Wednesday, November 7, 2012

All grown up

I've recently begun to understand the structure of the process that people call 'growing up'. It's quite simple. The vitriolic resistance for your shortcomings is replaced by a smug delight sauteed in their familiarity. Your vices are glorified, projected on a slick high definition screen of moral ambiguity. And all that you ever held as outdated and moribund becomes inheritance. Family feuds, food preferences, social beliefs and Fareeda Khanum ghazals. Amelia Airheart said she flew because 'it released her mind from the tyranny of petty things'. With all due respect to her passion, it's why any of us work. To grow up. To re-prioritize so as to label 'comfort' as 'no.1'. Comfort has the capability of killing off the strongest of passions. Put money and sex in one basket and love and tedious hardwork in the other, and you'll see basket 'a' knock basket 'b' out of the park. The whole point of working is to lose sight of what is important so as to resent your life when it's beyond the point of redemption. It's part of a larger process called 'death'. Ash ridden, liquor soaked evenings of little relevance become anchors of a ship sailing to a place that no one wants to go to. And you even find a woman to love and a house to live in along the way. And you find joy in little things. And when you lie down in bed alone listening the magical concept of music put to poetry (ghazals) you wonder what makes you happy. What you want to do. What you want to be. You wonder what you want from life. You wonder where you came from, where you came to and where you want to go. And the only real answer that comes back to you is your annual tax liability. Growing up isn't anything like it should be. It is a self indulgent moment where you pride yourself on saving money on grocery by buying the family pack of maggie. It has ironed clothes and corporate cards instead of the grand illusion. Growing up is cowering, depending and losing and being ok with it. Growing up is folding a handkerchief with a dexterity that was up till now absent from your sleeves. As Eliot put it: "This is the way the world ends: Not with a bang but a whimper"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Words with a wordsmith

1: Do we consider ourselves intelligent? Or are we actually? 2: I always defined intelligence as a profound realization of one's lack of wisdom and relevant knowledge.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Revolving Paths

I move like a Knight moves on a chess board. 2 and a half steps whatever way, and never in the same direction. It always has been my favorite piece on the chess board. It can leap over lesser pieces. It can move odd directions. It can deviate paths. It can go 4 places or more at once, even when surrounded by a bunch of pieces. It can check and mate a king. A well fortified king. A king surrounded and entrapped in his own people. It can lead the van and stale advances. It can travel great distances in but a few moves. Oh, and ofcourse there's the romance well attached with the notion. The Knight, the self employed fool. The taker of risks. The paragon of justice. The protector of the poor. The keeper of courtesies. But what is the bane of the Knight? It is a slave to it's own ways. It's ill designed for simpler tasks. Meaningless tales. Deeds unworthy of song. Battles short on glory. Taking a shit in gilded steel. Even on an empty chess board, with a straight path to follow, it must resign to 2 and a half steps, whatever way, and never in the same direction.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

End of disc 1. Insert disc 2. Or don't and watch disc 1 all over again. Analyze the good and the bad parts. Learn up the lines and obsess over it. Do you know the intertia you feel when the fucking dvd makes you get up so you can watch the second part of a movie. It's these little movements that irritate me. And what's worse is when you make all the effort and actually do change the disc, to find disc 2 scratched. That it doesn't play smooth. That it doesn't go beyond a point. I don't know shit of what I'm saying. I've been reading too much Bukowski. And I'm drunk. Good night.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Clash Of Kings

"These are Knights of summer" said Lady Catelyn "they will start shedding at the first sign of winter".

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Storm Of Swords

“But I am not certain it was in Rhaegar to be happy.” “You make him sound so sour,” Dany protested. “Not sour, no, but... there was a melancholy to Prince Rhaegar, a sense...” The old man hesitated again. “Say it,” she urged. “A sense... ?” “... of doom. He was born in grief, my queen, and that shadow hung over him all his days.” Viserys had spoken of Rhaegar’s birth only once. Perhaps the tale saddened him too much. “It was the shadow of Summerhall that haunted him, was it not?” “Yes. And yet Summerhall was the place the prince loved best. He would go there from time to time, with only his harp for company. Even the knights of the Kingsguard did not attend him there. He liked to sleep in the ruined hall, beneath the moon and stars, and whenever he came back he would bring a song. When you heard him play his high harp with the silver strings and sing of twilights and tears and the death of kings, you could not but feel that he was singing of himself and those he loved.”

Monday, May 14, 2012

Game of Thrones II

"And why do you show this kindness to my brother, Imp?", Tyrion seemed to take no notice of the slight and said, "I have a soft corner in my heart for bastards, cripples and broken things."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Game of Thrones I

“Is there a man in your service that you trust utterly and completely?” “Yes,” said Ned. “In that case, I have a delightful palace in Valyria that I would dearly love to sell you,” Littlefinger said with a mocking smile

Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Every man, at some point in his life, suspects himself of one of the cardinal virtues, mine was honesty."
- F Scott Fitzgerald,
The Great Gatsby.


