November 23, 2003

Hogwash

Every system has a finite set of terms of references, or we could even call it an interface, that enables elements within the system to interact again with a finite set of objectives. The objectives could vary from cooperation, to the opposite where you do agree not to cooperate and fail in a graceful manner or even mutual neglect. The success of the system is entirely dependent on how well one can compress the maximum number of possible terms of reference into the minimum number of symbols, signs or anything else you can choose to call it.

Even if the world functions in a strictly non-binary way, I could wake up feeling 'slightly' more happy than what I woke up yesterday, the end result is always strictly binary, I could only have woken up happy or sad. Even vague is slotted into either. Ultimately, how successful you are in a system is entirely dependent on how well you can converse naturally using the terms of reference. Natural is important here because when things are pushed to the specific nothing is binary, every instance differs, so you should not have the time to think. You can only believe.

If you cannot believe, then we have a problem, rather big one at that. Because how do you know what you see is what another sees. What is orange other than a word that represents something of a certain colour, as agreed to by the majority. That way orange could even be yellow and still be the same if enough of us willed it. But that is another story. In the same way, like representations, relationships too require you to believe. We function based on these beliefs labelled into finite categories and if you do not believe, tough luck, you lose.

In a lot of ways, the things that we keep close are often the thing that pulls us farthest. We are scared. Systems do not react well to non-binary infusions and if you are not willing to take the risk of walking on the edge, it is very likely that you would end up freaking out over a system totally clueless as to how to react. The interface does not have a term of reference. Abort, Retry, Fail? The nature of the way the system is designed ensures that such instances are minimalised with a possible nearest match to a finite term available as close as possible. Failsafe? No. Graceful failure? Yes.

That is why we look for signs to tell us that we are not alone, that there is a greater purpose to what you cannot make sense of. Often, our failure to fit things into a known context leads us to look for greater or alternative meanings and agendas that makes it all sensible. You could thus be communicating with people on other planets or live in hope of having a greater truth or purpose to your life explained to you at some point in the future, just because your immediate context does not make sense. This was not the way it was not meant to be.

Thus interpreted, destiny or fate is not what is slated to happen, but what is core to you that you always sidestep. Or alternatively, it is what you believe in at the core than what is peripheral. It is the eventual finite term that you lock yourself into, be it in terms of career or your normal life. One is always either a "great doctor", "a good father", "a funny person" , the list can just go on. If you do not believe, you are either cast out under other broad terms like crazy or if you are smart, you fit into the fringe, just under the limit that tips the scales over the permissible margin of error.

November 18, 2003

Quizzical

I have run out of things to write about. No, this is not yet another of those "shutting this blog down" thingies. Just feel this journal has become so singular in tone that if you put in a bit of effort, you can almost predict what the next metaphor is going to be. In the three years it has existed, this journal has meandered from being a place to experiment with some fancy technology to an endless whining session in different metaphorical shades. I just do not have anything left to write about.

Over the period of its existence, it has evoked various reactions. People who have known me for real first and then read the stuff here always find it impossible to believe that I can come up with such depressive things. And people who have known me through the journal first are almost always shocked to know that I am capable of laughing even. But the truth is that the words here have often described things that I'd not tell most people in person, only that it is always well hidden.

You know, there has never been any earth-shattering happenings in my life. It has often been little, minute things that you or anyone else might have gone through. Nor am I blessed with a unique or wide enough perspective to see things differently from most others. So I often end up wondering, what do the 30 - 40 odd people who visit this place keep coming back for almost every day? I am not complaining, I am very grateful, still I cannot help but wonder, don't you get bored?

I have always lived my life facing up to my fears, always trying to push the envelope a bit further. In doing that I have walked in shoes that are larger than my size, worn clothes that would fit me and another of my own size and made my thoughts look as if they were of some great significance. In the end, it is all about the same little things, love, loss, pain, desolation and any other thing you can name.

Now I do not even understand why I did all that. Even in different sizes the world still looks the same. The only difference is that I have procured a fancier vocabulary, the lack of understanding is still the same. I could wax eloquent, but I'd be only serving the same tripe on finer silver. Somehow I am choking on things to say, but I do not want to utter even a single word. Expressionless, purely functional, will I pass? Do we have a deal here? Say yes, say no. Who is even asking you?

I've been down on the bottom of a world full of lies

I ain't looking for nothing in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there
Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan

November 09, 2003

Hindsight

With another day slowly winding down and with time gently slipping away from me, I sit down, think and wonder, again, what would I like to be remembered as. And the answer has not changed from the last time I had asked myself. I would not want to be remembered at all. Even though death is not something that I look forward to nor am I suicidal in the least, I would be happy when it finally happens. It would mean the end of such a long sentence for me. It would finally be over.

