to keep evolving and resisting the negative side effects of our civilized modern day society, but I have to tell you Mr. Reader – it is immensely gratifying to be part of mainstream society. It may not be a very politically correct statement, but I am just telling you my thoughts borne out of my own experience. Going to Paris was a disaster, I felt myself displaced speedily from the comfort of mainstream society. Yes HEC is good and I will always be proud of my degree, but what I went through on personal level was not at all enviable. I was really on my own, I completely neglected learning any French, I never understood what people talked around me, I worked more out of necessity than any passion for my job, I lived alone in studio apartments, desperately searching for a permanent job in a field of my choice, not to mention being single and reeling from an emotionally disruptive breakup. Have you watched Kangana Ranuat starrer Queen, Mr. Reader? I have lived Queen. I have exactly lived the Queen movie except that my trip lasted one and a half years. Not that I am exactly complaining, apart from a solid degree, I now hold  a new found empathy to immigration, language barriers, unemployment, feminazism, and all things non-mainstream society-ish. I am just saying that it is an immense relief to be back in my comfort zone. Exactly who is this God who is scripting my life? After hitting the rock bottom, I am now reviving back to life in Powai of all places, back with my very same ex boyfriend that I had always ever loved so much and working on a job  that I actually enjoy. Life would have been easier if the French one and a half years had never happened, for my life always had the potential of turning out exactly this way even right out of IIT. But then again, life is all about trial and error. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chasing Happiness

I am happy Mr. Reader. Yes, I am. My boyfriend has told me that if I repeat something to myself often enough, my brain will start believing any crap I say to it. So well, best bet is to tell it that I am happy.  But happiness has always been elusive, hasn’t it Mr. Reader? There is always a little better to do, a little better to have.

Sometimes I feel that we all are just particles performing Brownian travels inside a viscous fluid of emotions. You bump into other particles like yourself, there are forces governing the macro statistics of the group like the economy, the fed rate hikes, social rules etc. and there is yet your own individual path too. You walk your path alone inside this maze of complex fabric of space, time and emotions. You float in and out of the happiness fields, anger fields, all the good thoughts and all the bad thoughts.

Well Mr. Reader as you can see I don’t really have a concrete topic or event I want to write about this time. So pardon the jibber jabber. It’s just, well it was never about you Mr. Reader anyway. I write to expel and dish out over flowing thoughts on top of my head. Right now, suddenly my life has stabilized. I have set into a routine, a routine challenging enough every day and yet comforting enough with its repetitiveness. I have a job now Mr. Reader. And I have a boyfriend too, actually my lovely ex back in my life. You know what Mr. Reader I have struggled too bad to have just this right mix of life. Life is in the goldilocks stage for me, touch wood.  Of course there is no reason for me to be complacent; I am just a novice beginner anyway...

Being in a long distance relationship gives you a good amount of time to think and reflect every day. You learn to embrace your individuality, get comfortable under your own skin and learn to keep yourself happy and entertained. Being a good girlfriend is an uphill task mind you. I have realized that I cannot make him the commander of my happiness, it’s a burden enough to manage one’s own happiness as it is, I can’t guilt trip him to always all thetime look after mine too! I think girls love to nag, I know I do! I love to complain to him about everything under the sun and I love to be served happiness on a platter by him. Maybe it’s evolutionary I don’t know – but I swear there is SO MUCH fun in nagging him. But being a good girlfriend means to drop out nagging, and also not being possessive, and not being jealous, oh the list is never ending. Urgh!

Everyday before sleeping, I dissect my various thoughts and struggle to keep myself functional and promise myself that I am happy. Sometimes science helps. Isn’t it amazing how much we have discovered about our universe and how little things have changed on the ground level? We can now explain so many scientific mysteries and yet we are still cocooned under the very same old pursuits of love, happiness and power. I will leave you Mr. Reader with some grappling thoughts, every day science really that I use to escape from the constant cycle of pain and pleasure that my neurons engage in as part of keeping me alive:

* Remember as kids we fantasized about stars, about fairies who lived up in the sky on one of your favorite twinkling diamond stars? Well guess what? You already do live in the sky. Your planet is just a similar heavenly body, twinking just as pretty in the night on some Martian’s horizon. You live in the stars too! You have already touched someone else’s sky!

* We are all fully capable of handling pressure, we are creatures of evolution. We are all part of the great lineage of survivors. Our genes have survived a few ice ages, meteor attacks, Cambrian explosion, and biological arms race. Our genes were once part of horrific and merciless Nature, we have evolved from gigantic sea monsters and killer land predators. Homo sapiens sapiens were once one of the most vulnerable preys. Imagine the time before even stone age, before they even thought about fire or weapons, how in the freaking hell did we ever survive even an hour on planet earth some many thousands of years ago? Life in the jungle? No medicines? No house? No social friends? No killer claws, nothing oh dear Lord, it’s almost as if the maths doesn’t fit in! And yet it happened. We made it through that. So well if my genes once survived through dinosaur attacks, I can surely survive a few decades in office, can’t I?