Forgiveness is not a sign of strength. It is an indication of a lack of conviction. Vengeance is not a sign of strength either. It is simply an indication of one's lack of creativity. "Fucking hell, he slapped me! Fucking! I'll slap him!". See what I mean? A severe lack of creativity.
Why is the Godfather such a great movie?
Besides the fact that Copolla is a magician working with two demi-gods (Al Pacino and Marlon Brando), the theme of the movie is gratification of whatever kind, bound by pragmatism. The movie doesn't pander. At no point does it slip it's hands into your pants and tries giving you a boner. It undresses in the most natural way.
It's why Al Pacino seems so real. Because at no point through the series does he make a decision to make you feel better about the world. He finds out about the fact that the mole from within his organization was his brother. Unlike most stories, where he'd forgive him or go after him, he does neither. He proves himself strong enough to be indifferent. You can feel the one million mutinies in his body, the many revolts amongst his many sensations, when he takes Fredo's face in his hands, with a strange conviction and kisses him with the kind of spite that only a brother can warrant, he looks into Fredo's eyes and expresses himself as simply as he can, "I know it was you Fredo, you broke my heart". Fredo eventually has to die. Not because of vendetta or karma. He has to die because of the principle of causality. He has to die because a system has to work and he isn't strong enough to let the system sacrifice someone else or change the system. He has to die because, that is what happens to the traitors when a plan to de-throne the Emperor fails. It doesn't matter who you are. Brother, lover, friend. The Emperor is the emperor before being any of these things. And if precedent, convention and causality call for death, a dispassionate death, one even without a simple motivation of vengeance, so be it.
You see what this system of forgiveness doesn't take into account is the fact that a mistake is accidental. A mistake can be forgiven. But a plot to de-throne the Emperor, isn't a mistake. It's a bad decision. And by the principal of causality all bad decisions must live through their consequence, "one ill turn deserves another". I'm only writing this because of the astonishing number of people who don't understand the difference between 'a bad decision' and a mistake. Because of the number of people who've tried to teach me the virtues of forgiveness. People have to go long distances to earn forgiveness. Earn being an important verb. I hate it when 'forgive' becomes the verb. Forgiveness must be earned, not gotten. It's hard to earn forgiveness. Judas had to hang himself.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"They all deserve to die,
I'll tell you why Mrs. Lovett,
Tell you why.

In all of the human race Mrs. Lovett,
there are two kinds of people,
and only two,
there's the one staying put in his
proper place,
and there's the one with his foot
in the other man's face,
look at me Mrs. Lovett,
look at you.

No, we all deserve to die,
tell you why Mrs. Lovett,
tell you why,
because the lives of the wicked
should be made brief
for the rest of us death will be a
we all deserve to die,
Even you Mrs. Lovett, even I."

- Sweeny Todd,
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Food for thought

Famished thoughts
and carnivorous dreams
get along
or so it seems,

till dreams gnaw away
as carnivores must
at simpler thoughts
that still persist

and get in the way
of multi-layered plots
and zealous dreams
and reasoned thoughts

I compromise my thoughts
at the altar of my dreams
poets can be villains too,
or so it seems.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

On being fine

There's a particular manner in which inconspicuous and enigmatic old men smoke cigarettes. Dry lips and wet palates, it's nostalgic to a point where you feel like they aren't smoking in the present, but smoking by association, in an older glory. They should ban long standing gentlemen from smoking, it's far more enticing than any screen moron doing it.

Being an intern, is an exercise in taming the pride of youth; the independence that undiminished, leads to either death or glory. So, I wandered aimlessly in a premier Indian journalistic organization, with no recognition, and mild sympathy from my colleagues. Besides learning that I do not want to be a journalist (special thanks to a cover journalist with a sub-human IQ and a lovely young copywriter who took an interest in deconstructing a non existent work environment for me), I learnt of inconspicuous, weathered old men.

In the hope of finding something mildly inspiring, I, the intern, decided to take a walk near the staircase (synonymous with smoking room for all print media establishments), where I saw a 5 feet 8', 60 something years old man relishing a cigarette. He smiled at me in full recognition of my presence on that staircase and almost as a conditioned reaction searched his kurta-pocket for his cigarette pack. He drew the pack out and presented it to me as a man his age would, a blessing. 'Would you like one?' he said, brisk and well-enunciated and just like that started up a conversation as genteel as the one we have about the weather, only nicer.

He had studied in a premier boarding school pre-independence and had gone to England to study. He had worked a while in different organizations, found some success and had returned eventually to fight a losing battle for the sanctity of the print media. He had returned to find deft touches replaced by loud colors. To find that wordplay and references had been replaced by jarring alliteration and disturbing use of font. He seemed harrowed and happy. A soldier who knew the battle was lost. He was just happy he fought, and happy that he was going to be gone before the New Order had time to establish itself. Kurta, glasses, titan-watch, loose jeans, receding hairline and perfect English intact, he was an Aragorn-of-sorts.

