Lets Answer Some Questions (Liebster Award)

So I have I have been nominated for the prestigious Liebster award by the lovely lady M. Saluja, but unfortunately I do not accept award nominations anymore. However, this particular award nomination came along with a very interesting list of questions that I would love to answer, simply because it gives me an opportunity to introspect even more than I usually do.

If the world is going to end tomorrow, what would you do?

I have often pondered over this question, if I were to know life ends tomorrow, what do I do today? Well, the most honest answer I have come up with is: nothing. My mind would be too chaotic to allow me to do anything but think of finding some way to avoid the impending disaster. But if I somehow manage to convince myself that the world is guaranteed to end and there is no escape, I would sit quietly and reach the deepest corners of my mind and jot down whatever comes to me at that point, then pass it to whoever is in a similar state as mine.

When did you think that you have grown up?

I have not grown up. I don’t think I will in the near future.

If you can trade your life for something, what would you ask for in return?

I won’t trade my life for anything unless it is to save humanity or some unrealistic scenario like that.

What is your deepest desire?

My deepest desire is to cause some sort of a revolution. Not necessarily a social one, maybe an academic or artistic one? I do not know how or what, but being the cause of a great revolution seems like a dream come true to me. Catalyze a big change in some way.

If you have unlimited money and time, what would you do?

Follow my deepest desire(s).

Who is your idol and why?

I simply do not have one. Having an idol implies that you wish to be like them in ways more than one. I have not seen a single individual who has impressed me with their ways in so many fields that I wish to emulate them everywhere. Nope.

If you are to write history again, what would you change?

I wouldn’t change a thing. If I wiped off the World Wars, they would take place but at a different time. Maybe at a time when the world couldn’t afford to have a war of such immense magnitude that could potentially wipe off existence as we know it. It is the horrors of our previous experiences that makes us learn lessons and change our ways in the future. Changing history would mean changing the present and the future. Maybe, we would be having a Holocaust in 2015 if history were any different.

Which is your favorite classical work and why?

There are plenty, but the one that comes to mind is Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Raven’.  The narrative and the tone of the poem are beautiful and I just love the Gothic quality that the poem carries.

If you get a chance to meet someone from past or present, whom would you prefer meeting?

There are too many names here! Lots of writers, film makers and musicians that I would love to meet and ask them questions about their art. But right now the one name that comes to my mind is Indian poet and novelist Jeet Thayil. There are so many questions that I would ask him about his poems, about his book, his life, and also his musical projects!

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‘Incredible’ India

The French lady was excited

She had heard a lot about this exotic nation!

She looked around with a child’s curiosity at the temple

However she was stopped

They asked her to step aside

‘You can’t go in wearing clothes like those!’

‘It’s against the culture, cover yourself up!’

She reluctantly wrapped a towel around her skirt

Walked into the temple with watered down excitement

She looked around 

The place was filled with sculptures of explicit nudity

Sculptures of obscene polygamy and voyeurism on full display

Confused, she kept walking…

On Enlightenment and Ship of Theseus

So I recently saw Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus and was quite baffled and, to be honest, a little dissatisfied with the ending. The movie is visually stunning and philosophically challenging in some ways but the rather ambiguous ending made me think about the way the entire movie is structured, focus on particular scenes and try and find some ulterior motives behind some of the seemingly innocent symbols. The entire movie which revolves around three character stories who undergo organ transplants and face conflicts has the underlying theme of life and identity. The fact that every character who undergoes an organ transplant faces conflicts regarding their identity and purpose of existence is so well portrayed that you as a viewer can’t help but introspect and find meaning and maybe a reflection in this movie. The title of the movie refers to The Theseus Paradox
If Theseus’s ship is damaged and the damaged parts are replaced by new parts is it still the same ship?
If the discarded parts are used to build an entirely new ship then which of the two is the actual Ship of Theseus?

In all three stories the characters reach a stage of conflict. Is creativity nature or nurture? Is it fair to kill a being to save another, no matter how small or insignificant the being might be? Is it fair to ditch an ideology that you’ve been following and preaching your entire life? What really is our greatest motivation, money or humanity? Can money buy happiness and/or justice?
I think questions are what pave the path to enlightenment. Does quest for truth always begin with conflict? Seems so. And if so, should this conflict always be a Heart vs Mind conflict?

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The ending of the movie shows a video of a man walking through a cave with a flashlight. As I said, it’s an ambiguous ending. I believe the ending might be a reference to Plato’s Allegory of the Clave. The story of the clave is about a group of individuals who have been imprisoned, since their birth, in a cave and tied with chains in such a way that they cannot view themselves or their surroundings but only the blank wall they face. Behind them is a fire by a low wall. People walk into the clave behind the wall carrying puppets in such a way that shadows are cast on the blank wall thanks to the fire, but only of the puppets that they carry. As these shadows are the only thing the prisoners ever see, that is the only idea they have about reality. If a prisoner is freed and taken out into the world, he’ll reach a state of extreme conflict as to what reality actually is. Eventually he’ll get adjusted to the light, life and colours of the actual reality and taking pity on the imprisoners would want to free them. However, upon entering the cave he is blinded by the darkness just as he was by the light when he was taken out of it. The prisoners upon hearing of the plight of the freed man who is now incapable of seeing ‘reality’ (the dancing shadows of the cave) would develop a fear of the outer world and would never want to leave the cave.
However, when the man walks into cave with a flashlight, the problem of being blinded is solved and the other prisoners are introduced to a new reality sans the conflict. This tool, technology, bridges the gap between the actual reality and our one dimensional perspective of it. One of the best scenes in the film is of the blind photographer using a device that reads out instructions to her so she can use the device for editing her photographs with great ease. Very few people know that this idea is actually an in-film invention and one that hasn’t been implemented yet.
Is technology our way to enlightenment? Is enlightenment Googleable? Will we, as the Posthuman theory states, build an ultra intelligent machine, one that surpasses all our intellectual abilities and lead us all out of the dark cave we are imprisoned in? A machine , after all, is built with a purpose. It’s identity is defined in a few technical terms. It leads a simple existence and will never face the Mind vs Heart conflict. What kind of enlightenment will that be then?

