July 27, 2003

Balance

Why is balance so much of an elusive commodity? After all, what is balance if it is not an act of falling offset by another of the same in a different direction. Since falling comes quite naturally to me, it should ideally not be a big deal. But it is never there, everything is always a bit below the mark or a few inches above. There is either too little emotion or too much of it, too much of dishonesty or too little of honesty. Twenty four years I have run from one end of the seesaw to the other and whatever is left in years for me to spend, looks like will be consumed by the same.

Purpose suffers from the same affliction. There is either too much of it, when things are measured to the last ounce and doled out in requisite quantities for the desired result or there is just too little of it when consequences dreamt of or not suddenly stare you in your face, to be met with the reaction "Where the hell did that come from?". I have seriously been wondering if I should carry a label of "Hazardous Material, Stay Clear" on myself since it does not seem quite possible that I can manage that by myself all the time. Should remember to add the skull and crossbones too.

Kaleidoscope is the object that comes first to my mind when I think of perspective. The same people, the same surroundings, the same relationships. Another blink, another twist of the tube and everything changes all over again. The pieces take almost a sadistic joy in running around, forcing you to change whatever you thought about them till then. Even if you do not want them to move around, they inevitably would end up doing precisely that, you can either choose to swallow your rage and pride and accept it or fight it in vain. Maybe they do not move at all and it is just me?

Your own shortcomings are some of the hardest things to accept in life. Some of them are relative, like not being beautiful or handsome enough, not being intelligent or smart enough or even being not rich enough to get most of the material things that you want in life. And then there are absolute ones, especially ones that fall in the region of the emotional, where the damage is so severe that amputation is the only recourse when even "There must be something that can be done" fails. Then all you wish for is to tell others how beautiful their relative imperfection is compared to your absolute one.

July 21, 2003

Broken Goods

It was easy enough to kill yourself in a fit of despair. It was easy enough to play the martyr. It was harder to do nothing. To endure your life. To wait.

From The Fear Of Flying by Erica Jong.

I have not been away, even though two weeks of silence would say otherwise. I too have been waiting, for what, I have no idea and trying to entertain myself at the same time by attempting to form the million thoughts that fly by into coherent sentences, albeit with very little success.

It is something like walking into an old room full of books and wiping the layer of dust, book by book, only to find that it was not the title you wanted. At the same time you do not know which title precisely is it that you want. The idea is that knowledge, hopefully, would arrive riding shotgun with the next revelation. But reality always begs to differ in mutual exclusion with fantasy.

It used to be hours once upon a time, days later, weeks recently and months now. Units of measuring time for me is so fast losing its significance that it is scary. Time stretches out into the horizon like an ocean, marked by waves of differing magnitudes that one gets to ride. Up, down and even a nasty wipe out at times. Before long, the bane of consistency and predictability surfaces and consumes everything.

I should be scared about how insensitive I have become, about how I seem to keep going no matter what happens, about how it has stopped bothering me, other than a mild academic interest about what might come out of all of this and how this lopsided view has become normal for good. Strangely, especially for paranoid little me, I am not.

The answers do not matter anymore, all I have to offer is a smile, it covers up for so many things, it says so many things without saying anything and the best reason of all, it is easy to learn and comes for quite cheap. It could mean warmth, happiness, contentment or any damn thing that you want to read into it, but for me all it says is "That is the best you can throw at me? You'll have to do better creep, I might be beaten, I might be broken, but I am still standing".

July 07, 2003

The Walk - Part Deux: Massacre of the Slugs

Having spent most of the weekend working out the terms of a tentative truce with an overwhelming attack of exhaustion I could not resist the urge to test the waters again in the morning with a few relaxed and slow rounds in the park. Since I was up from around three in the morning, I set out a bit early and into a world that was still slowly and unwillingly being drawn out of its slumber. I am so reminded of my first day at the day care, so does my mother's saree, I have been told.

The killer argument for the 6 AM walks are solitary sounds, which is a beautiful pleasure unlike the state of affairs an hour before when there are almost no sounds at all, or an hour later when there is just too much of it. It is a sound recordist's dream. A flock of pigeons take to the air startling you with the sudden surge of life and as it dies down the gentle creaking of the newspaper boy's bicycle makes an impromptu appearance at the end of the lane.

