Friday, December 24, 2004

In The End, Does It Really Matter?

We keep "changing" ourselves. Reinventing, as it is described by people. For several people it is not as if they have changed at all. It is the effect of their peers and their ambitions. "How To Be A Good Leader", "How To Be An Effective Manager", "10 Steps To Self-Improvement". All these and more provide you with insights on what to change about yourself......or, what to project yourself as.

So what are we doing? Do we assume that there's a pattern, a formula for success and all those achieve success are virtually clones of each other? Can't it happen that I am "different" and succeed in life? Do I really have to conform at every stage? It sickens me at times to see how these things work. Everywhere you have people running around trying to be clones of their idols, trying to overcome weaknesses not by recognizing them but by trying to paper over them.

And just WHAT do these people want? What do these clones actually want out of their life? Well, if you were tto ask, they wouldn't really know. It's more of a thing of....well, the herd's running to Point X, so my aim is to get there first and be the! Some aim...and what after that? What if you do indeed reach there? Will it really fill your heart with contentment at having achieved what you really wanted? Chances are, it won't, because you never really knew what you wanted in the first place....which of course, will actually ensure that you never will win....after all, even if you're ahead in the race, you're still a rat!

Freedom of expression and thought are really the biggest myth of our times. You have no right to differ from what the "gurus" have proclaimed, be it Philip Kotler or Keynes or Bill Gates or indeed Tom, of Tom, Dick and Harry fame. You must obey the "norms" of society. You must do what is "acceptable", you must BE what they WANT you to be....WHY????

So ultimately, you're just a confused mass. You feel one way inside, but don't dare say it openly. After all, that would be blasphemy. "God" would frown upon you.....what would "society" think? Sometimes I wonder if we ever will see the day where we CAN actually exercise our will to even a small degree.....

Monday, December 06, 2004

A Lifeless Dream or a Dreamless Life

There's a growing feeling of emptiness these days. Somehow I'm not able to pinpoint exactly what it is that is bothering me. It's a gnawing feeling that I am succumbing to a vacuum. I feel like I am being sucked into something that I do not want to be a part of, but am unable to resist. The harder I try to get out of it, the more I get pulled into it. What is more astounding though is the reaction it seems to be having on me. I seem to have become more jovial when in public. It's almost like an involuntary defence mechanism.

It all came upon me suddenly this afternoon. Was sitting with a friend of mine and we started discussing the way we see life. Suddenly he asked me what it was that made us seem like two diametrically opposite people when we essentially thought in almost exactly the same way about life. Hit me then that the only difference, if you can call it "only", is that while he is content to let his personality show, I seem to be running away from people. I'd rather let people see me as the exact opposite of what I am. I feel intimacy is the biggest weakness. But how long can one run? How long do you hide yourself?

Sometimes I feel it's just something fundamentally wrong with me. After all, why am I the only one here who is not hankering after what I term the mundane? And then there is this feeling of, "F*ck the world. F*ck what they think".

Ultimately, each of us has a dream. Each of us would love to achieve it. Some reconcile their dreams to what they term realistic. Some don't. Amongst those who don't, there are the ones who muster the courage to step away from the mad rush and achieve their dreams. Follow their calling. What about the rest? I wonder. Which path shall be mine? Or maybe, I shall be forced to be content with living a lifeless dream....

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Clutching At The Winds To Control My Destiny

Do we really control anything at all? We get things into our lives ourselves, or so we think. We adapt ourselves to keep what we think we want. And then can't keep up any more. The more we attempt to control our emotions the further they carry us away from the direction we are straining in. And then they interfere with the very values we hold dearest. What do you do then? The choice is one that I would want to make. Nor one that I could ever advise someone on. After all, how does one decide whether it is better to kill one's dreams or kill one's self. The two seem so inextricably entwined. Yet, try we must, to choose one over the other. After all, one cannot be lord and master of a house with two owners. Control or emotion? Could they ever go together? And though it seems so abstract, each one of us faces this at some time or the other. There are no easy answers......and no common answer either.

