January 30, 2004

Carmanomics

If you look at it, every relationship is not only what you feel towards another person, but also what you think the other person feels towards you. So, in every relationship we have a minimum of four streams of feelings. And if we consider even that staggering number as a known benchmark, it is a miracle of enormous proportions that so many people find love on this planet and so many different types too. "What type is your love? Oh! Type 32? Lovely! I know at least four others who belong to Type 32."

The worst type of relationships to be in are ones where there is no quid pro quo. You are in it for reasons that you cannot list. Yes, it is that 'feeling' again. And any attempt to verify it by predictable, sane or impartial behaviour is, I should warn you, destined to meet with certain failure. And no sir, this shop does not take back broken goods. Which is why it is hard to reclaim it. After all, there is only a 'feeling' that is involved. That gone, there is nothing to fall back on. And that is why it hurts the way it does. C'mon, the emperor did not get a refund after he realised he was strutting around in the buff, so why should you?

On the other hand, ones where there is a quid pro quo is a situation of bliss like one of those Japanese cars. As long as you fill it with petrol, give it the regular service shop run, it will run all day, every day. "Give me fuel, I give you reliability" (Insert drum roll and trumpet call here). Tell you what, from that perspective, growing up and 'maturing' in life must be something like giving up on dreams of owning a Ferrari without having to take care of the bills. Dumb it down, stop hopping down stairs, stop sliding down the hand rails. Look ma, I grew up finally!

You might say, though, that we should not judge an outcome before it actually arrives, all it requires is for you to persist with the intent. But intent does not quite sanitise the outcome. Case I) X kills Y in self-defence ; Case II) X kills Y with an intent to kill. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, regardless of the intent, the outcome is murder in both cases. And away from murderous intentions, it is often possible to factor in probable outcomes and once that is in place, the futility of the intent becomes all too apparent, as I have been finding in the past days.

Sometimes, when you search frantically for that elusive thread that would give you at least one count of validation, what gets lost is the fact that it amounts to nothing. It takes a while before it sinks in that your numbers were wrong, even worse when you know that you always knew it was wrong. And the most ridiculous bit is that you were a willing accessory to your own murder, with complete knowledge of the intent. Regardless, the seasons change, birds get back to making out once the flu goes away that is, the strokes deliver babies again and in general, life goes on.

You know, we spend so much time on communicating or at least trying to achieve that as an end. Still, so much of that time is spent either on telling precisely what another person wants to hear. The amount of predictable reactions is simply amazing. Give out a smile, two greetings and three good words in a row and we can all live in a perfect world. But it can't be all that complicated, right? We do not need to have all this mumbo jumbo about numbers, validation and crap. Yeah right, like you ever get to own Ferraris without the bills. Is it any wonder that the Japs rule the car market these days?

P.S: Congrats to the crew there. Pretty nice bit of work for a first issue with the budget and other constraints.

January 28, 2004

Surrender

I laughed for the first time in so many days today. Now, you might wonder what is there so much to be written about a guy laughing. You might even wonder if it is one of those "I bathed my dog today after 25 days" blog entries. But, but, but, what you cannot be is to be me and understand the value of that laughter, how precious it is to find that after god-knows-how-long spent in trying to figure out what the hell is the whole point to your existence. You can call it alcohol-induced, you can call it lunatic, you can call it any damn thing you want, but you cannot understand how much this laughter means to me.

To understand it better, you need to be in a position where you want to cry your heart away, for no reason. Well, there are reasons, but for convenience's sake we won't get into all that. And even then you cannot cry. Why? Because if you break down, you want to break down where you'd be taken care of, for an instant, for a few instances, for a few minutes, for any measure of time. Now, that luxury not being there, and there being bills to pay, pretences to keep up, what you are left with is laughter, not the sardonic, sadistic, self-mutilating laughter, but one where the simplest of things defeat you, where the most complicated of approaches don't even leave a scratch.