And into the main road, which bears no audible resemblance to the veritable cacophony that two schools adjacent to each other conspire to concoct later in the day, where the sounds of a hurried bath taken by the ubiquitous taxiwallah (behind his sad excuse for a bathroom) fills the air. From another by lane an empty school bus stops by letting out a deep air braked sigh, before it turns into the road and I clumsily negotiate the mini-maze of an entry into the park.

Where geriatric men in funny looking khaki shorts, that can barely contain the glee of their considerable potbellies, make even more funnier sounds and swear to defend their faith, among other things. A few yards on, twenty to thirty odd middle aged women and men, mostly barrel-shaped, are bringing their routine yoga session to a close with a prayer on their lips. All this while an odd "squish" or two fills the air every every now and then as one of the joggers runs over yet another unlucky slug.

Meanwhile, the NYT ponders over the question: Are we addicted to information? I sure am more than addicted. When I look back from September 2001 till date the maximum time I have spent without being on the net would be a couple of 24-hour periods. My routine reading includes an average of 4000 - 6000 words at least, that is not counting the 60 - 70 odd news stories that I have to go through every day as a part of my work.

For me this has brought about peculiar kind of reading, reading without actually reading what I am reading. It is just a process where I scan the text for grammatical and formatting errors and be almost totally detached emotionally to what I am reading. While this does allow for fast reading, it is quite mechanical and is nothing more than well practiced pattern matching than actual cognition and assimilation.

Surreal is the word that I would have to use for Maksim Mrvica, the prodigal Croatian classical piano player. It was so mind blowing to listen to his rendition of The flight of the bumblebee from his latest album, The Piano Player, that I dropped whatever I was doing then and just sat and listened. Sad part is that the CD is not available here yet, the happy bit is that he is being pushed by EMI a lot. Hope is lighter than air!

July 04, 2003

Tell me

What is it that holds you together.

July 03, 2003

Epilogue

And thus came the chapter to an end. A short question, an even shorter answer and a final, seemingly understanding "a-haan" is where it gradually came to a close. In one short conversation we had travelled so many miles apart than the many we had covered to come close through so many years. When it came, it was quite peaceful, there was no struggle, the mind had broken free long back, but the heart takes longer.

A search for the appropriate emotion to mark the occasion turns up almost nothing, other than maybe gratitude for having kept me barely alive through many a dark hour. There is nothing significant that tugs deep inside, what it felt like does not survive much other than as faded, blistered pictures in the mind. They too would disappear one day to leave behind an unimpressionable clean sheet bookmarked in time by a few dry and crumpled old flowers.

July 02, 2003

At Four

A while back when I was a much greater mess than what I am now, it somehow got into my head that maybe I should adopt a little girl so that I could lover her with all my heart and never have to let go. It was a pretty serious bit of thought, I had even set a deadline, by which if I still was as aimless in life, I would go ahead and actually do it.

I would never know if it would have worked out at all, since authorities here make adoption next to impossible for even married couples, so you can imagine what kind of luck a bachelor might have had. Practical difficulties apart, the idea was stupid, since I was seeing it as a way out of my problems, my loneliness. I love kids and get along famously with them, but to adopt one is totally different issue, it is not like owning a pet, it is another life, I could not play around with it just on a whim.

The aimlessness is still there, but I am getting used to it. There will most probably be never that one single purpose to chase after, there would never be that singular moment of absolute meaning and sense when I would be bestowed with a golden halo hovering above my head. All I have are moments of ordinariness, strung together by patches of time that are even less ordinary.

Most of the times, life dissected into little periods appear to be nothing more than little games you play with yourself, something to entertain yourself as you do your time here. The familiarity becomes so overwhelming that it becomes almost possible to predict the next deja vu. Then the predictions start to become a game in themselves. The sole purpose gets restricted to keeping score.

A friend once asked me if I would write a book on her. I love her and hate her for what she is, for what keeps her alive also kills her at the same time and I know that feeling only too well. I said no to her, mostly because a book is really biting something more than I can chew and more importantly I did not know her well enough either.

For that matter, does anyone know anything or anyone well enough? I myself have changed so much in the recent past that I would be lying through my teeth if I told you I knew what I was all about. Can that be a criterion in caring for someone? I do not know. All I know is that I just hope everyone takes care of themselves, even if does not make for a spectacular spectacle.