Floating within, trying hard to grasp,
Fingers clawing wildly for walls they can't find,
A mind trying hard to control a life,
Whose complexity a stranger tries to deny,
Tranquil shattered by hands I invited inside,
Now twisting my thoughts to bring blinded cry,
Is all that I see through the beholder's eye,
Coloured to make a cloak and lose me in time

Once alive, flying free, nothing ever denied,
Now constraints that I feel tear my frail being,
But could I ever break free from the bars,
That I made dreaming of bliss never seen,
Torn between the sky and the fear to fly,
A silent man seeks solace in arms opened wide,
But will they be yours, sweet friend of mine,
Or do I return to the cell I once left behind

Did you believe that it was me you saw,
Or just a crazy dream that you took for a metaphor,
A man of clay, just a toy that you gave,
A shape that forever your mind's desires craved,
But your world I had once forsaken and run,
For a world whose truth you now can't see,
Though at the time you seemed so true and so free,
Would you now hold that hand or divide Destiny

Meltdown threatening now, staring me in the face,
Why does it seem as if the winds whisper your name,
The way things go driving to the edge and back,
More complexities unearthed in what was so simple to start,
When letting go is not a course on my chart,
Would the tides of time heal or open a chasm,
Would the waters cause to drift or hold together,
The raft of lives and free Fate I dreamt of at the start

Friday, November 19, 2004

I Run to Stay Hidden From Myself

What does it really take to be content with where one is? A deep realization of one's being and surrounds? Or a blanking out of all that is painful? Was forced to ponder over this a few days back. A friend of mine kept insisting that I was just wasting my time by seeing all that surrounds us, because the only way we would escape the misery that is today, was by shutting out the reality when it pained and transporting ourselves to a time when aall was well and all we saw and heard were things that gave us joy....was there ever such a time?

Maybe there was. There was a time when we failed to see the things around us as we see them now. They didn't change much. We did. Our perception, our cynicism. It changed everything. Suddenly the 5-year old boy who could do Integral Calculus was no longer a genius, but a persecuted victim of a society that no longer has time nor the patience for childhood. A society where fun no longer means anything other than a late-night party at the hippest nightclub in town with a semi-nude model on your arm, all of which requires you to forsake the small joys of life......

But does that really mean I should shut myself to what is around me? Do I really need to mask reality? Do I need to live in a place that exists nowhere but in my dreams? Or can I find bliss in the truth? Would a deeper understanding not help me?

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in between. For, one thing I do know. The once I tried shutting myself to reality, something entered and left my life, while I did not realise it. Though I may not regret that in particular, I do regret the countless other things I may have allowed to pass me by while I was stuck in my unreasonable hole.....and so, I wrote something for this friend of mine.....and hey, Neeta, this is something in which you can't even blame me for being "complex" or "high-flown"......

Close my eyes and drift away,
To places and times gone by,
Live in a world where dreams prevail,
And laughter causes eyes to run dry

Scared to see, afraid to believe,
That the world inexorably moves on,
For scenes of bliss and lost peace,
Are where I wish to ever belong

She came in like a whisper,
Her footfall I didn't feel,
Emptiness of her passing,
Is what now makes that time feel real

I shut my eyes and closed myself,
And lost what I didn't see,
For when the moment came past me again,
I knew not, for the moment I did not feel

If you were me for that's what's real,
Perhaps you'd care to see,
My future became my past,
And once again I surrendered to the surreal


Thursday, September 23, 2004

And Then a Cynic Was Born

He tied the rope to the door. With the other end he made a noose and tied it around his neck. He had stripped fully. The webcam was aimed at him. He knelt and then leaned forward. The website, still open on his screen described exactly what had to be done. He had the option of going back. He didn't. He really must have wanted to die.

15 odd years ago, a report in the ToI spoke of ragging in IIT-Mumbai causing 3 students to commit suicide in their 2nd week in college. The next day's headline had the story. Vernacular-medium students. Attempted JEE in Hindi. The pressure of not knowing English pushed them over the brink. The debate on conducting JEE in languages began. IIT aspirants all, we debated this too. Conclusion: It shouldn't. Look what it leads to.

A month into Engg and this memory of the past was back. We had several "verns" in our batch. They smashed the myth I had held in my mind for so long. A little extra effort and by the end of Sem-I they were at par with the rest. Engg doesn't require the best English in the world.....a cynic was born.

3rd Year: Rumours surfaced of ragging of a particular guy. 2 days later, he had hung himself. His room was sealed within minutes of the discovery. In an hour's time, a suicide note was found, speaking of a failed love affair. The machinery was in motion. The college could not afford bad publicity. The matter was out of public memory within days. The cynic learnt what officialdom could do, when they wanted to. The parents didn't even get to see the letter. Evidence, they called it.....