To understand it better, you need to know the value of the proverbial last straw, you should know how much value a stranger's unwarranted smile encapsulates, when there is not a single, not a single fucking goddamn reason to live. That is when you retrace your steps, that is when you start being grateful, being grateful for the tiniest littlest things. Things like you can still remember who you are, what your name is and what you should be doing in a day. Now, you cannot understand that, can you? I am sure I must have hit at least 7 your Richter scale of insanity. Did I break the previous mark? Haanh, haanh?

If there is anything that has stood by me through all these years, it is work. Hell, no one can complain if you work too much. You want to work on your off days too? Great! The lad is hard worker. The lad is a go-getter. No one will tell anyone that the lad is fucking loser and that this is the only thing that makes sense for him. Work is a low-maintenance spouse. Imagine getting paid for keeping a wife. No, we are not talking dowry here. But yeah, I owe it a damn lot and it has stood by me when nothing else would. Progression of the career path is inversely related to the progress in the personal life. Strange ain't it? Not really, it is just a case of two prostitutes making out and later paying each other. A case of equal opportunity costs.

But why? We all start from the same lovelorn look on two people's faces and end in the same pot of ash, gutter or even under that bit of earth, if we are lucky. Well, I do not know. Sue me, but I just have no fucking idea. Not that you have a lot to gain from suing me, but I honestly do not know. What stops me from being a conformist? Pride? Ego? I just do not know, there is not a lot of either left within me, it is only, actually, a feeling of deja vu. If macro does not make sense, the micro should? Nopes, it does not, that is when you run of of space to run. Where to, when, why?

That, is when you start picking at each thread in the fabric of life. To see what each thread means. Lucky you, you did find at least a few hundred meters of worthy yarn there. Me? I am still searching for mine. The past has different shades, textures and feel depending on the person you talk to. The present is a tangled mess and the future is where one needle steadfastly refuses to dance with the other. What if the present is really abstract? What if it is picture-perfect and I lied to you? What if I knitted a nice sweater and showed you what was left of the yarn? A tangled mess.

Fooled ya! I fooled ya'all! There is nothing there. My life is just a set of constructs that belong a number of people I have no definite count of. I exist only as an entity of opinion in a few peoples' mind, beyond that there is nothing. In them I search for myself and when I cannot find it, I get lost. And this is one of those times where I cannot find myself. I cannot find the answers for what I am supposed to feel, know and realise. I roughly know what it should all be with relation to another. But just for myself? I have no idea. Can you imagine that? Well, you really can't. That degree of idiocy is really very singular.

I am tired of bracing, the oft-repeated drills leading towards survival. Hello, it was not meant to be this way. Where did it all go wrong? Or is it that I am the only one right, in a world of wrong. Wake up! Who am I trying to kid? It is not possible. The world is right, I am wrong. Where do we discuss the terms of surrender? Where do we sign the terms of submission? How many of my beliefs would you leave unharmed, how many would you slaughter? At the end of the day, it was all rather uneventful, not much was said about it and the only pre-condition was that someone please make Madonna stop walking in her music videos!

January 21, 2004

Process

Rationalisation. The process by which we attempt to make the unfamiliar and unacceptable, both familiar and acceptable. You cannot manage it? Try harder, think it over a million times if need be. Hidden among all those things is your elusive explanation that would give a it flow, fit things into a pattern and even if you were in the wrong, make it a justifiable wrong. Aha! There. Gotcha! You were right all this while, were you not?

Recollection. The first step towards rationalisation. Work your way backwards towards the cause from the effect. To put it more precisely, towards a more plausible and acceptable effect. Geeks call it disassembly, the meek call it hindsight. Read a novel from the last page towards the beginning, give things colours that the author never intended to give. You knew it all the time. I know, you told me so.

Confusion. The part where the wheat and the chaff find they are in conjugal bliss before they are separated at the sieve of the first R. Fact looks like fiction, fiction looks like fact. This heady orgy is a journey of ecstasy, pain, joy, confusion, anger and disappointment. The ecstasy of detachment, of a lumbering part severing, the joy of an anticipated separation, the impulsive pain and anger of loss, finally, the disappointment of nothing having changed.

