Somewhere along the mundane morbidity of this life, I have lost being able to lose myself into something. That scares me to my wit’s end.
A phase where it is impossible to concentrate on one single thing and be able to do it. Guess it all boils down to the Perils of a PhD. I just cannot help, but relate my PhD process to a beautiful line of a Tamizh song
“நான் தூக்கி வளர்த்த துயரம் நீ” “naan thookki vaLartha thuyaram nee!”
It literally translates to something like that of “You are a sorrow that I raised.” (willingly and lovingly, [my emphasis])
At times, I can only laugh at the irony of its aptness. Given all that! With twenty five days to go, Chapters to write and Drafts to be done, Corrections, Bibliography check, footnotes and citations and corrections pending. ALL and the least and the most I need to do now, is take care of my ownself, stop panicking every now and then, take few deep breaths at every possible intervals and be on the maniac, militant and drunk writing mode. Good luck to my own self. This is the last phase of PhD and it matters more than anything now. From March 2011 to December 2017, with a break of five years in teaching, I need to be strong and pass through the final passage of rite to complete this ritual and Ordeal called PhD. Go BeeNat, Go. Keep writing 🙂
Where could i possibly begin?
At an ending. May be an impending ending. That kept us Waiting.
i couldn’t possibly start counting the memories we are both bestowed with, And in great vain, i attempt to remember the mortal remains of memories of togetherness.
For Memory is a burden.
How do i remember thee? Let me uncount the ways
i remember thee to the depth and breadth and height
To the beginning of the warmth in your touch
i remember thee to the end of every next-day
Most quietly waiting by my g-talk for a message to pop up
Into the laziness of your day-ending as my day dawns to the sound of your voice
i shall wait, my time to serve with memories intact
To see you somewhere in all my griefs and faith.
i shall but remember thee Always
For i know no greater love than, of remembrance
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
A year that just slipped by, a year of grief; certainly,`The Year of Magical Thinking’ when a thousand things dawned onto the quiet mind basking in laziness. An urgent need to seize the slyly time that refuses to wait for any tides. A few memories, that needs exorcizing, if not will continue to haunt the remains of time. A happy memory of learning, loving and living together for a short worthwhile. As the year ends, a few deaths that scarred me remains untangled, in the web of memory. An haphazard need to bid adieu to a thousand things as the year nears its end.
At times, Waking up is a like a dream. A certain kind of feeling it evokes as one wakes up from/to a dream. She did remember this; a distant memory, a near-fading past- his feel of lips on her navel. She could only chuckle at the memory, his less than short of obsession with navels.
Next only to books, those unread, but buying books at every other day, the untidy linings of the books along the walls of every shelf. For only the beauty of Japanese language can find a word for book hoarding – Tsundoku.
To end the year with something that i recently read/lived through. Kafka on the shore is one of the strangest books i’ve read. A journey that stretches itself onto the realms of magic as the reader approaches it. The story is narrated from different perspectives of Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy who runs away from home to escape an oedipal prophecy and thereby making it true and then the story of Nakata, an old man who gained the ability to talk to cats after an incident in his childhood.
This entire book reads like a fine collage of intense vignettes of unrelated dreamy scenes and poignant conversations. A meandering dreamlike tone drives the entire reading experience. A surrealistic “Kafka-esque” thread runs all along the narrative tying the loose ends, before the book ends. At times, it takes a toll on the reader to make connections every now and then, that said, it ain’t an easy read.
One can sense an intentional ambiguity in the very narrative and the plot.
May be the book speaks to me in a way, as to the threshold, that had been pushed onto me.
“Listen, Kafka. What you’re experiencing now is the motif of many Greek tragedies. Man doesn’t choose fate. Fate chooses man. That’s the basic worldview of Greek drama.”
As often, i feel the lure of the unknown quite regularly. May be like everything else, “Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum”
Life… sigh.. Became unstoppably an un-happening affair. My one and a half year stint of life in Shillong, the Scotland of East did let me learn and unlearn a lot of things. The idle town/city, where I spent a considerable portion of the nights in my life awake and half asleep, woken up to an earthquake, wade my way through its charm and closeted streets; yet it stops me often to raise an important existential question. What am I doing? Here? Off late, certain, at times an inevitable complacency creeps into me. I untangle myself and let it go and I go on.
