next to speaker

November 3, 2012

I have been standing next to the speaker for whole of my life.. I still remember my father describing vividly the night when Pandit Nehru first spoke in the house of a free nation. The enthusiasm, the honor and the optimism was infectious, every single one of them sitting there was filled with a resolve to do something for the nation. For the motherland that had been torn apart and reduced to debris by foreign rule. I could feel their hearts pounding, their hands taping on the desks, my dreams for my nation had no limits, we were all set to march forward and resurrect the nation, which had long been lost. On the shoulders of giants we were,  and so shall we stride, I affirmed silently but strongly to myself that, we would make those shoulders proud. That we would make those sacrifices count. My India was now rising from the ashes of so many setbacks, world would be surprised if we could even stand up on our feet, but we all knew, we had to do a ton more than that. To be able to witness all this must have been a blessing and an absolute privilege.

Then suddenly shouting howling and swearing wakes me up from my dream, as I watch  the leaders of today quarrel over scams, blaming each other for all the wrong that has happened. The speaker sits speechless, waiting for the scene to go just enough out of control, to be able to call it a day and go back home. As I see people getting out some are angry, some too sleepy to walk straight, some even laughing and patting each other over accomplishing another useless day.

How did it come to this, I wonder at times, I for one am not allowed to speak, but god only knows how much I want to. I stand there amongst the room full of people allegedly the ones supposed to lead the country to glory and all I see is utter chaos and disregard for duty and honor. All I see is people boxed in walls of scams, blatantly living untouched, unharmed. There are a few perhaps still serious about changing things for the better but they are an awful small minority. Sometimes I wish if I could shout at them or beseech them to see what they are doing, what chasm of unending downfall they are pushing their nation into, they might just snap out of it and become serious about their jobs, if I could snatch the mike from the speaker and shout at them not as a leader but as a simple Indian who wants to see a better tomorrow is there any chance they would listen. Can it be true that all they need is a speech to shake them up. Could the corrupt surrender to justice, could the avarice give way to duty. Could there be a better tomorrow if we simply start genuinely dreaming about it. Would they suddenly realize what they have made their nation into, would they get out of the filth of greed and hoarding everything till nothing is left or no there is no more space to hoard, could they be Indians again.. I do not know but if it could, believe me, I would speak my lungs out.

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To Exist

October 6, 2012

The city is silent. Lights are dim, and the night quite.. Neo sees the giant pillars of packed rooms. Are they safe he wonders, then suddenly..

C: I do not want to intrude if you wish to be alone (Councillor Hamann walks in, not all were sleeping after all! )

N (startled but also relieved): no I could use some company

C (smiles gently) : so could I

N (looks up the solid dark sky of earths crust and lets out a silent sigh): city is really quite

C: indeed, seems like everyone is sleeping peacfully

N: well not everyone!

C: I hate sleeping .. sometimes I feel I have slept for so long.. missed so much.

N: what do you mean

C (stares at the sky for moment then looks down the fathomless depth of zion, as if diving deep within himself): there is so much in this world Neo, that I don’t understand.. questions like why am I here, who am I, though they seem pertinent they also appear irrelevant at times, as though I would be able to do something about it if I knew..

N: knowledge gives us power to control.. its always for the better

C: is it really?! what if whole point of this orchestra of experiences, plethora of people was to learn to let go? what if bliss indeed lies in ignorance… and that knowledge is  just a cover up for what we are at the very core.

N: thats as may be.. but without control there would be total chaos

C: and whats so likeable about order.. I ask.. No one is better suited to comply with order than machines.. if to err is human, i reckon to embrace chaos is also just as much human..

N:  maybe it is, whats your point Councillor

C: (admits) I don’t know, may there isn’t any. Do you ever wish Neo that someday you would be able to peal of the pretense of existence and see once and for all what life is all about? When you would be able to remove the cloak of pleasant appearances people put on and see their real faces…., do you ever wish that someone would just snap you out of this dream of reality and you’ll see what real truly feels like? Doesn’t reality bother you Neo? are we pretending to be awake just because we are scared to admit that we are rather asleep? is Zion for real? are you?

N (is taken aback,  if Zion isn’t real, what is? ): I would like to believe it is (convincing himself as he speaks)

C: there you have it! its the belief that makes it real. Its this belief that makes you to exist. What if someday that belief gets shaken, if i were to convince you that to exist is to be perceived and that it has nothing to do with you. What would you do then?