* We are all freaking blind! Light is nothing more special than other electromagnetic waves, it just so happened that evolution employed a particular bandwidth to get ahead in the biological arms race of survival. It’s just a photosensitive device, our eye! And our stupid brain creates an image and fools us and makes us imagine all the literally colorful details. All our everyday travel along the emotional dimension is just part of our brain’s elaborate evolutionary gimmicks. Don’t let the everyday madness get the better of you J Oh yes, and the very last moral of the story- you are happy. Promise yourself that every day J

Friday, August 7, 2015

Groundhog Day Simulation

It’s always the very finest feeling to meet you, Mr. Reader. How I love confiding in you the little secrets of my heart! Speaking to you feels like being in a confession box, and our unbroken monologue offers me the luxury of being vulnerable.  “Luxury”, because everyday reality is so demanding, accepts so less a margin of error; it makes me wonder if our generation’s lifestyle was designed for humans at all!

Slowly my new work routine is consuming me. Sometimes it feels like being trapped into Groundhog Day movie – I think planet Earth’s spinning is spinning my mind too! Time is flying, Mr. Reader, time is flying mind bogglingly fast. Hey- it’s- just-Monday-11:00 a.m.-oh-no-no-look again-it’s-Thursday-6:00 pm already! Time is running faster and quicker all the time. It only stops to catch its breath when I start to miss my boyfriend. It always feels ages since our last date.

And during those brief spells in a day when I am not fussing about either my work or personal worries, I often spot myself consuming crazy variety of information- FB feeds, blog pages, magazine articles, and viral videos. Blame the Smartphone colonization of the planet! But it’s dizzying, you feel like compulsive sponges of information- all the time you just absorb information (most of which just makes you feel like a worthless life form  not good enough to be consuming Oxygen off the planet). Most of media news is hopelessly grim and disturbingly provoking- maybe half the Indians catch high blood pressure problems from daily consumption of Times of India articles. Add to that the constant glamour of FB feeds- ok I get it- everyone is either taking a vacation, getting a promotion or getting married.

I think I have to stop now, I really want to go on, keep writing and blurting out thoughts off my heart, but Groundhog Day wins! Its 3:15 am and I am already 2 hours behind my sleeping time, I gotta sleep! Good Night Mr. Reader. Happy upcoming Saturday Hangover to you.

Friday, June 19, 2015

I love big books and I cannot lie!

Reading is a consuming hobby, Mr. Reader. I find reading a very intimate experience. Often a book becomes a window to the soul of the author. A good book sometimes draws all your heart into it. You laugh and cry with the ups and downs in the stories. And sometimes, very rarely, a wonderfully great book morphs its fantasy into your reality and reduces the reality of your every day humdrum routine to a bleak background. Many a times I have found my moods involuntarily syncing to the stories in an ongoing book, like a chameleon camouflaging into its surroundings.

I am not however a typical book nerd – I cannot read everything; I cannot read something having merely encountered it. I have not read many a famous classics and must reads. I have often tried forcing myself to it, challenging the limits of my self discipline, and I have more often than not failed myself. I simply cannot read a Shakespeare (there, I said it). I have tried but the old English is too alien for comfort. I cannot even read half the contemporary bestsellers – Umberto Eco, Jeffrey Archer, Danielle Steel, or uh-G.R.R, Martin (yes, I gave up on Game of Thrones, ah there, I said this too!!); I love an Agatha Christie but I fumble painfully halfway through a P.G. Wodehouse. But when a book rhymes with me, oh what a wonderful feeling that is! Like you have found a companion, a very familiar companion, like you have found a tiny piece of your soul.

Some books have stayed with me, like memories of special dates-forever to be remembered and enjoyed in the space of my mind. Harry Potter, Pillars of the Earth, Elizabeth’s Women, A House for Mr. Biswas, – I think the list of my favorites wobbles zig zag through genres.  I think so far I have read around 150 novels (I cannot but suppress a faint smirk). But that’s the catch- the more you read, the more you know how much you haven’t read. And it is always the most humbling experience to enter a book store-as if the hundreds of unread books were judging you like the portrait-headmasters in Dumbledore’s cabin. 

A library or a good bookstore feels like a vast palace garden- rich in the pleasures to be explored. I think everyone has a list of books – books you have already read, books you pretend to have read (but have only made through its first quarter), book you have secretly read (and cannot publicly confess so), books you want to buy, books you want to read, books you don’t want to read, and of course a list of books that you haven’t even heard of. 

I fancy that one day I would write a book myself. I found an amazing idea in a book I read, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hours bookstore, where the story has a group of people who all write a book each about all things they learnt in life, and the books’ safety is guarded more carefully than even the life of the people who wrote it. I think I would want to write such a book too- just one big fat book, and pour all my heart into its pages, and reveal all that I have ever felt and learnt.