A crisp cold evening; the winter is aloud on air; when you feel the wind biting into your skin unaware. As I stroll on the streets of my neighbourhood, I can’t escape feeling this feeling of discomfort. If I were to borrow a certain Bollywood description for the beefed up security measures on the context of President’s visit and called this scene as Kashmir-a/like. Mind me, I am righteously wrong here. I also prefer to shy away from such-any filmic description, as it would give away my misinformed nationalistic view of things.
Yet another successful bandh, following a series of bandhs, office picketing, and road blockades. Nothing works as perfect as Fear in this small town. All I am worried about now is the missing Red-Carpet or maybe I did manage to miss, it being laid out somewhere for the Honourable-His Excellency. I should make a mental note to check the Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, CM’s residence and the university. It would be a gross Grecian disgrace to miss out on such an important colonial/comical custom. I looked for it in the streets as well.
The streets looked deserted, rather deserted by people, who preferred to huddle up inside their houses for an evening. Scattered sparsely on either sides of the road were few men and boys who went about their business. A few kongs and chai wallahs were busy in their evening order of things. The Haphazardly parked police and security vehicles seemed to make up for the empty canvas of an evening in a Shillong street.
The charm of the place has definitely taken a day off on Mukherjee’s maiden visit to Meghalaya.
Come whatever! I am out to enjoy a cup of tea in this cold weather. Balancing the plastic cup in one hand, I manage to get hold of my mobile from my pocket to read a text. “It is not Meghalaya, it is bandhalaya.” Makes sense in one way.
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It is just that life takes you; takes on you at times that you feel washed down, flushed out and left drowned in the dumps. When you’re the seeker, a go-getter in life, all it needs is the right kind of righteous re-assurance to reclaim life. And the most beautiful thing about it is its availability, right next to you. Only if you’re willing enough to open up and let things get into you.
Shobhaa De says, in her book Speed Post, “God must be a mother.” And I believe that every writer is a mother, yup in a way, every writer has to be feminine enough in thought and feeling to actually explore certain aspects of life. Just a very few take the risk. And when you take that, you would know what I mean. It is not that you have to be a mother or go through motherhood biologically; Motherhood is something that is more to emotions, psyche and persona of someone than the mere biological phenomenon. What makes this 22 year old speak those words? Well there is many times in life that a few people have made me feel both motherly and manly, when I had been there for them, when they have most needed someone at their side. The writer in me greatly believes in the choice. I believe I have a choice and so I have. And choice is something that is more eternal and ethereal which makes this writer write what he is ought to write.
This is something that I had been known for all through my life, what can life be without this C factor? There is a connection between the C factor and the universal conspiracy. Well, this is more of an arrived at connection, it need not be true. I held this belief for a greater part of my life and grew up believing my belief that nobody is a single entity in this universe. No single soul is alone, but every soul is an orphan. What I am today, am because of those thousand plus people I had seen, met, interacted with, grew up with, began to love, smiled with, and laughed with, cried at/for/with.
There is this C in me which makes me wonder what the other person would be doing at this time of the day. As mentioned earlier, I am a single soul with the reflections that are of a thousand others. In a way, I am made of the thousand them. This is the thing that helps me with going and growing; to live, to love and to write. Never had my single day passed out without thinking did she eat any thing? Oh!!! She is growing old and I need to spend more time with her? No idea where he is, Is he back? I didn’t still hear from him, Is he safe? Would he be still working? Will he also like coffee like me or is she totally a tea person? Did chechi had a good day or the kids trouble her again? Did ma’m start writing again? Is he still thin/Has he grown a bit plump? Did he booze? Will we have that promised trip? Will he come down to meet me? Will I write again? Does she actually shampoo up her hair or just get it washed in the nearby saloon hair? Will uncle ever start his day without his early morning session of paper-reading?