For all my protestations, I know only too well that I am the one who makes my own life the most difficult thing on earth. I have gotten very few things in life right, I do not even think I have made a difference anywhere, most I have done is to just about contain the damage, from my actions, to myself and to others. But I cannot help it, that is the way I am, I have gone too far to ever change from all that. This is my path, be it lonely, it is just mine to walk and walk it I shall.

Two days of time off work has finally given me the time to lay back and take stock, to what it all amounts to. Other than for the selfish takes, there is nothing of any reasonable degree of sincerity within me. The flurry of posts only reflect a part of the chaos. I have made the best of whatever little that was given to me and it amounts to nothing. That is minus all the bravado and the fancy words you see here. I find myself totally clueless as to where I take this all now.

All this gets even more hypocritical and awesomely funny when I ask people near me to take care of themselves and to go easy. Soapboxes of the world unite, you only have my grand mindblowingly boring speeches to look forward to. For a long while I thought, as I ran from one destination to another, that this was a time-limited aberration. But it is not and that realisation is slowly dawning on me. Suddenly all the glamour vanishes, the walls close up and the sentence drags on.

Potpourri

This must be the longest that my journal has gone without a facelift and my blogroll has pretty much stayed the same from the early days when there was some kind of joy to be derived from maintaining it. I hardly use it anymore to keep track of the sites that I read regularly. And my reading list has changed so vastly that I prefer to use the favourites drop down in my browser and that very evil RSS aggregator to get my daily textual fix.

The key to maximising the value of time spent reading on the Internet is to identify points of aggregation that suit your needs. Doing that saves me a whole lot of time from having to trawl through numerous news sites for a ratio of information to junk that might often be as low as 1:10. But sites that provide only links do not interest me, it has to have commentary and participation, so that I can concentrate on possible alternatives when the norm is more than well accounted for.

And that is the beauty of the Internet for information junkies like me. And if you do not know what information junkies are, they are people like me who obsessively read almost every mail header to see which route it took to reach them or even what a system that relayed the mail is called. Armed with the treasure trove called as Google and the invaluable view source button, there is such a lot to be discovered and read out there. But I digress.

My normal reading is a mix of News (Google News, Samachar), Technology (Sam Ruby, Mark Pilgrim, Kottke, The Register, Slashdot, The Inquirer), political weblogs (Calpundit, DailyKos, Tacitus, Atrios), books (Guardian Books) and a handful of personal weblogs. Of particular value to me are the political blogs that has pretty much eliminated the need for me to read most of the media from the US, same goes for the sideblogs at Mark and Kottke's.

Which brings me to a recent post by Tacitus. It is funny how even as person who is politically oriented more towards left of centre I value and enjoy the posts and commentary at his blog, which is more right leaning than a leftie home base like DailyKos. The post in question reinforces my belief about how easily I form the wrong opinions about people I would have no clue about.

The post is also a sad reflection on how even in this so called global village we are meandering further from each other as normal, simple people. After so many wars and strife we are still so distant from going beyond ideology to see the human being behind every action. It is alarming to see people dying being talked of as "cost" that will have to be paid and how it is acceptable for a group to subdue another in the name of freedom or safely. Is this the best we could have done?

One benefit of being in the media is that you learn to listen to people than to talk all the time and I honestly get alarmed by the hawkishness that is thrown about by most people of my generation and the ones that are younger. These are people who have never seen suffering, other than on television, in life. As a generation, most of us have never had the misfortune of having gone through a famine or a large-scale war, the worst we could recollect would be not having a television or something similar.

It is always necessary to have fringe elements in any system, as much as it is necessary to have elements that would resist any change. It is in the counterbalancing of the two extremes that progress and sanity is to be found. These days the fringe is in the driving seat, with no space for dissent or another opinion. The only way to live is to link your own survival to the system's survival and that is how bad it is.

Thaw

The seasons of change are falling upon me again. Things won't be the same again after this. It is like the cycle of life, only that this one is a minor cycle within a larger one. Where a set of people, colours, words and memories are dated, labelled and put in their respective boxes of remembrances. In my rare moments away from a lifetime spent on shamefully self indulgent thoughts, I prepare my new arms, resolute in my desire to not make the old mistakes again and get ready to welcome the new.

I must trudge on, I should not be slowed down by the maze of cobwebs which are nothing but the thoughts and memories that trip me. I must not let my lack of purpose, nor the lack of understanding defeat myself. If it is in five seconds of flickering that all the light I have in myself is spent, then I shall yearn to flicker the brightest I can. You might not see it, I might not see it, but the sheer darkness in which I reside does. And it is this darkness that I walk alone even as I light up your way.

