Saturday, April 27, 2013


Beanstalk, at the Galaxy Hotel in Gurgaon has much to its credit; the cinnamon and caramel latte, the artwork on display, the grand piano and live music. Delightful pleasures, certainly, but none as charming as the latte art I encountered at a recent coffee date. 

As if the barista started out innocently enough with creating a chocolate heart, decided that it was too much of a cliche, thence attempted to turn it into a pentagram, shortly before panic struck and resulted in the tangled mess you see in the picture. 

Like a testament, to deliciously dysfunctional romance. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

On (the obligatory nature of) charity.

Random chance is neither fair, nor unfair. No one has a moral obligation to compensate for it. Why must charity be forced upon a person, or he be ostracized for not following suit because he finds it to be an absurd ideal? The privileged aren't automatically indebted to the universe, and the underprivileged don't get a karmic trust fund. If one chooses to subscribe to such fancies out of selflessness, goodwill or guilt, then it is entirely a matter of belief. By all means, one is free go ahead and rid oneself of the perceived debt or obligation he finds himself carrying(the question of perceptual error notwithstanding). One needn't waste empathy on a generalization as gross as a specie. If you give to those you take from, are not frivolous with your compassion, and your unfaltering devotion lies with the few things and people you pledge it to, for reasons more logical than the basis of blanket-term charity; then you must, at the very least, be spared the quasi-self righteousness. Constancy of purpose over moral convenience, always.


I miss certain things, so much more than I ever wanted them. And sweet heavens, I wanted them so so much, that the "wanting" and the "pursuit" was all that was left of me. As long as the hours are filled up with just a little more than they can contain, the days are bearable, and the nights are dispensable. It's when peace dawns that the real commotion sets in. When it's quiet, it's hard to bear being in one's own head.

An unfortunate state of affairs, it certainly is, that we've landed in this situation. Had we met elsewhere, in a different life, this would have panned out very differently I'm sure. But this world is a complicated place, and the only point of contact is also the core point of conflict. 

So what chance do we have?

A shrink in the making says that if there's one thing that's changed over the years, it's the fact that I've succumbed to "being more mainstream". I think I've merely identified a need to create a character that is more "mainstream", acquired the ability to vivify it, and the capacity to switch it on and off at will. As the years roll along, I'm not quite changing as much as I am growing several different people in one exceedingly capacious head.

If I say to you that the world as we know it is coming to an end, you wouldn't so much as raise an eyebrow. Sure, I believe you can move mountains with a flick of your little finger. Sure, you tread the earth like you own it. Sure, everything is a victory to you. And every conquest pushes you higher up on your pedestal. But would you ever change things, not because you could, but because you wanted to?

It gets crowded. So very crowded. Inside my head.

The puppetmaster is me, the puppets are also me. Each puppet a tiny part of my entire self. Each persona a tweaked and tuned modulation of the various behavioral patterns, memories and belief systems that make up a person, adjusted to just the right degree to attain a certain cause, a particular end, or a purpose, like the knobs and dials on a complex piece of musical equipment.

All these blogs I write that chronicle each one of these lives are all headed in separate directions, all over the place. I don't like where either of them are headed. Neither these people, nor their stories.The puppetmaster right in the middle is having his limbs torn out of his sockets, struggling to hold on to strings that just happen to exhibit incredulous tensile strength.

I woke up feeling 17 today. Led zeppelin playing in the head, spring in the step. It's been a while, but so easy ti is to map what was there then, to what is today. Things should have changed. I wish I could say "Oh, if only I had known the things I know today...", but the truth is, I cannot. I knew. And these 6 years, I haven't found enough new. I now need to fill up feathers and filling into my paragraphs because there is nothing more to be said about the things I already understood perfectly 6 years ago. Time froze, and so did I. Cryogenically, I hope.

To have power over people, is to either assert a clear and overwhelming intellectual superiority over them, or to seduce and subsequently exercise control. All in all, the keywords remain the same- overwhelm and seduce. But having lost the will for the former, and the moral sanction for the latter, I'm left to trifle with my modest lateral devices. Ah well, Machiavelli shall share a drink tonight.

Across all of civilization and culture, there is no single insult known to be more effective than a well-timed "point-and-laugh". Fact

Epiphany. Every thing, concept, incident, occurrence, phenomena and association is about control. Things controlling others, the number of things bearing the influence of control on a single object,  and the degree of the control. And in this system, power is all about the ratio of the degree of control one practices over objects/concepts/people external to oneself, to that which is exercised by external factors onto oneself.

Owning a fully-customisable cellphone is no joke for the obsessive-compulsive. The sheer amount of time that can be spent moving RGB sliders to get the lower side of the incoming chat bubble to the perfect shade of teal... the boggled mind boggles.

One of these days, they'll finally catch up to what I've been doing all along.

Best laid plans backfire. Using humor as a defense mechanism comes to bite you in just the wrong places. The problem? My decision to be amused by every thing that bothers me has led to strange results. The world now thinks I'm drunk all the time.

The digitized world leaves one in want of romance. There is, of course, romance in uncertainty. In doubt, unfavorable odds, inconvenience, tragedy and in nostalgia. It's hard to place what exactly is lost in the quantisation of things. I think it's the depersonalisation. We rarely think of emails fondly. It's the handwritten letters we archive for years.

Perhaps irrational masochism isn't all that irrational after all. 

I know the difference between strength and imperviousness. But in case of emergency, the latter is a serviceable substitute for the former.