N (questions are tormenting the already worried mind, as if the pictures from Osiris were not enough) : What are we without our beliefs counselor, aren’t those are foundation, so if those get shaken, yes we would fall.. At every step, at every moment reality bothers me, I am always forced to question its veracity, its meaning and its purpose. People bother me their pretense bothers me, When i look around i sometimes feel that all i am seeing is just a contrived existence frame after frame. How can that not trouble someone, Architect is good at his job after all, maybe even here! but you can question only so much, after that you have to start believing in something right? If what we got from Osiris is true soon there would be millions of machines trying to drill there way through this roof, would it be able to endure most definitely not. But we have to believe we can stop them, otherwise aren’t we already dead.

C(can feel the desperation in Neo’s voice): I know, I know (he reassures), but what if the propensity to get free, and illusion of succeeding at it.. is just another level of control. What if the splinter is not the epicenter of reason and contemplation what if its nothing but an implant. If the only thing separating real from the unreal is a belief. I would say its a close call.

N: I know but i would take it..

C (nods):I know you would, i did too, but i just wonder we freed these people, brought them to this “real” world only to let them question their choice?

N: We brought them here to believe.. Existence is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for life. You have to add purpose to it and for that you have to believe that its all for the better..

C: of course (pauses, then nodes again) ofcourse.. then believe shouldn’t we ?! (smiles)

N: yeah  indeed (smiles back)

Both stare at the city roof over the deck and hope (even if its a quintessential human delusion!) that some how the resistance would hold, but they both know that soon the steel would give way and ammunition would run out and at that dire time perhaps only respite would be a belief in unsuccumbing human will to survive and perhaps to matter. Reality of course would be second priority.

new world order

September 15, 2012

from the fire to the stone, to the moon to the clone

from the terror to the drone, then to the money to the loan

 

they changed the rules and rigged the game

they’ve made it sure, world would never be the same

they’ve implanted in us the idea of freedom

the idea of fun, and also that of boredom

 

they told us whats joy, and whats rightfully sorrow

what we would be owning, and what we’ll have to borrow

with consumption comes dependence they knew

production is so owned by those fortunate few

 

with greed for power reaching new levels

with freedoms being subdued and people reduced to pebbles

just what is free what is part of this control

what is my part, what is part of this whole

 

having fallen into a rut, we don’t seem to notice, nor do we seem to bother

perhaps this utter chaos is in fact the new world order

उम्मीद

June 25, 2012

जब जब देखा आईने में मैंने, एक अनजान सा चेहरा दिखा है
जब जब देखीं हाथ की रेखाएँ, बदलती सी लकीरें दिखीं हैं
गौर से देखा दुनिया को जब भी, पहेले सा कुछ भी नहीं है
नया है आसमान, नया सवेरा है, नयी सी किरने दिखीं हैं

बदलाव ने तोड़े हैं बोहोत से सपने
पर साथ ही बोहोत सी उमीदें जगीं हैं
सोचा है कईं बार लौट जाने की मन में
पर जैसे सफ़र से अब साँसे बंधीं हैं

कईं मोड़ बेमन से लेकर चलें हैं
पर दिल में कहीं यह आस छुपी हैं
फिर कहीं से वो राह मिलेगी
जिस पर हमेशा से आखें टिकीं हैं

शायद हर उस मोड़ का मकसद रहा हो
कोई भी कदम बेमानी नहीं है
सपनों के दम पर ही कायम है दुनिया
राहों में ही कहीं शायद मंजिलें छुपी हैं

