Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A little mindfulness

Yesterday, I went to a spa. I don't indulge in luxuries usually, though I like anything that is soothing and rejuvenating. I decided to give my hyperactive and over-thinking self some rest. It's good to unplug sometimes, I thought. I switched off my phone. I immediately felt a sense of relief. Unplugged and Unburdened.

Everything today is just a touch or a click away. Too much connectivity. Global village. Shrunken world. And what not. But how difficult is it to unplug? Gradually, one feels the weight of these "privileges". Would the universe crumble if I steer away from my WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter for three hours? I told myself that I am over-thinking and continued with my therapy.

Yesterday, after a long time, I realized that I was paying attention to the new room I was sitting in and the new people I was interacting with. It was a small room with dim lights, subtle fragrance and good music. What more can one ask for? The first fruits of unplugging.

I spoke to my attendant for a long time. Her name was Shaina. I am a very interactive person usually, but, yesterday, I was attentive. May be this is what is mindfulness.

After three or four hours, I stepped out the spa. The jarring sound of vehicles made me realize that I can't play my unplugging game for long. I was heading home and I switched on my phone.

And then... All hell broke loose.

17 missed calls. 41 WhatsApp messages!

My mother called me irresponsible. My friends called me archaic because I had committed the blunder of switching off my phone... for three hours! And funnily, I hadn't missed anything.

We all search for "space" and "experience". But unless and until one is aware and conscious of his feelings and sensations, the found space is a hollow tunnel and the felt experience is a residue of something extremely trivial and unsettling.

I love people.
I love conversations and interactions.

But, a brief unplugging, now and then, won't make anyone asocial or melancholic.

Mindfulness is a beautiful thing to strive for, I think.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Between and Beyond loyalty and disloyalty

It is difficult to write. Very difficult.
Hence, we all postpone. And when we write, after many deliberations, we abandon our writings. Unfinished. Unattended.
We all like fresh music, good food and new places. But stability and comfort are our old friends. Rather, best friends.
Hence, the playlists of our phones house the same old songs. And we repeat them everyday. On the path to fight against monotony? Well, I doubt.
We all go to new cafes and restaurants. But, how difficult is it to choose the unfamiliar Panna Cotta over the familiar Walnut Brownie?! Yes, I am talking about those big decisions.
Family is the first institution that builds one's personality. One's character.
My people believe in reading "ALL" the works of a writer.
Dickens is their favourite and I am sure that on this Christmas too, they are going to talk about his novels. Welcome newness.
Marquez and Hardy are my favourite. And now, when I look at the works of new writers at book shops, I feel guilty. Funny it is. As if I am cheating on my boyfriend... wink emoticon
My father introduced me to cricket. And he almost made me believe that once I have liked Micheal Bevan, I cannot admire the newbies. Ever. So, no Boucher. No Dhoni.
Loyalty is good. A virtue long lost. And literature can make the eccentric ones fall prey to this malady.
Now, coming back to writing, we love our drafts. Those unfinished and half-baked things that yearn for our attention. We are loyal when it comes to reading. But, we are extremely unfaithful towards the things we write.
One my favourite professors once said, "Writing is like carpentry. You cannot produce masterpieces in a day. or a week. Writing demands attention. It is a form of worship."
It is important to revisit the drafts, decipher the inadequacies and insufficiencies and inject in them whatever they demand.
So, my goal for 2016 is to be (a little) unfaithful towards my authors and faithful towards my fragments. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Ode to the Day

My alarm tune is very melodious
I changed it recently;
Replacing monotony with music
Making mornings musical.

I wanted to be a dancer.
While dancing, repetitions make sense;
There is no monotony;
In fact, boredom dies with each repetition.

But one day I wondered,
what is not dance?
Between the silencing of the alarm
and the announcements at the station,
there is dance.
The metamorphosis of places into spaces;
City’s changing silhouettes
compliment the inconsistent walks of men.

