January 28, 2006

Desis Critical

What in dear lord’s name is a ‘superior blogger’? Is it someone who is superior by his/her own admission, or is it a title that is conferred by a select group of pundits, who must themselves be super-superior to confer that title on lesser mortals? Regardless, it is amusing to see blogs taking on more and more mainstream media-like water into their hulls with advertisements pasted all over the pages.

I guess they have ‘costs’ to cover, which surprisingly is a line of reasoning that I attach myself to when I have to answer why the websites of the media companies I have worked for have the same Technicolor advertisements plastered all over them. Actually, I don’t have any issue with any of this, other than the fact that we bloggers don’t like to hold the mirror up to our own faces as much as we love to show it to the others. Do we actually hate our own faces that much?

January 24, 2006

Something Different?

Once the required hours of sleep was dealt with on Sunday, after an all nighter which lasted till six in the morning for a server migration, I proceeded to try and sort out the complicated set of circumstances I have managed to place myself in. Once again, I found myself rambling, spewing forth disjointed streams of consciousness, trying to explain the whys and the wherefores. Actually what happened is unimportant. What is important is one of the disjointed thoughts that crossed my mind, about how most of us have forgotten our dreams or even how to dream and how we have settled down into little predictable and ordinary corners without even realising it. How did we get here?

January 21, 2006

Knotty

On Friday I heard a great thud, one of the many that I have heard recently, of yet another one biting the wedding dust. The number of people I know who are single, and planning to stay in the same slot for a while to come, are rapidly dwindling. I don't have any problems with the ones who have made the progression. More power and all the joy in the world to them, but it is unfair to make us, the ones who still hold out for various reasons, feel like we are some sort of abnormal beings to not want the same or to have the same priorities as others. I would not even drag in my usual "there should be more to life" line here. Even without it, this is just plainly unfair.

But, is the lesser beaten path a real alternative? Can you really exist in this world sans the padded walls of a formally/legally/socially endorsed and certified relationship surrounding you, or are we just deluding ourselves and, like the ones who have made the transition often claim, only biding our time till we sign up for the regular programming? In that wall-less world, there are two possibilities: The first is where you are essentially the lone wolf, living without any long-term commitments, footloose and fancy-free, but always on the edge. The second is the classic live-in set up or even the case where you are married for all practical purposes, but without any of the formal problems associated with an actual knotted situation.

The problem with this logic is that you are naturally assuming that the marriage option is a non-starter or that it is a bad one, which is not really the case. There are other reasons too as to why marriage does not work for some. Speaking for myself, the primary reason is that marriage often brings forth an implicit degree of exclusivity in the relationship. A certain number of feelings (and I am not talking sexual ones here, open marriages are paradises where only fools reside) are not allowed outside of its boundaries as a hard and fast rule, which is based more on mistrust than trust. Additionally, as a person who has major trust issues, there are not many avenues of workarounds available for either problem.

Then there is the issue of validity of the institution of marriage itself. It is tougher these days to stay married than to stay single or attached and unmarried. Almost every couple that I know are having problems (yes, you can justifiably ask who does not have them?) and it harder then to ascertain whether the padded walls actually help in improving the situation or whether they actually end up worsening it. A lot of the problems are swept under the carpet and indiscretions are fine as long as they happen away from the public's view. Everyone admits to problems in hushed tones, but they speak of everything being fine and dandy when they speak in a clear voice. Is there not something wrong about that, or is it just my lone perception that it is just not right?

Why is it not right? Well, for one, an institution like marriage should ideally be built on a lack of pretensions. There should be absolute honesty and clear communication and there should not be the involvement of a gazillion 'experts' on the matter, ranging from relatives to numerous friends, who end up making a mess of even fixable issues. Is marriage not meant to be something very personal -- a celebration of something special between two individuals, than a reflection of the collective will of a group of individuals? In this age and time it should not be too hard to block out the unwanted elements from a relationship. If you can make something that involves factors as tough as the collective will of many work, why is it impossible to make something much simpler work outside the confines of the same padded walls?

Of course, you can rightly accuse me of highlighting only the problems in marriages than the positives, but the same works in the opposite direction too. But somehow the thought of involving hundreds of people in something that is extremely personal disgusts me. Why would I want to have random people commenting on and criticising the handful of people I love and care about, after having spent copious amounts of money and effort into putting up a grand 'celebration'? There is so much more you can do with that money. If you feel charitable, give it away or set up a trust fund. If you want to enjoy it, go on a cruise somewhere or invest it in your own future. But for heaven's sake can't we do this differently?