Well I can be as nosy as I can be with my Curiosity factor. But take the word, nothing in life is as wonderful as to open up and reach out to people, letting in people, getting to know them and to grow up with them. Yeah I’m this hope-less romantic in life, when it comes to people, place, books, music and movies, there is something certainly magical about them. The myriad moods of life, gets magnified magnanimously by this magical thread, love; which weaves people together to create the warmth that only the cloak called friends and family can give. Growing up can be fun, when it happens with the most positive people. And as a writer’s wish, this is the most humble of an attempt to actually record his chronicles of the most beautiful people he met in his life.
In a way, writing is a longing too. A longing for love, the love, which world failed to shower on its fellow beings to ease their growing up pains. I write willing to love for I knew that I was born to write, when I started writing letters, and also then was also the other realization that I am born to love. Can anything be more romantic and loving than hand-written letters? It is quite difficult to understand the wonderfulness and warmth, a letter can convey unless one had been either a writer or a receiver? I believe that I had written many letters and in the recent times, I had been writing less and less of letters. As mentioned earlier in one of the posts, “I evolved from the boy of letters to the man of letters.” Letters form the most integral part of a writer’s life. One thing that I most wanted myself to be made sure that I do, before I take leave is write one last letter to the people I met in my life. And I have taken genuine efforts to actually write, that I almost write everything about the persons that comes to my mind, I do keep an archive of what people have spoken to me, words, shared thoughts, notes, greetings, mails and texts. And so, next time, don’t be surprised if you find anything that can be so uniquely you.
For I believe, nothing is original, everything is a kaleidoscope of reflections and inspirations. The writer in me usually looks out for characters, stories and mannerisms in everyone. I know it can be so annoying the way I ask questions sometimes, but this is all a greater part of growing up as a writer with people. It is not just my story, and it will be never my story. It is a series of intersecting events in different lives that is told in my perspective, tone and voice. I modulate the aspects of writing, which mostly appeals to the reader and I never ever dare to manipulate, for I’m not here to create sensationalism, pass on judgments or make a list of To Dos and Don’ts or to issue commandments on the art of living. As a writer, I just investigate the in-sights.
As JB ma’m puts it, “Words are powerful monsters. They either make or mar. They can heal as well as hurt.” It depends on the writer, how he employs the apt use of choice of words. As a writer I made this promise that I will give up writing when my words have consciously hurt a soul. I write to heal. I write to reach out, open up, and let people open up. Well I was also this person, who so badly wanted to see his words in print. And now I realized, “But the noblest duty of words than going to print is, did it touch a person? Did it inspire/influence a soul? Did it make a difference in a life? Did it make someone relate with the author in thought and did it help a reader identify the friend in the author?” If the writing has done any one of the above, it need not be bothered about the form of its existence. For it has reached its reader.
A writer has to be a reader by him/her self. And so is this writer. Reading makes a human. I would not go to the extent of telling that, people who don’t read, don’t know life. But certainly they would be the ones who read people, if not books. I had been the most addicts of people, followed by books; there is this greater force that is involved in bringing some books to certain people and also in turn, bringing some people in someone’s life. The best books are the ones that tell the known and the obvious that has been conveniently ignored and forgotten for the lesser good. Like people, books are the next magical things in life and only a few can appreciate both for the right reasons. And as a writer I’m conscious of my call of the wild that, I am not born for one corner of the earth. A writer has to be universal; a writer never takes up one single identity, which would narrow down his perspectives on life. Identity is imposed, and a writer has to obviously boycott anything that is imposed. I don’t take labels when I write, so I don’t give them in return. An insult pocketed, produces another. I don’t pocket them.
A writer has a life, another normal life than the writerly one. One life in the world, which the writer, greatly believes and the world that he or she, painstakingly constructed. I chose to live in both my worlds. I see the difference. Here life has become something that has to be tackled than something that needed to be lived. Life at times, needs to be taken by the horns, at times; it warrants a quite flow with the rhythm. The reassurance that writing provides to life is a soothing feel, which wipes out the certainty of life and makes a voyage to the core of uncertainties. Uncertainty provides a reason to look forward in this life and a constant remainder that I have a life to live and a few people to meet and grow up with them in love. The other, writerly life warrants a constant contemplation of thoughts and words, which fuels the need for total acceptance of people and not the mere act of ritual toleration. It denies anything that is in-human, it fights for the inclusive space; it helps me to run a crusade against anything that is not love. I consciously know my need to live and understand the nuances of functioning of both the worlds. It gives me greater perspectives and a broader outlook which ensures the graceful life of my passion and the desire to be an active onlooker, which is the womb that gave the painful birth to this writer.