Abstraction

June 16, 2012

I always thought that abstraction is a very useful, sometimes even indispensable, tool. It lets you control complexity, lets you build something bigger without getting overwhelmed with deluge of similar sets of details everytime. I treated it as a means to let rate of creation catch up with speed of imagination. However after having watched few minutes of a very interesting documentary something struck me.. perhaps the world of abstraction isn’t that blissful. Rather might be plagued with something quite detrimental.. over simplification. Does confining human expression to 26 characters ring a bell? is abstraction in language science and any other field over quantizing human interactions and perhaps even existence? there are uncountable numbers between two integers, there are infinite sounds between two syllables.. Aren’t we missing diversity of nature by this over generalization. This compartmentalization extends not just to means of expression but also to ways of life.. Suddenly getting decent education, good job and a house, a car and a pet friendly family have become more than enough data points to characterize a good life. Since when did “lived happily ever after” became more than enough information to describe a nice end. Aren’t we missing something by overlooking the nuances, by being less appreciative of variations. Since when did a burger, fries and a drink became a meal?! a pet and couple became a family?! where did we lose the richness of life to abundance of monotonicity. Why are we afraid of details, why have we become less appreciative of the complete spectrum, and decided on the contrary to pick only few bits and pieces which we find manageable? the more we think about it the more we start to feel that we are becoming part this huge assembly line of industrial life. In the name of efficiency we have delegated creativity as well and reduced ourselves to just passive consumers. If its necessary to draw boundaries of abstraction, sometimes its as important to cross them. If god is in details.. this oversimplification of existence appears to be a devil’s work.Let not dogmas dictate the reach of perception, let not self drawn periphery decide the extent of thoughts, let not subtleties be subdued and monotonicity triumph..

Satyamev Jayte

May 21, 2012

Finally something useful. Cinema and media in general are often seen as an attempt to escape from reality (along with its cumbersome problems and their unforeseeable solutions) into a neverland where either suddenly everything is beautiful or in most cases turns out that way eventually. This is terribly unrealistic. This is pretty similar to why people do drugs. Escapism even for a little while, seldom helps. But there is another side of this spectrum as well, where the reality is depicted in the crudest form, with utter disregard to hope and lacking even slightest traces of optimism.
Satyamev Jayte takes a different route. A middle path, if u will. An attempt to show society its own reflection, the way it is today, without any attempt to hide or manipulate the truth. Two things happen when we try to be true to ourselves. First we become fearless. Second we try to improve. Both are monumental achievements. It is critical here though that truth be told in a completely non judgmental way. People tend to be good listeners when they are not judged, neither the victims nor those who are culpable.
Indeed the episodes come with some horrifying stories of inhuman behaviour from the most unexpected people. Yes it arouses anger and disgust and leaves a big question mark on where we are taking our collective being. But it also embraces the people who despite being in the most awfully dreadful situations gather the courage to not just change their reality, rather are also brave enough to share their experiences for common good. This is why i consider this attempt as phenomenal.
Its been long since we have used the most widespread medium of communication in a constructive way. To simply sit and talk about problems and figure out what we can do about them. No matter how dark the reality be, its analysis can always be optimistic. I applaud SJ’s  team on their commitment to integrity, and for always ending with positive note. Songs are a wonderful medium of expression in their own right but when tied with such powerful context they can change lives.
If we are not liking what we are seeing in the mirror, the problem isn’t in the image or the mirror, its in us. Accepting the problem is the first step towards finding the solution. The way these problems have persisted though makes me question the way in which we have dealt with them or perhaps depicted them, clearly neither manipulation nor exaggeration of facts has helped. Hopefully this honest effort would. It is tremendously relieving and equally inspiring that in the end as it always has, truth and truth alone prevails.. and thankfully so.

Inner monologue

March 11, 2012

What disgusts you the most

Pretense..

What are you most afraid of

My mind..

What do you fantasize the most

A utopia

What fascinates you the most

Our endless pursuits

Do you value relationships

Not really

Are you proud of it

Not at all

What about feelings

They are superficial

What are we if not our feelings

I would like to believe we are something more .. permanent..

What do you think of this world, is it real

Its a grand idea..

That means.. unreal?

Not necessarily

Are you  a cynic

not yet

I think you are pretty close though

perhaps..

What differentiates life and existence

purpose

What is the worst human invention

Money

What is the best ..

Not sure, idea of abstraction i think .. perhaps its not an invention though .. a discovery may be

How significant is doubt

Its quintessential to learning

Is time an illusion

Yes

And change?

That too

Is there anything truely analog

No, only quantization varies.

Whats between quantization levels

Uncertainty

Is there God?

There has to be

Are there many?

No.. singleton

Why so ..

By definition

Do you believe in God

I think belief comes before God not after..

Given a choice what would you rather do, live or die

live

Given a choice what would you rather take Solitude or the world

Solitude

Isn’t it running away from the world

Maybe it is, but its still better than running away from yourself

Is there something beyond thoughts

Ofcourse,  myself

Whats makes human mind simultaneously (and ironically) very dangerous and also very special…

Its constant inner monologue