January 19, 2006

The Edge

To describe the situation accurately, a quote from the Bard's classic work on the famous Roman emperor is in order.

Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
The genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.


Well, the context is actually significantly different. I am not on my way to killing anyone or myself for that matter (though the exact point of my existence has always been questionable), but this interim is indeed a hideous dream, with no sign of internal peace anywhere in sight. But I do realise that I stand at the very edge now from where I can either drop blindly or hold this unbearable ground for the rest of my life. Things have to change and they have to change soon. Eventually, those in the middle only get run over. To survive, you need to pick your side. It is about time I picked mine.

Life now consists mainly of troubleshooting and other regular duties at work and a bit of gaming, mixing practice and sleep at home. The thoughts don't wander anymore, they are more like a rampaging herd now, leaving me clinging for dear life. There are conversations, but only among many shades of myself. I seem to hate any kind of company and desire the perfect non-existent. The only respite comes in the form of music -- two Junkie XL remixes (Dilruba by Niyaz and Talk by Coldplay) and RR Workshop's Electrolux. All three are excellent tracks and don't ask me where to get them from, let the lord be your shepherd and lead you to greener musical pastures. Talk, I believe, expresses it best:

Are you lost or incomplete;
Do you feel like a puzzle,
You can't find your missing piece?
Tell me how you feel
Well i feel like they're talking in a language I don't speak
And they're talking it to me.

January 17, 2006

Halt

It has indeed been a strange winter. The cold was not the sorts normally associated with Delhi and other than for a day or two there was no fog at all. And yes, I am knowingly writing about it in the past tense. Driving to work today, the sun was so bright and strong that I had to turn the fan on to get around it. Looks like the weather gods have gotten their calendar totally screwed up. We are going at least a month ahead of the scheduled change of seasons. Can I please have my normal winters back?

Have you ever had that feeling that your life is coming to a grinding halt? Initially the slowdowns and stoppages happen in fits and starts, later it stops more than the times it manages to keep moving. Things that mean a lot to you either dysfunction completely or keep malfunctioning with alarming regularity. Yes, life is a bitch, but there are times when you just can't keep up appearances and have the classic clown-like smile permanently plastered on your face. Do forgive me, but it is not like I feel low by choice.

I do need a break. In fact the last proper break I took was some three years back, if you can ignore the couple of extended weekend trips to here and there. The fact is further embellished by colleagues who tell you "when did you sleep last time, a year back? You look like you are going to collapse" first thing when you meet them in the day. But where do I go to? I don't want to go to my so-called home. I don't want to take a vacation with anyone I know. I'd really love to be able to go somewhere and not have to talk to anyone at all.

Fat chance, like they say.

January 12, 2006

Gash

It has been one of those days. I am tired, emotionally and physically, beyond what I can express in words. There is an impending final slash that would sever the tattered sinews of the last relationship, which I can't come to terms with. It has become a wide open gash, both in my soul and psyche, that is encompassing everything around me these days. I wish I could just forgive myself, forget the whole episode and move on or have another go at it, make it work and walk into the golden sunset. But I can't seem to do either and I seem destined to wander, for a while at least, not being dead or being alive.

It has shaken me to the core that I can affect anyone in such a manner. Ideally, it should be flattering, It should have provided my ego with a tremendous boost. Instead, I feel shattered from the inside. I just can't seem to come to terms with the fact that I am going to pay the price of losing that person entirely from my life for the treatment I have meted out to her. It is not a fair enough price, in the sense that it is way too less for the crime and the heartache caused, but I can't seem to stop asking myself "why did it all have to come to this?" After all that I've seen, I should have known better. Apparently, that makes no difference to me.

January 10, 2006

Take Two

There are two ways in which you can approach a problem. The first is to wait for someone else to fix it for you. The second is to fix it yourself. If you apply the same methods to arguments and beliefs, the logic becomes quite interesting. Using the first approach, you can wait for someone to come and challenge your beliefs and arguments and change yours to his or her's if it is convincing enough. Or you can challenge your own beliefs constantly and change it when you better your existing ones.

Using the first approach, you can stand on the shoulders of giants, peers or even lesser people. It mostly absolves you of owing hundred percent responsibility of your own actions and curbs independent thinking to varying degrees. But the benefits this approach are considerable. There are other people who have taken the same route before you. There is prior art in the case to consult and refer. You can build on it and make it better or you can use it implement a time-tested solution.

From that point of view, the second option has mostly negatives, if you can call them that, attributed to it. There are no existing paths, you have to clear your way through the maze, you make up the rules and chart out the map as you go along. The journey (yes, I can't ever seem to let go of that metaphor. So, boo) is long and unpredictable, the thinking is independent but chaotic, and the buck starts and stops at the same place - with you. There is no safety in numbers here, there is only the pleasure of discovery.