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Life makes everyone an orphan. The more a person tries to relate, the more he orphans himself. No one can orphan anyone because it is just an opinion. A considered opinion. It is obviously an individual’s choice of being belonged. Even when blessed with a beautiful family and many special people, we, at times can’t help our self feeling like one. Things are fine as long as it is a feeling. Just a feeling.
We do have an odd way of feeling it. Don’t know why, but everyone wants to be an independent person. (Here it refers to being on one’s own). We often hear ourselves justifying, “People will not understand me.” And when things get even worse, we wanted to be left alone. I personally and seriously believe that half the persons who wanted to be left alone never really wants to be left alone. Well, remember little Anne Frank who wanted to be left alone and she was always scared that she would be left alone more than she wished. True to her fear, she was.
It is not that we want to banish everyone from life and lead a happy one. May be we wanted ourselves to be banished from worst things. We never really know whether this is Detachment or even if it can be called so. Sometimes we feel more orphaned, not physically or mentally but because of been let down by people or the fear of being let down. We become very hurt. It almost becomes an ache. Heartache. A chronic never ending heartache. We wish to have a consoling and an understanding soul than a loving one to let out all our darkest fears. Fears. Speaking of fears, everyone can truly be crowned “King of Phobias”. This is certainly not Phobiaphobia.
The very thought of phobia brings an inexplicable solicitude for our very own life. We are neither diffident nor confident. People tend to become brave, only if the situation warrants. We are not a coward still. We stand up and speak up for every injustice done to us. There are times, when we conveniently recoil and not mind things even when they go completely wrong. Why bother as long as I remain unaffected. Nice attitude, though not a good virtue.
Will our ability or choice to willingly relate our best selves to people and their lives banish this heartache, or help us to conquer our phobias or stop our souls from being orphaned? No, but this gives the Comfortable warmth to life in which a gentle hand reaches soothingly to calm the Orphaned soul.
Life certainly becomes better when we learn a thing which gives the “Feel Good” feel. When an invisible soul emanates from our soul to heal everything. When it willingly embraces everyone in joy and with total acceptance in love. Life by itself gives us the best, when it is lived. Only when lived. Not when despised, envied, feared, frowned, hated, loathed, worried and what not. Learning everything, we live. Life goes on. We get on, to run along.
I’ve been this way. My mind feels as if it has been through a roller coaster-ride. I don’t know why, I keep getting all this weird feelings. May be mixed feelings. I feel as if a big tragedy is going to befall me, am going to lose that-very-special-someone. Sometimes, I feel strangely-stupid. Being stupid is okay for a person like me, but this is strange. At times, I get so excited for nothing, other times, I feel very plain, just the usual aiyo-paavam-payan (poorly poor guy looks). sometimes I am very anxious, as anxious as a mother of a young girl who is on her first date.
May be work can do this to people, but why me? It is for people who work hard, I hardly work. For me, even the thought of work or just imagining to be working, tires my soul. And I need countless cups of coffee to get out of this depressing depression. What next? I became fatigue because of my compulsive consumption of coffee. When I’m about to work, I try to warm up to do my best, but in the course, I get heated up and eventually worn out. The very idea of chilling out, freaks me out now.
Am I born with a default disorder which is designed to develop dispersions as I go on?
If at all I manage everything and finally sit to work. I get all innovative ideas on how to evade work. It just then will occur to my mind how I never keep my surrounding clean. When I get to my cleansing work, my mobile dutifully rings, any concerned friend will be available exactly then. I end up talking all the worldly affairs.