I can't wait any longer for the answers, I cannot afford to be disheartened by their unwillingness to acknowledge their own existence. I have put in way too much effort into making an ordinary life to disown it for the lack of extraordinary answers. It is my little house or cards in which I live by myself, I have to learn to love it, for this is the only home that I have ever known. I want no recognition, I want no badge of honour, nor am I too sure if I want love anymore. But I just do not know what I want.

At the risk of making the prose more dreary than what it already is, I can even venture to say I have even come to feign bitterness, I feel old at times, there is just no fight left anymore. Making me feel like the old warrior who is left alive out of pity in the war field, depriving him of the only thing that is rightfully his - a glorious death. But then, there are no wars these days, only miles of endless traffic and polite conversations. This is just a tapestry of music woven in words unheard and feelings never felt, feelings that never die.

Pill Pushers

Now that I have finally watched The Matrix Revolutions, the line "Everything that has a beginning, has an end" almost sounds apologetic in retrospect. The last instalment in the trilogy has unmistakably upset many a fan to no end for various reasons. I too am disappointed, not on the specific count of the movie in itself, but for the fact that the director duo has almost knowingly walked away from a formidable legend status being conferred upon them by winding up the saga in the way they eventually did.

The single point of failure of Revolutions is that it leaves you without much to think about, once outside the movie hall door you can forget almost immediately that you just finished watching something you had been expectantly waiting for such a long time. That is so different from the first which left you winded with the plot and the visuals or the second which left you in a maze of questions and possibilities, with various interpretations oozing from every line and every shot. This one simply leaves you untouched.

Once again, in retrospect, it was sort of inevitable that Revolutions would not have much substance in it. The conclusion was pretty much evident in Reloaded. We had to find a black sheep who would take the fall, so that the franchise could continue on at a later date. And in the process, we lose the excellent Hugo Weaving who plays Agent Smith and Trinity played by Carrie Anne Moss, whose much reduced role is ultimately put to an end, just in the same way her name is shortened to "Trin" by a very subdued Neo.

But I believe the first one will live on as something of a minor legend, not for its heavily borrowed philosophies and taxonomical deftness, nor for the special effects, but for addressing a feeling that is always alive, overt or covert, in every one of us, which boils down to a question of how much are we in control or to what degree is what we define as real, really real? It would have been wonderful if Revolutions blew away everyone like the first one, but that would have been a stroke of genius too many to have expected from the team whose best work till date was the mediocre flick The Assassins.

November 03, 2003

Dividers

And I cannot help but wonder what is it all about. Like the yellow line that escapes from under me, the more I reach out to grasp it, the more I see of it behind and ahead of me. There is almost a sense of delicate beauty about it. Something like, you just keep going, as long as you can pretend, as long as you can hope, that there is a destination at the end of it. But I do not even know whether I am running away from or towards it. The funny thing is, I know, I just do not want to see the obvious.

Seeing the obvious takes the element of class away from you, it strips every thread of fine livery that ever adorned you. It puts you down on earth, vulnerable, susceptible and gullible, to every little breeze that ever touched the surface of the life of mere mortals, all flesh and no skin. It hurts, does it not? To be that vulnerable. To feel each and every miniscule thing to that degree. So then, why should anyone look up to the mirror and analyse the person you see like you analyse the others?

As long as it remains my treasured weakness, my most valued secret, why should it bother me? It is only I who needs to know it, why should I shout it to the whole world? Maybe I need to convince myself of my own ordinariness? Maybe I only like to believe that I admit it and like everything else I am nothing but a show, a play of 12 months of carefully constructed acts woven together thorough seamless scenes spread over pages numbered in weeks. I do flatter myself, only to deceive.

But is there really something beyond all the show? There must be something right? How can so many people live life as they live if it cannot be? Every love cannot be all that ordinary, all relationships cannot be fake. There must be more to things than just conditional attachment or unconditional detachment. What is the golden key to that secret lock? What is it that makes you believe? What keeps you going? What is there in you that I do not have in me? What am I missing out on?

The problem with the obvious is that it is solely dependent on the validity of one's judgement and mine is hopelessly jaded in a million different ways. I cannot often make out if what I believe in is what I really believe in or if it is some convenient assumption that makes my day a bit easier. I am so hopelessly lost most times that I can even laugh about it. Can I point at my own face and ask you, "Have you seen him somewhere?". Now you see why I can laugh about it. Join in, we can make one merry gang.