So what is all this weird thinking all about? I don't quite know. It is mostly an objective effort at self-reflection (can you really reflect on another person or anyone else for that matter?) and an attempt to see if there exists a possibility whereby you can step aside from your natural self and move into shoes, clothes and skin that are not necessarily yours. Which side do you or I belong to? I don't know for sure, the world is hardly ever purely black or white, but what's the harm in wasting a couple of idling thought cycles on things like these?

January 06, 2006

Smile?

Something that has been bothering over the past few days is how unhappy most people I know are these days. It is an unending sequence of things that have gone wrong, things that are not working out and things that were never right from the word go. Even in the case of exceptions, where they are happy with their current state of being, scratching a bit under the surface reveals a state of guarded optimism at the best and steadfast denial at the worst. My own case, which I have totally given up on, is no different. Why are all of us so sad and miserable? Does there exist a situation where you are happy without being delusional?

Languishing in my bed yesterday, after yet another emotional dust up, I was wondering where have all those people who used to make us smile vanished? I don't mind being around to cheer up my friends and I do end up playing the joker more often than not to lighten up moods and situations. But after a while it gets to be really tiring. Your own backlog of problems never get properly addressed in the first place, that probably never will anyway, but the killer is the persistent onslaught of problem after problem. I can't even remember when was the last time I had met someone who made me smile.

A large part of the problem can also be attributed the way we live our lives. I dearly love doing things which I know should not be doing. I'll admit to it not for sounding saintly, but to selfishly preserve my own sanity. I had forced my friend into being in a relationship with me a month after I'd broken up with the person I was seeing for close to a year before that. As my better (and much ignored) instinct and a handful of close friends had pointed out, it was way too early for all that, I lost my nerve in galactic proportions somewhere along the way, did all the things that I should not have done by being unfaithful, inconsiderate and downright insensitive. In such a situation, the line "I am normally not like this" means shit.

That I am a prick of the greatest order is no great revelation, I have known that for a while now, only if I could convince everyone around me about it, life would be considerably easier. But coming back to the topic at hand, why is that these days we end up doing all the things that are required to destroy good things than to protect and embellish it? Is it because quick fixes are easy? And if we are choosing the quick fix route, why do we clamour for destinations that can only be reached by routes that hold at least a glimmer of permanence in them. Are we all nothing but naked hypocrites holding a court full of like minded and deluded people?

Of course, there are other possibilities. There is never enough time for anything and there are a fair number of deviants, including myself, among us. In such a situation, when you differ from the norm, is there any reason in expecting any fruits that are accrued only by following the norm? I guess the answer would be "no". I am not attributing even any half decent possibilities to this. If you look for a one night stand or a string of flings, that is precisely what you get. It won't get you any emotional sustenance, even the physical sustenance is doubtful at the best, but why do we still look for both when we say we are in it only for the short run?

January 05, 2006

Saved Message

I don’t know who I hate more: Me or the rest of the world, I simply fucking hate everyone. Can I please not be myself, or whatever the world sees me as, and just let go of everything and hate once and for all myself and everything around me, forever and for eternity? It is not the alcohol; it is not any other substance. In the words that I speak now are the truths that I have always hidden.

I don’t feel cold. I don’t feel insensitive. I just feel a distinct lack of purpose. I feel like I am a prop, in someone else’s play. I don’t have a part to play for myself. I don’t have any explanations for myself. Not that you would be interested. Not that you would listen. Not that I have a point to prove. Not that your point has any significance within my context. After all, what am I? I am just a prop. I have always been. I will forever be.

January 02, 2006

The First

And so it starts, the New Year, in all its cold glory. After two rounds of revelry that reminded me a fair bit about a time gone by, I have woken up into a world where the calendars have turned over and there is a new number that I have to get used to – 2006. But beyond that hardly anything has changed. There are no remembrances of 2005, good or bad, that I want to write about. I don’t even know if it was an average or a good year. Honestly, I don’t give a damn, onwards now into the new one.

I have been hit by one those things that I have managed to somehow avoid in all my five years of blogging: a tag. The idea is to list one’s top five quirks and here are the ones I could think up. 1. I sleep on my stomach with my face buried in the pillow because sleeping on my back does not allow me to breathe properly. 2. I can’t eat cooked vegetables, while I can eat almost all of them in the uncooked form. 3. I always lose my pens and umbrellas. 4. I can’t handle any kind of attention. 5. If I have the time, I love to stand in queues and observe people around me.