I feel all the guiltier after the call. I try to concentrate with all my will power to concentrate on one work. To test me, I often indulge in this very useful exercise. I sit on the floor in an asana position and try to focus my mind on nothing. I intensely command my self not to think about anything, but nothing. I suggest that I should do nothing for the next 30 minutes. I settle myself and spend a minute thinking how I should go about it and suddenly my alarm goes off. Cursing my forgetfulness, I get up to make sure that I shouldn’t be disturbed by anything. I visit every room to check all potential disturbance factors such as Television, radio, mobile, alarm, music system are completely put out. By the time I return, there is a knock at the door. It must be my post-man. I return to my room with the recent issue of The Week. I flip through the pages to read my favorite column. Oh! then I remember my mission. I drop my magazine and resume my asana position. It is already 12.30 PM and I’ve got to meet my dentist at 2Pm. I again do the follow-up procedure and concentrate on nothing. I can hear the sound of the fan in the next room. No let it. Who cares? I should concentrate. I think about calling the clinic to check with them, but why worry, I have an appointment. I make a mental note to brush my teeth before I leave. I think I need to wear my other blue jean and the red tee. Should I take some cash from the ATM? Did I get the card back from mom? I should concentrate now on doing nothing. And the telephone rings. I forgot to completely put out this potential disturbance factor. I get up half-heartedly, thinking how annoying these telephones are.
It was my dad, asking me if I’ve booked my ticket for the next week’s journey. I wonder why he should ask that now. I tell him that I will do that today and let him know. I hung up the phone wondering whether this trait of being futuristic run in our family genes. Anyways I should wash my black jean; it has been nearly two months. I think about doing something and enter the kitchen to have a cup of chai and to go about the day.
Actually this is what happens to people like me, who plan to overwork, but end up doing nothing. My only problem is that I over-plan, take too much in my plate than I can afford to eat. I should rather prioritize my priorities first. But before that, more importantly I should learn to talk less. I know that I talk more, more enough to actually annoy anyone who never gets easily annoyed. Vinu calls me, “a potential threat to anyone who wants to work, even anyone who works in my vicinity will be affected by my strong aura with an unassuming ability to actually annoy people.” Cool. I remember how he was always patient with me till one day- When he literally slapped me just because he couldn’t stand my bugging him the whole day. Poor Vinu! How bad he would have felt! It really hurts me. But honestly I know inside, that it was less for what I did then. Yes I really love to talk more, annoy and bug people. Big Deal? See, I actually don’t know what my problem is- Whether my ability to annoy people, theatrical talent to talk more or multi-tasking (rather multiple planning) and special God-Given-Gift to do nothing and arriving at artistic ways of annoying people. It is not because I’m bored that I talk, annoy or bug, it’s because I love and I love to do these.
Have been this way since I’ve been this way. I know it is quite difficult for people to put up with me. Even I’ve felt that too and tried running away from me. But honestly, I just couldn’t come to think about my self abandonment. I get all this and once in a while I suddenly retreat to silence for the greater good. As how Anu akka calls it, “Hibernation” Scientifically speaking a bear needs around 20,000 calories of energy before it goes to hibernation and she tells me that “I would’ve spent the same amount of calories talking before I proceed to hibernate.”
Whatever it is! It is my problem and it is not my problem, but there is a magic in all this. I connect to people; get to know people when I actually talk with them and more than anything when I listen to people. I learn to listen more. Listening is the high art of loving. And when people get ready to share, it is these three magical words that amplify the power of love: Tell Me More.
And may be I talk more and more because I know that I (We) don’t speak enough.
Sitting by my bedside window, I couldn’t stop wondering where my fate took me. Rather should I say how I took refuge in my fate! I can easily recollect when I wrote last and what I. Seems ages ago to me, but I knew I never bid adieu to my musings. And yet scared inside, what if musings parted me forever. Even then I will be eternally grateful for being with me short while and making my life worthwhile.
I remember or rather strain myself to remember the uncertainty. I went through for the past few months. Life was good in those evenings. Perched in the porches with people in the blissful non-chalant ambience with books aside. The ease with which everything went, switching topics, heated arguments, threatening looks, daring to contradict and the never ending Chronic conversations. The transition therefore to follow was unknown then. Nothing remains the same and not everything changes.
I was away for a while. And today I am back, back to being myself. I could only wonder that it was this rain that rained today made me write. Was it a writer’s block that prevented me from pampering the paper? I remember writing in my mind every time when I talk with me as I walk. May be writing warrants a quiet contemplative pensive mood, rather than a talkative walk? May be I can consider sitting in an asana position with pen and paper aside meditating. Dissolving into the surroundings for better contemplation, so that I can wake up and write. Blessed will be the writers when they perform a ‘Puja’ to get their gift in return or still easier is to get a piece of Creative writing with a flick of wand by a non-verbal spell “Amusingness”.