P.S. >>
Actually Mr. Reader I have currently laid my hands on Shantaram-a-what-a-what-a-what-a-book! Amazing, just amazing- I have only yet finished the first few chapters of it, but I am already drowned deep in Shantaram’s world. I think I will write a new blog soon- quoting some lines from the book- for the pleasure of reading is sometimes too much to have all by yourself!  Stay tuned, Mr. Reader  J

Friday, May 29, 2015

Settling Down

Finally the storms have calmed down Mr. Reader, at least for now. It is an immense relief to not be unemployed anymore. I have moved back to India, to my ever favorite Aamchi Mumbai. I have also reunited with my ex.

Life, though, continues to be as challenging as ever. I think life is like Kaun Banega Crorepati, as time goes by you win some benchmark rewards, get assured of some minimum takeaway success, but to win more you must face tougher problems. Sure I am not jobless now, but it means I must slog every single weekday (at least). Sure I have my boyfriend back, but it also means taking care of one more person’s happiness apart from mine. What is humbling amidst this self-centered race for survival is to realize how almost everyone must face the very same trials and tribunals of life. We are all humans, divided by geographies and cultures, but united by the common shitty survival-of-the-fittest contest.

Isn’t it amazing that we can read and comprehend almost every single novel ever written? I think books are particularly amazing because of this regard- they can place us in the shoes of anyone and everyone-from wizards to sociopaths. And we can relate, we can replicate and imagine all kinds of emotions of just about any character. I think that is because each one of us is a little bit of everyone of us. We all glide through similar maze of feelings everyday – desire, determination, doubt, faith, lack of faith, shame, intellection, fear – like sailors over the same sea.

Sometimes I wonder if it is really possible for anyone to desire anything beyond love, family and wealth. Instantly I argue to myself; knowledge. Yes, knowledge is our only hope, our only means to achieve the three fold desires of the heart. Sometimes knowledge supersedes its role as a means and becomes an end goal in itself. Maybe that is the beauty of the human mind- its desire for knowledge, its quest for philosophy. Every generation has asked the same questions, the same fundamental hows and whys about the physical reality. Sometimes it worries me endlessly:  what is the nature of this universe, is there a Master Creator, what is the nature of time, what is the nature of mind, what is perception and so on. I think our day to day struggles are very interesting, for although they consume us, they are so intriguing that you cannot help but realize that there is something amiss; that there is bound to be a bigger conspiracy, a bigger reality and that our minds are constantly being fooled all the time. Evolution is also very interesting. Our mind is equipped to sail us safely over our daily seas of emotions, our perception is adapted to focus and comprehend only those things that ensure the survival of our specie.

Another thing that fascinates me is- courtesy and manners, the social dictates. Whoever designed our societies were geniuses. To lay down the fabrics and rules of society is sheer amazing. Albeit we all shift the rules around as per our convenience, I don’t think we have shaken the foundations much ever. Get born, growup, learn, become an adult, contribute to the society, care for elders, seek love, reproduce, nourish the young ones, be taken care of and finally bid farewell to the world. Each milestone of life has its own challenges; I don’t know how we all retain our sanities even midway through. Perhaps the ingenuity of courtesy! European Medieval History is another one of my obsessions. I think life in those times was obviously much more challenging (how did people ever survive without internet for instance). But Mr. Reader, don’t you delight in English courtesies? Gentle manners, respectful words, symbolic gestures, formalities, I think they are all like the skin on our bodies. Without it we would be shockingly ugly albeit fully functional people. Social manners help us control our minds, like leashing our inner demons.

Love unleashes. Being together with one singular person, emotionally if not necessarily physically all the time, slowly cuts through the chains of courtesies. I think I act completely uncivil with my boyfriend. All formalities break down and melt into a singular cauldron of gigantic human emotions. Is love meant to be comforting? I think I hurt him all the time. I don’t think I am much ever rude to anyone else; it is a singular privilege of my Prince Charming.

And then I ask myself- am I happy? Of course! I love my job and.. Have you ever spoken to my boyfriend? Ah Mr. Reader, I am the luckiest woman ever! :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Paris Taught Me:

Mr. Reader! Guess who is returning home to India after hold-your-breath: 15 long months in Paris? So apart from cooking pasta boxes and saying bonjour, merci , au revior and gasping at the Eiffel what else has Paris taught me?:

*I always knew who I am and what I want to be, what I like and what I don’t like; Paris taught me - who I really am, what I really want to be, what I really like and what I really don’t like
*I can wear skirts and sense freedom; only to be trapped in an inescapable cycle of make-up, manicure et al.
*I can live independently and away from everyone I had ever known; only if I learn to forge new friendships again
*The gravity of international issues such as immigration and languages; the immense unappreciated security of always being able to return to India
*The richer your surroundings the more courteous people act with you although the path to wealth is fraught with deceit and unkindness
* Music, chocolates and books are the best pain killers
* Love is powerful; so is materialism
*Differences arising out of gender, religion, nationality and education are illusionary; people are people
*I can survive no matter what; an inner spark can quell away any amount of darkness in life    
Umm should better be going now; you know literally!

PS: Love you Paris!!! à bientôt! India, home here I come! I am starved enough to eat a cow (oopss)!