Waiting for the uneven evening to arrive;
There is beauty in its nifty gait.
Between the shutting of the files
and the whistling cookers,
there is dance.
The journey from spaces to places;
Gearing up for plain acts,
Plainness does not attract spectators –
So, forgetting movements is permitted here.

Time to steal some time from time.
Before the closing time,
the fatigued bodies must perform one last duty;
To let the pens dance on the plain stage,
To watch the strange formations,

Between the unburdening of thoughts
and the burdened bodies of mornings,
there is dance.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Between the Acts

Between speech and meaning,
there is silence.
Between silence and understanding,
there is life.
Life that bears the weight 
of unopened letters and unsaid words.
Letters carry feelings;
the absent presence of half-grasped love,
the imprints of the lover's labour.
But about the unlettered?
Don't they love?
Don't they labour?
Writing, an unlearned art.
Leisure, unaffordable and unimaginable.
To buy paper, ink and stamp!
Luxuries or manacles?
Too much distance.
Too less time.
To create the unsaid and believe in the unsayable...
To feel the left over and nourish the long lost...

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Fruits of Labor

And then I decided to write...

The first word that came to my mind was "PALIMPSEST". 
My city is a palimpsest.
Numerous human encounters. 
Too many faces. Too many conversations.
It is not a melting pot.
It is a space where history is the only minority.

To demand purity and originality is unjustified;
The past is as vulnerable and vague as the future.
But there is beauty in multiplicity -
the surety that there is no blank slate.

To write about oneself...
About imaginary struggles and self-made phobias.
I can visualize myself measuring "my life with coffee spoons".
But... I don't even like coffee.
I am a tea person.
Another dream crushed.

And then I decided to write about reading...

How easy it is to amplify misery!
To choose Anna Karenina over Game of Thrones;
to swing between Discipline and Punish.

Struggling to find that accurate word.
(I want something between hope and perseverance)

It is about labor, isn't it?
Typing, erasing and retyping.

It is difficult to apologize.
It is difficult to struggle and fail in love.
It is difficult to be tentative.
It is difficult to wake up.

But, it is about labor, isn't it?

All open-ended works are written by labourers.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Facebook – The Tower of Babel or the anxiety camp?

“She does not miss me anymore. She did not even detect my absence at the party. Didn’t you look at her photos on Facebook? How indifferent she has become. Things have changed between us. We are not close anymore”. 

There is something private and exclusive about every relationship. A person might have numerous friends/acquanitances – but the dynamics of each of his relationships are different and diverse. But Facebook has led to the birth of a strange desire - the yearning to make the personal relationship public. And to measure the worth and strength of a personal relationship using the tools that are publically visible.  

Have you ever wondered why a person does not post a photo of his on Facebook in which he is crying? Why is there a universal desire amongst people to make happiness and celebration visible? It is because Facebook provides a space for individuals to be secure, victorious and invulnerable. It is a parallel world, where anyone can be a superhero. But the problem becomes acute when people begin to take this medium too seriously. More so when they begin to validate the actions of their friends, lovers and partners vis-à-vis the scanty (often misleading) signs and codes that are visible on Facebook. 

Ilana Gershon, a communication and mass media scholar states that Facebook visiblizes the anxieties of the Neo-liberal age. Facebook has produced jealous and anxious individuals who constantly indulge in the act of enacting multiple roles. The happy self... The celebrative self… The victorious self… How very strange that with Facebook it is possible to publicize what one “feels”! 

There is a deep fissure between the acts that we commit in the real world and the acts that we accomplish in the virtual world. It is very easy to “Unfriend”, “Block” and “Turn off”. But it demands courage to be responsible, real and alive. When one expresses himself, he feels light and content. But in Facebook, each expression can be a form of suppression, of miscommunication, of circumlocution.  

Using Facebook for professional and networking purposes is not a problem. It is the domination of Facebook and other media and the disappearance of the face-to-face, oral communication that has destroyed our already fragmented society.

So, if posting/liking pictures and meeting/chatting with friends can go hand in hand, then may be it is not the end of the world.