This time, it's being called an "experiment gone wrong". He was in the top 25 they say. Officialdom has told us to keep mum. Do NOT disclose any information. He had a "fetish" webpage open on his screen they say. Who knows why he did it?

He had dropped a year. He was an introvert. He had hardly any friends. On his screen was a webpage describing how to hang oneself. Top 25? Experiment gone wrong? Would you keep straining against a rope that was killing you unless you really wanted to die?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

In Blissful Dusk We Will Fall

Last night was amazing. Sitting outside the library taking a smoke break while studying for a quiz, the philosophising started. The studies, as you can imagine, went for a huge toss.

What is happiness? A state of bliss? Or a state where one is blinded to all that is real? For we blind ourselves to everything that may threaten our euphoria. Inevitably, this means blocking out everything that is real. So, it's just a euphemism for insanity. A state where one imagines for himself a world where all is good. "There's something right with the world today, but everybody knows it's wrong"....Aerosmith taken out of context make so much sense....

Depression and cynicism are the real truth aren't they? That's when you explore yourself, and the world around you, looking for what is truly real. Unless you are one of those people who would rather get out of the depression. The creative juices flow. You perceive things you wouldn't normally see. That's partly why the best creative acts are done when the artist is depressed, I guess.

Was it just a fiery dream
The night that seems so like a daydream
Swimming into a lake of sharks
Threatening to tear my life apart
Alone in the midst of lost crowds
Brain twisted, anger screaming to break out
White rats trapped inside a cage
An old man stuck inside a childish rage

No high seems to last, the vision's gone
Dull pain awaits passing beyond
Precipices invite to fall into arms
That scars of time seem to adorn
Delirious in poppy lands
Will now too weak to look behind
No last wish, no tears to cry
The old man plunges out of the mire

Laid to rest, eternal, sublime
Leaving remnants of a wasted life
Like blooming flowers in desert land
Oblivion all that's left behind
So he passes into the sea
Leaving behind him obscurity
Famed far and wide, folks wonder why
One so full could be so hollow inside

Did you ever wonder why you couldn't see
The crying soul, the hidden me
Or maybe never see what he perceives
Who goes beyond what the eye sees
And ventures into virgin lands
Where Sun is black and life a quicksand
Once there and back, yet there again
Taking last look to blood red sky

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Alone in a Lonely Crowd

Somehow I feel very alone here. There are always 4-5 people around me. Yet I feel so alone. Surrounded by people who think they know me. Living up to what is expected of me. I am definitely not in an identity-crisis, but maybe an in an "ideology-crisis". Half of me wishes to break free. Chuck up all of this, go to what I want to do. Start a band, get wasted, do what I really want. Write. Perhaps do a course in Psychology or Philosophy. The other half asks, "And what shall you eat? What will you live on? You're not an island. There are, and will be people who depend on your material success." How long can this go on? How long till I break. One half must die. Which one?

Sad state of affairs I guess. There is one other person who thinks like me though, PSE. Very nice person (Hey PSE, pun fully intended). Though I guess, as anachronistic and crazy as me in the reality that is today.

Anxieties of a life flying past
Endless search for a place to hide
Peace inside a myth of our times
Satisfaction we're never meant to find
Heroes all with feet of clay
Dark clouds of grief ever overhang
Still we scour for ways to please the mind
In this race forward we're moving behind

Twas meant to be a world so free
A world made for you and me
Survival and greed seem to hold the key
This circle of time makes my head reel
Higher and higher I'm falling free
Sucked into a famous obscurity
Well-known strangers on every street
Defining a solitary community

Yeah, I know, its a pathetic effort. But Hell, it's my blog.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Priorities Confuse My Mind

Does anything really count? Do dreams amount to nothing? Today, we are trained to walk down a path shown to us by blind men who promise to make us "rich". But only if we forsake the immeasurable wealth we already possess. Prioritising seems to have become act of madness where we further suppress our calling in an attempt to get "real", to pursue what we are led to believe is in our best interests.