It is the complete participation in life with a genuine interest and keen observation of things around us that evokes the magic of muse. It is the ability to view the subtle trivial beauties of life with an uncanny yet a healthier wonderment. One can easily find these attributes in R K Narayan’s works, one of the greatest writers ever of times. He had his own share of ups and downs in life and having made out of it helped him to prove his inherent nature/ability of being the best story-teller. Yet sometimes it can be a real threat to one’s ability to write, but the only panacea to it is to keep writing no matter what. Great Writers and famous authors always advise amateurs to keep writing to improve, but they tend to forget that writing continuously or continuous writing can turn life to a disaster. Amateurs, unlike me who take the words of such people, “their gurus” seriously, in the other way round, often fall a victim to continuous writing.
Continuous writing should be to give in enough efforts, try new kinds of writing, to attain perfection and not merely to enter Guinness records. There are times when I took continuous writing seriously and wrote pages and pages to stop suddenly to find my fountain pen running out of ink. I couldn’t continue for a simple yet a genuine reason for I couldn’t find an ink-bottle in vicinity; it must be certainly a good day for the papers, for I did hear mutterings of silent prayers for survival. If my guess is right, they ended their jubilant celebrations with an excellent feast.
There are times when my creativity overflowed, overwhelmed with thoughts for I couldn’t write a single line as I didn’t know what to write first. It was like as if all my thoughts in total threatened to desert me if I don’t give them first priority. Trust me. It was the most difficult moment in my life. I realized what a total dumb-bell I am when it comes to choice. I cried, wailed, howled till midnight like a banshee for an unknown, unreasonable reason. I knew that the moment which I feared the most in my life will come true. ‘The death of my writing’. I sat silently mourning for the rest of the night. As the dawn came, I prepared for the rest. Dressed in black, I got out of my house carrying my note-book like a child’s prized possession. On reaching my garden, I began digging a small grave to bury my ‘dead child’. I stood wistfully for hours together; till I realized that I lost something which I should not have. It was a deep peep into the past, reliving the nostalgia. Now I realize that my Reverence was so true that I could have easily composed the ‘World’s Best Elegy’, if I hadn’t buried my ‘Note-book’.
I sincerely regret.
People, especially great writers like me (if I become one) should understand that there are times in life when one cannot write, in spite of all sincere efforts. They should not feel bad or guilt about it; everything happens for a reason (preferably good if taken in the right sense). It cost me my first elegy (The world’s Best) to learn this lesson. For I’ve also learnt another lesson: “Nothing comes free.”
Great moments often catch us unaware, also great pieces are written unaware.
It was in one such moment, though as usual when all my the thoughts in total threatened to desert me if I don’t take one in particular, I came up with my Masterpiece!
I gave in my best efforts and chose none, for I knew all my thoughts are great and why disgrace one by choosing another. And my masterpiece was ready to be printed in the morning. I sent it to publisher (it’s not difficult to find one these days, for they are greatly listed in Yellow pages, it is as easy as getting a cab) who sent it back to me with an enclosed abusive note for wasting his time.
I felt terribly down. Emerson came to my rescue: “To be great is to be misunderstood”.I took the “Blank Paper’, my masterpiece and kept it safely in my diary. For now I knew the truth that I was born ahead of time and my audience is not yet born. I realized that the publisher’s have no literary knowledge or basic literary sense. Had they known Keats “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter” no publisher would have dared to let go a masterpiece unpublished. A great shame has befallen the literary world. My life of writing for the past one decade minus eight years has seen such many brutal acts of refusal.
It is Frost who keeps my writerly life alive by his quote “And Miles to go before I sleep”.
I realized that if there can be anything more threatening to a writer than Writer’s block, it is the immense difficult art of naming a piece of writing, for writing can be spontaneous, but naming is instantaneous. And here I confess to my unborn audience that it is the Baptist’s block that scares me more than a Writer’s block
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