I was walking lazily up the staircase next morning, when I saw him and said, 'Good morning' his body jolted into an absolute response, the kind you get from people who really are looking for conversation. He said,'to you too, young sir. And how are you today?' and I said, 'I'm good' and halted just a while to finish off the cursory conversation. He lit his cigarette looked at me nonchalantly said, 'I wonder when fine became good'. And mumbled to himself in several tones, 'I'm fine'.

In one response he embodied the in-exactitude of everyday conversation. The unnecessary positive overtone of fast food marketing. The assumption that if you weren't miserable, the other condition, the compromised condition the world gave to you, was good. I have embraced the compromises I've made with that which surrounds me and I'm fine. Getting better.
'Why do they swoon Charlie? Tell me why they swoon?'

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I've known"

- Ernest Hemmingway

Monday, January 16, 2012

'Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
Thus let me, unlamented die,
Steal from the world,
And not a stone tell where I lie.'

- Solitude,
Alexander Pope

Another snippet of the epic

Gandalf: Hail Denethor! Son of Ecthelion, Lord and Steward of Gondor, I come with tidings in this dark hour and with counsel.

Denethor: (sobbing) Perhaps you come to explain this. Perhaps, you come to tell me why my son is dead.

Gandalf: My lord there will be a time to grieve for Boromir, but it is not now. War is coming! As Steward you are charged with the defence of this city! Where are Gondor's armies?

Denethor: (spitefully) You think you are wise Mithrandir. Yet for all your subtleties you have not wisdom! Do you think that the eyes of the white tower are blind? I have seen more than you know. With your left hand you would use me as a shield against Mordor and with your right you would seek to supplant me. Oh yes, I know who rides with Theoden of Rohan. News has reached my ears of this, Aragorn, Son of Arathorn, and I will tell you now I will not yield to this ranger from the North, last of a ragged house, long bereft of Lordship!

Gandalf: Authority was not given to you, to deny the return of the King; Steward!

Denethor: The rule of Gondor is mine! And no other's!

A snippet of the epic

Pippin: Here do I swear fealty to Gondor, in sickness and in health, in living or dying, till my Lord release me, or death take me.

Denethor (bemused): And I shall not forget it, nor fail to reward that which is given, fealty with love, valor with honor, disloyalty (grave); with vengeance. (to Faramir in the corner now) I do not think we should so lightly abandon our outer defenses, defenses that your brother long held intact...

Faramir: What would you have me do?

Denethor: (assertive) I will not yield the river in Pelenor unfought. Osgilliath must be re-taken...

Faramir: (pleading) My lord, Osgilliath is overrun-

Denethor: -much must be risked at War (cold). (Pause) Is there a captain here, who still has the courage to do his Lord's will?

Faramir: (hesitates) You wish now that our places had been exchanged, that I had died (hesitates) and Boromir had lived.

Denethor: (wrenching) Yes,,,I wish that

Faramir: (Resigned) Since you were robbed of Boromir, I will do what I can in his stead. (turns, walks and stops) If I shall return, think better of me father.

Denethor: (still wrenching) That will depend on the manner of your return.
Behind blue eyes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Remember, remember, the 11th of December!

Inevitably on the 11th this poem comes back to me and fails to lose it's relevance. 4 years in a row now, with absolutely different reasons:

Where now are the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the harp on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the deadwood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

Belated happy birthday.

War and Peace

An interesting thought that I came across while listening to a business luminary was on the division of labor.

He said that even in business organizations there were 'war-time' soldiers and 'peace-time' soldiers. That the former in the latter's place and vice versa were no better than a shepherd with a violin. That got me thinking. And it rings true now that I think about it. In the finer shades of gray, where you can typecast people, there are those of us who have always found un-ending marsh lands of conflict, and others who in the middle of a blitzkreigs have star-gazed in their Oases.
Then there are those of us, outside of the shades of gray under the ambit of white or black, bound by our state of being more than our stream of thought. Those of us who are forever restless. Those of us who are always consuming energy. Those of us with constantly shifting feet. Those of us with a high propensity to consume anything that comes our way. Those of us with inflated self images. Those of us with virulent ideas of loyalty. Those of us who battle the hostilities within them, till they give in to them, and embrace them. Then they see the world differently. They see the world as a series of subjugations. And like a sport they start keeping count of when they subjugated and were subjugated. They begin to make love to their hostilities and end up married to them.
It is outside the shades of gray that the balance of the world is kept, between those of us who are warriors and those of us who are peacemakers. Conflict is the beginning and the end of everything.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"This is not life Will, it is stolen season."

Shakespeare in Love