As a child I used to be forced out of the house every evening, for two and a half hours to play. My parents forced me to read books and cultivate and pursue interests outside my curriculum. So it was too with several of my friends. We were taught to be all-rounders. Today, that concept is dead; a relic of a bygone era. Today, children rarely play. Most do not even know what it feels like to kick a football or hold a bat. Their only purpose in life seems to be to grow up fast and grow up smart.

Children today attend coaching classes before they are even old enough to pronounce "coaching class" right. The only idea constantly dinned into their heads by their parents is that they must excel in their academics, get into good colleges and earn a lot of money and be very happy in life. This is where they lose their chances of really achieving the last part of their aim. They have no interests as a consequence of their obsession with grades. They never know where their true intersts lie nor what they could perhaps excel at, due to the same reason.

Their parents pat themselves on the back for having such "mature" children. But wait a minute. Isn't a child supposed to enjoy life? To indulge in his immaturity and explore his potential in a manner and time that will be accorded to him for his immaturity? The moment he becomes mature, doesn't he cease to be a child any more? Yet that is exactly what we have today. Mature persons, not yet old enough to be adults, nor young enough mentally to be children. Still at school, they have decided the courses their careers shall take.

Shall they ever achieve happiness? Shall WE ever attain happiness? Perhaps, but not the way we live today. Our mad rush for what we call progress ensures that even if we do attain our wants, the very way we must live to achieve those and our subsequent demands, will ensure that we never have the time to enjoy our riches.

Our childhoods we lose thinking of the riches we shall enjoy in our youth, a youth that we are then made to lose in the search for a comfortable middle and old age, which in turn we are destined to lose to ailments born of the excesses of a life, lived to achieve this stage.

Monday, September 06, 2004

When Fate Chooses to Die

Is there really a thing such as Fate? Conversely, is there anything called choice? What I have seen is that when people achieve what they want, they say they did so because they chose to, because they made the thing happen. Because they deserved it. When something they hanker for equally or perhaps more, does not come through, oh well, bring out the favourite whipping boy....Fate! It was not meant to be. Kind of takes me back to school and our physics class on the theory of light.

When you need to explain phenomenon X, you say that light has a "wave" nature.....but if you want to explain phenomenon Y, you say that light consists of photons and is not wave in nature.

The point being that we believe in whatever we find convenient and whatever suits our needs at that moment. So we believe in God when we want something or need someone to lean on or someone to blame for the varied injustices meted out to us in life. Ultimately though, do any of these two schools of thought hold any merit? Do we choose anything in life? Is there anything called choice? And is there something called Fate? We reject one of the two in almost every scenario we face in life. So, if certain scenarios disprove both theories, isn't it safe to assume that both are false? If they are, what is the truth?

We spend our lives hankering after things we never achieve. True love, happiness, peace. And these are the very concepts that ensure we never achieve them. Or maybe, it is our approach to them that ensures this constant dissatisfaction. More on that later..... Adios!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A Look in the Metaphorical Mirror

Am I really a stranger to myself? Do I know where I stop and me begins? Ultimately, I guess I don't. Everyone has multiple personalities. But do we really have control over what we are and what we want to have others believe? After all, am I a depressive? An insecure mass of nerves terrified of my shortcomings? Or am I a really confidfent person who's often seen as arrogant? Am I real? What part of me is?

Each one of us has an idea of what we are...WHO we are. Sometimes we are right. Most of the time, we are wrong. Yet we fix an idea in our mind of who we want to be and convince ourselves that this is what we indeed are. That's our first step to self-destruction. Then we work at living up to that image. So whom do we deceive? The world or ourselves? And does it help us in achieving any objective in life? Ultimately, it ends up destroying our own potential I guess. You can see it everywhere. First up, you see it in relationships...

First you look for a girl (or a guy) to "love". Then you decide what sort of person that girl would "love". Then you try to convince yourself that you are like that. You also try to live up to this persona you have created with that girl. You try to convince her you are this person X. If you succeed in your attempts at wooing her, you continue being that person X for her. Then the veneer begins to wear off. After all, how long can you be someone you are not? Even if you yourself believe you are that person. The cracks begin to show. The end begins. Only for the entire cycle to be repeated. I have seen this phenomenon occuring with almost all my friends. Yet, none of them ever seems to learn. Nor do they seem to realise where the problem essentially lies. It's much easier attributing everything to "Fate". "It wasn't meant to be with her".....

Next post on Fate vs choice. :-) Adios...