Lost In The Moment

He and She were in the garden
Sitting under a tree
By a quiet mound
Sitting quietly
He held her hand
She shivered
And gave him a delicate nudge
A faint smile broke across their faces
She let go of his hand
Picked a flower from nearby
And began playing with it
He sat watching her quietly
There was romantic tension in the air
Suddenly He wrapped his arm around her
Pulled her closer to himself
It was the first time they were enjoying
Since their infant died
The boy had climbed a table
And walked out of the window
Fallen down to his death…
She was giggling as He pulled her closer
It was a relief for him to see her not crying anymore
She placed her palm on his face
And stared into his eyes
Tired they were
They had been all this time
But now there was life in them
They had made it through
And were happy again
Cuddled very close to each other
Listening to the sound of their breathing
Lost in a moment of heavenly love
Finding ultimate solace in each other’s company

They heard bustling of leaves
A chick fell from the tree
Rolled down the mound
Right next to them
There were ants all around it
Feeding on its flesh
Hollow eyes with worms piled inside
It was twitching with the activity inside
Putrid stench emanating from the carcass
She was on her knees, crying
He kicked the corpse in a fit of rage
She wept hysterically
Shattered and helpless
He stood in silence…

Straight From The Heart

It’s ridiculous how I function
I might be at my lowest
Feeling depressed as ever
And yet I watch a sad film
Listen to stories of agony
Fill myself with more melancholia
Empathise with others pain
And feel it with mingling with my own
I guess I’m a masochist
Suffering is a must
Why not enjoy it?
‘Expose yourself to uncomfortable zones and you’ll grow’ they say, my whole life has been an uncomfortable zone and I want to grow out of it
My mind is a glass box
Sometimes I worry it will shatter
And truth will pour out
Bloody and bruised by the shards of glass
They say people who feel lonely tend to notice ants a lot, ants always move in groups and you want to be part of one- I have hallucinated them
Darkness surrounds me
There is an emptiness inside
Yet I feel so full of demons
From the top of my lungs to the bottom of my heart I scream, at the chasm in between, and this path of misery
My mind is an abyss, cold, dark and empty
A flash of lighting, it is only my nihilism
Yet I expose myself to more pain
I guess it makes me feel more human
But I always hated them
My whole life I’ve never felt like I belong somewhere, I feel alienated in my own space. Never been anyone’s top priority, I remain just an honourable mention…

Walk Through A Park

He stood on the pathway
And glanced as far as he could
Happy people, happy children
Playing in the wood
Dressed in a long coat
A hat and a scarf
His face was concealed
Leaving only his eyes
He looked at the children
Laughing, running, playing
Their laughs won’t last long
He saw adults
He saw poison in their smiles
Dirt in their thoughts
Human termites
He walked on
Every step bringing him closer
To the world that had discarded him
They had scarred him
And now they stared
Long stares
Not concealing their discomfort
They threw him out of their perfect world
And now looked him down
The loner, the recluse
They had scarred him
He saw two kids fighting
Their parents trying to stop it
No use
They’ll be fighting the rest of their lives
Against the very world they were born in
The world that will reject them
And then scar them
He didn’t remember much of his childhood
Except for hiding from people
Trying to conceal his ugly
They had scarred him
The park was to make him feel good
But it reminded him of misery
Of hollowness and hypocrisy
Of dark thoughts behind fake smiles
Of people who live happy…
Tears in his eyes
They scarred him
A girl stopped by
She saw his face
Her eyes bulged
‘How did you get those scars?’
He walked away

Shattered Dreams

There was much chaos in the city
Someone is stealing our bulbs!
The stores were robbed first
Then the houses nearby
People unhappy
The robberies spread
Small they were, but annoying
Leaving people in darkness momentarily
The government should do something
Said an unhappy shopkeeper
He had candles burning in his bangles store
Robbery is a great sin, God will punish the thief
Said the temple priest
He never spoke of the issues of the city
But now his own backyard had been robbed of its light
We will look into the matter
Said the policeman
As the journalist wrote it down
Disinterested, trivial news it was
Nonetheless bulbs were being stolen
One night there was a flame
Outskirts of the city, the poor mans colony
And people arrived on the scene
A hundred bulbs lay on the ground
In a circle, perfectly round
Attached by wires to a generator
But it was an old one
And had caught a fire
They put it out
And found a boy standing nearby
Crying, looking at the mess…

The thief had been caught!
He was taken to custody
A slum boy of seven
Verbally impaired, ugly and dishevelled
An orphan with no future
The police held him responsible for the robberies
They asked him why he had stolen them
With tears in his eyes
The boy pointed at the moon
They put him behind bars
There were no windows
He sat and stared at the bulb in his cell
He couldn’t see the moon anymore
Neither the shattered bulbs…