Poignant it is, that all subtleties of the human condition now decay into abstruse facebook privacy settings. So very curious, this time and age.

...and in a grand ironic spectacle, I realize that even my disregard is insufficiently misplaced.

I was always told that my words were a gift. That they can do so much that most cannot. That they stir up the deepest of contentions, the strongest of passions, and the most obscure of sentiments. That they can control, contradict, charm and manipulate. Question, sully, extol, or taint. Inspire, persuade or demean. Refute, baffle, overwhelm, and glean. That till I have my words, all can be salvaged. So I've been trying to weave all my little words into alluring patterns and strings, to cast then off into the skies, hoping that somehow, somewhere, they'd land in a place that justifies their existence. Whether my cause has met the intent, I cannot say... but today, what I truly want is to draw ropes and forge chains out of all these little words. What power do they have, after all, if I cannot wrap them around a few things, and make them stay?

All I really want, is to meet one person everyday, who can tell me something I don't already know.

I don't even know what normal is, anymore.

You can either be one of the people who spend their lives talking about the others, or you can be the one they're all talking about. Not a tough choice to make.

Deceit, the world shall never decry.

Even the moon thrives on borrowed splendor.
Did I really ever see its dark side?

There is so much music to be found in this world. Everything that is, is music. All patterns, all statistics, all odds, and all objects. They flow, and so does the music. Words flow, and so do these numbers.

I can feel a storm coming.

This quill of mine,
today explodes with colour,
seeping into paper,
bleeding into wood.

Pieces of Radiohead, REM, and RHCP came together, got inspired by Afrobeat, and became Atoms for Peace. Excuse me while I go nuts.


Sometime during the while I graduated from having nightmares about explosions to having nightmares about cyclones, reality certainly became less of one. It hasn't nearly been half as cruel as I'd become accustomed to, and a new kind of freedom has been found, it seems. Not the "spread my wings and soar away" variety, but more of a "today, I decide to stop pretending these chains are made of anything more than yarn that I would have slashed away with a fingernail a long time ago, had they not have been a metaphor for something that was rather valuable once upon an unreal and delicately fragile time" kind.

I understand more about this thing people call "human frailty" than ever before. I still call it cowardice, of course... and you, being you, might scoff condescendingly at the fact and shake your head in misleadingly unconvincing exasperation, continuing to unleash upon this world a false sense of security that will forever remain your ultimate, all-serving escape route. But so be it. Like I've said before, this is the way of the world and the world, I will not argue with. It's too predisposed to its own frailties for that. 

Having witnessed my words lose all power the year before, this year was also about reclaiming faith in them. I said so much that needed to be said, in and to people and places, not so respectively. I said that everything in this life is compensated for, and my balance stands levelled and even. Keen and quivering ratio, yes, but balanced nevertheless. I said that these things happen and the victories are not absolute. Nothing, unless broken down to the microscopic level is binary data. And once we're there, we're both the same. Broken down, we're both the exact same sequence of 0s and 1s and QR codes. I said that proof by analogy is never a proof, and I refuse to use it to describe the degree to which our own intent governs our lives in contrast to pure entropy and probability. I said that my violent, passionate, disagreeable self will always be so, because it is the only thing I can be knowing the things I know. I said that I would always go to the greatest lengths to have my environment be a product of my actions, and not vice versa. That my life, my volition, my choices and my loves are entirely my own and so is the responsibility of bearing their consequences. I said that in this wild spinning world, we are specks in the whirlpool. Colliding, drifting, cracking, shifting, breaking, coalescing. When not a single point in these realms stays constant, what do we centre our world around except our own estimations of perspective and standard deviations? I proposed that we take the sum total of all existence, slice it in the dimensions of space and time, and capture a sliver of reality in our minds. Every premise sorted, every colour accounted for. That much of reality, you get to keep. I said a lot of things, and mean them as much today as I did then. I, being me, will continue to do so.

There is more than a glint of hope, you see. This year and a half has brought in a lot of change. Having previously escaped the traps of formal education, it was a concrete step towards making(not finding, for that is too passive) my place in the world. Places, people, cities, and a fair deal of altered states of mind. Green, amber, and the entire rainbow wedged in between. Inconvenient loves and some very convenient hate. Bright lights, and wild nights. It was also the year of fending off droves of the redundant, the fatuous and the wasteful, fighting gender biases tooth and nail, and fighting for the fact that I am responsible only for my own actions, even if the weight and blame makes good stuffing for a communal piƱata. The realisation that if the world insists on making me choose between wasting a lot of my time talking about it, or have it waste a disproportionate amount of its own talking about me, I might as well choose the latter despite the associated costs. 

The understanding that if I claim that a person is to be defined by their thoughts, beliefs, premises and ethos, then death is far more threatening a proposition than I ever imagined. Death, of course, of an entirely different sort. There were mountains and beaches and everything in between a million times over again. Music that you could touch, music that killed and resuscitated, music that broke, music that fixed, music that connected a hundred people through one feeling, music that set the air on fire, and music that made my heart want to explode. A lot of things made my heart want to explode, in ways good, bad, and honestly quite messy and ugly. But there is freedom. Never have I felt so wholly responsible for, so completely in control of my own life. Taxes, bills, and paying the rent. Living on my own, and breathing in a decidedly unhealthy amount of rarified oestrogen on a daily basis. 

But you shouldn't dwell, I implore. For "you", you must understand now, is not really you. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

This Day's Blurb.

Right Said Saif
Mcleodganj, March 2013