Realisation. The eradication of the latency between it happening and knowing what happened. Rubbing the eyes as hard as possible and the search for an exit button from the unwanted dream having failed, this is the first of the bitter medicines. It cures, eventually. The course needs to be followed religiously. It is only a mild from of reconciliation, socially more accepted too. No noticeable side effects. Can't you see the first R in the distance?

Desolation. The island of misery where the unfortunate come to roost. A land beyond the reach of any R, C or any other letter. There is only the ocean of misery filled that is refilled over and over again by the tears of the unfortunate. Every unfortunate has a rivulet of tears that runs from him till the ocean of misery. Every teardrop asks a simple question for which there is no answer, simple or otherwise. The unfortunate are destined to keep crying forever.

Postcards

Given a choice what would you pick, an out-and-out lie or a sugarcoated lie? What do you do when you have run like hell to escape that feeling and still, at the end of the day, you can see it rising before the setting sun, like a silhouette. Your legs are weary, you have no idea where you are and the whole world speaks a language in which you can do anything but express yourself. Sweet irony. Bittersweet irony. No, just bitter irony.

Capitulation finally? What to? What more can you be branded with? What difference does a dozen more make when your body is already riddled with a million barbs? But, wait, do not touch even one of them. It is much easier to live (sweet, bittersweet, just bitter irony again) when the wounds drain the life out at its own desired pace. It is much easier to not know whose barb it was. Close your eyes and the pain is almost not there.

Open eyes, the wounds follow. Don't you cut a despicable sight? Laugh, laugh more and laugh harder. Make yourself a joke, make yourself the subject of ridicule, let that collection box of accusations fill, fling yourself on the ground, stamp on it, jump in with the crowd, make merry and laugh. Laugh so much that you can lie later that those were tears of joy. It was funny, was it not funny? I thought it was. It was, I am telling you. But I can't tell you how much it hurts. Is that not funny?

An interlude is a period between compositions or within a composition. An interlude is time-off from degrees of perfection, routine and predictability. Interlude is you, me and you. An interlude lacks finesse, dedication, attention to detail and any sort of investment. It is only an interlude after all. An interlude is remembrance's illegitimate child who belongs only to the gutter. And I am your favourite interlude.

It's like the difference between a picture postcard and the real place. It never matches up and with every disappointment hope takes a beating. Eventually, you will be just about prosperous again to afford another of those expensive smiles and trudge on till another of those postcards arrive. But what is all the fuss about, it was only a silly postcard after all and no one takes them seriously. Do you? At least I do.

January 12, 2004

Reborn

On days like these thoughts of any kind refuse to cross over to my mind. Kick it, coax it, choke it, still the mind just refuses to feel anything, entombed its cozy phlegmatic womb. I have a task at hand which requires more than just thoughts, it requires original thought. The harder I grapple, the faster it slips, till I find my unwilling refuge in the blank 'I'll bite you' look, presented like a rattlesnake's warning to the outside world.

Late afternoon and the road to the market has lines of some kind running along its length till the eye can see. We jostle and snarl in search of supremacy derived from our respective internal combustion mechanisms. Red to green we go and till the next red we race. Few more turns and the market lines up far ahead in my vision, the crowd is way too large, there is hardly any space to park, after my customary bout of indecision I make my way out of there.

Many of these places have changed a lot in the past months, not that I did not notice the change, just that I did not bother to look. Places are so much like people. As the greyness starts to put on a darker shade, I park by the side of one of our favourite joints. It is strange how I have come to doing so many things by myself. If stag entry was not such a huge issue at most places I'd have even tried dancing alone. Not a pretty sight, I agree, but who cares.

Maybe the outside was much more cheerful than in here. I have nothing to read as I wait for the food to arrive and when it finally does I realise yet again that the anticipation was tastier than the real food. Somehow, it never measures up. I do not know why my tonsils feel as if someone has been filing at it for a long time. Which is fair enough considering the state I was in on Friday night, I could have been thrown down from a tower and still not known what happened.

