A Pale Palimpsest

Rejected by your past
And now you have moved
To a point distant
From where you left off
A once seemingly final
And absolute place
A crippled soul lying in rot
And a newer one shabbily superimposed
And your eyes reflecting
The play of this two layered world
Of distortion and romance
Of confusion and ambition
Of damage and beauty
Of death and destiny
Complementing and contradicting
A war between two selves
Neither is true
And you will never fathom
The complexity
Or the impending disaster
The relative motion of both 
Caught in an ebb and flow
Inculcating and appropriating
Snippets along the way
Of left over spirits
And discarded feelings
And hand-me-down love 
Under the mercy
Of a vision
Of tomorrow.
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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!

War With Words 

Words fail you sometimes 

When they can’t contain the feelings 

When you can’t put into words

What you envision in your mind

And instead ram your fist into a wall

Now the paper will taste your blood

When it flows down your knuckles

Your mind feels like it will explode

Words exorcised your demons

Every thought burns a scar on your soul

But leaves not a mark on paper

None of your ideas materialise

You’re breaking a cold sweat now

But the AC is on, its cool breeze 

Flows mockingly over your hot head

You thought words were your own 

But they failed you like a wife cheating on her husband 

You might yell but inspiration gives you a deaf ear

It sucks when words fail you

Because sometimes they’re all you have 

On Writing: Introspection And Catharsis

August 2015.
It was exactly a year ago when I had seriously considered meeting a therapist. A month away from turning 18, I was the cliché emotional mess of an average teenager who loved to believe that he was a special snow flake. I was drowned in self-pity and struggling in a sea of insecurities like every other teenager. I still had the courage to believe there was some amount of special in me but much too often doubts would creep up about my own self-worth. I never really met a therapist but found a medium to lay bare my raw emotions.
I have always suffered from a terribly low self-esteem. I have had many friends over times that have been kind enough to hear me out and let me vent myself out to them. But my inconsistent self-esteem has made sure that all my friendships based on trust and affection has been broken. You know you suffer from really low self-esteem when you think nervously about whether your friend is interested in hearing you out or when you feel apologetic about writing yet another post about depression. Your mind is constantly saying to you “What makes you think they’re even interested?”. Writing allows me to break free from the shackles of low self-esteem and showcase my true inner self without the constant pecking from my brain about not being good enough. When I read articles and poems written by me, I always feel it is me exploring my flaws and gaining a therapeutic release from them.
Since childhood if there is one thing about my life that I would like to change it is the fact that I have never been able to unleash myself. I have always felt like a wild animal tied to a chain and every time I try to escape, the leash tightens around my neck. I have suffered too long from this suffocation. I have had too many moments of suppressed anger. I have had too many internal battles trying to decide whether I should give in to a crowd that I am a complete stranger to, or shoot my middle finger to the sky and be the rebel I have always dreamt of being.
Writing gives me that canvas I so long for to let out the bottled up shit inside me. It is supreme catharsis for me. It’s where I am the king and the lone warrior fighting imaginary battles that I regret not having fought, it’s where the bloodlust takes over and I reveal the beast of carnage that has always resided in me. Writing gives me the freedom to not care about damaging any reputation. It opens the gateway to my dream world, where I live as I please with no expectations, or the baggage of guilt, of misunderstanding and disappointments. It’s the world where I no longer have to prove myself as being ‘up-to-the-standards’ of monkeys who have no significance whatsoever in my life. Heck, it’s the world where stupidity is condemned and hypocrites are slaughtered.
As a child I always preferred to play by myself. I loved being alone and played my own little games, I would fantasize I were a king or an actor of a film or a singer in a huge concert. As an adult, writing gives me the license to be what I want to be. I, as a writer, am a creator and puppeteer of whatever I wish to create. It might be a gothic king or a dark warlord; I play the master and not a mediocre student with subdued flamboyance. The game is mine and I rule this playground.
I have always wished to be exiled from this world and spend a day alone, by myself and left with my own thoughts. I would love to sit and contemplate and jot down my thoughts no matter how dark, vulgar or disturbing they turn out to be. Without having realised it, I believe writing has gotten me close to fulfilling that fantasy because when I sit to write a poem or an essay I lose myself into my own mental space and my physical being becomes irrelevant. It is a meditation of sorts, or maybe a spiritual journey but it is not guided by norms created by stupid conformists. I float silently in that mental space, surrounded by an infinite dreamy visuals and the peace I have always longed for.

On Poetry

Poetry is prayer for the Godless

It is communication for the junkies

It is the way of life for hippies

Poetry is where words merge together

Lines have no beginnings and no end

It defies form and sometimes logic

It breaks the rules

Poetry is the language of rebellion 

Portrayal of beauty

A reflection of life

A moment of thought

An exercise of emotion and grammar

Poetry is chaos

Where reality and imaginary have no difference 

A collection of random sentences

That can create perspective or alter it…

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?

IMG_0956

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?

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…