Back home and then the walk to the multiplex in the neighbourhood to see if my luck would hold with a late evening movie. FULL. Hands in jacket pockets, I make my way back home once again and the bookshop sucks me in as I am reminded of something. Thankfully, it is not as well-stocked as it could have been. I pick Kundera's Immortality and another one. I do not know what I am going to have for dinner, but I do know what I am going to read.

As another spring approaches, the old tree spreads its branches in anticipation of the new flock that would eventually take shelter, till they are done with the nesting for the year, before they take away to far away lands, never to be seen or heard from again. Save the odd case, this year has been good, the flock is hale and hearty, with strong wings and cheerful hearts. What can the tree complain about when the season is over? It is only fated to stand till its eternity.

You know, it feels like some sort of dialysis. New replaces the old, for a life that seldom amounts to much. It is only the last few ounces of resistance that the body is experiencing now. There is no point fighting a life that is being drained out, there is nothing that prevents it, there is nothing that wants it. Fleeting images, cries and questions turn more incomprehensible, a muffled last gasp, new blood flows into a numb body. I am reborn and you are history.

Still, every passing hour leaves its mark. As the grain of sand slips from under the feet, the message of your own ineffectiveness is profoundly reflected in everything. What you do not have becomes more and more apparent, what you have is only worth a fleeting indulgence. No one will take your hand and dare to dream. Eventually, ordinariness takes over everything. Is it a rapidly spreading disease or is it just my extravagant dementia?

In just a matter of hours another day will begin, one that I'd approach with renewed vigour and whatever I have left in my little bag of hope. When I walk out of my door I'd see the sun shining bright, I'll tell myself it is okay, even if no one understands I can always tell my story to myself. Even if no one else would walk to the edge, I'd still walk all the way there and stand there alone till the day my legs fail me. I don't want to stop, ever.

January 11, 2004

Image

When you have finished looking all around you and come upon a face in the mirror that scares the life out of you, what do you do? Do you run? Do you stand your ground or do you just give up?

January 03, 2004

Scribble

A pen. That is the first thing of any significance that I bought in this year. After two chaotic Decembers, I wanted this one to be different and it indeed was. Actually, there have never been any new year resolutions for me. I am a high-maintenance individual. So, changes, significant and insignificant, are something that is very routine. Coming back to the pen, I am rediscovering the joys of writing on paper, like I am rediscovering the joys of reading real books than just text on the screen. This reminded me that I should try and write when I am cheerful too, I have no obsession with melancholy, it is quality that is the impediment.

Separation is much easier to achieve in action than it is in thought. Which is why we persist in things that hurt us even after it has stopped being of any benefit to us. If you put the separation in thought up ahead, the action in real almost never follows. There should be a qualitative change, positive or negative, from anything that we do, life is way too short to be wasted on languishing. A lot of people think being brave is to be a soldier who faces up to the enemy or someone who overcomes a disability, but even just surviving often takes a lot of bravery, to take blow after blow in your stride and still keep on living, often without an aim or a destination.

I do not think I will ever know the answer for the questions regarding where I am headed. With time I have learnt to live with that uncertainty in my own weird way. But I have also understood that I need to stop doing things if I do not feel like doing them and spend more time and energy on doing things that would be of some value to me, independent of everything else, and be of some use than just being a good worker ant. Luck has played a huge role than ability in where I am today, but I do not want to walk way from it just because of that. I want to do the best I can with it. Sadly, luck is not transferrable.

Relationships. The lesser said about them the better. But I also feel that we (or I?) spend too much time and effort trying too hard to dissect them. I have been discovering that it is way much easier to slot them into simple categories like like/dislike to deal with them. And also accept it that people move on, just like you have moved on from so many. It is only natural that the same happens to you. What happens to certainty then? Well, I have no clue. It is more important for me to be there, even for just 5 minutes, when it matters and certainty is a determent to it. Maybe I'd find my own ground someday, but for now I am too much in love with the vagabond in me.