Friday, January 29, 2010

Comfortably Dumb...

There are some people who consider themselves to have the wand that baptizes people into mature or dumb. These opinion leaders of the society create an altogether different kind of caste system, a system that subtly gets pervaded in the lives of the victims. It gives them immense pleasure to take shots at those for whom the destiny decided to have a lesser steep learning curve. What surprises me here is that they also feel the need to get their baptization approved by the seemingly “mature” class. I thought to pen down something for those who live their lives with the tag of “dumb” and yet keep their ship afloat in the repeated Tsunamis that come.

Perhaps, it has been extremely difficult for a human mind to accept the dumbness as a reality that is as beautiful and innocent as the drops of dew. This barometer of intelligence discards all the virtues and all the other different pearls of wisdom that God must have dropped in the chosen few minds remain unexplored. So many virgins die so young. And in these countless deaths, die the buds of those areas of wisdom that perhaps even God could not have ever imagined !!!

In the continuous war between the dumbness of matured and maturity of the dumb minds, I find myself perplexed. I am definitely not the one who can decide which side will win, but what I can see is that both sides are increasingly getting “dumbed”. I find education failing miserably in giving a shoulder to the one who followed it religiously. For it is the one whom he thought will come to his rescue and it is the very same that he wants now to disassociate with.

Why are people so vulnerable? Why do not their identities give sufficient cushion that does not ask for any reinforcement? Is it necessary to achieve something to get that peace and solace of mind, because if yes, this target setting will go on till the last breaths of life.

Imagine how beautiful it is to say “I am dumb, comfortably dumb”.
“Kar Lo Jo Karna Hai”

Well this is something I have a strong belief in since my graduation days. I still laugh out loud at them when I act stupid and they call me “dumb”, for it is fine with me to act stupid and this is irrespective of its frequency as well. For this is me and if I will not respect it, who will? And since then the amplitude of shocks have gone down and I find myself flowing in tides, repeatedly and smoothly.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My two cents on 3 idiots

Let me first clearly define the “good cinema”. It is the one that takes me closer to reality, and if I wish my world to be fictional, a virtual reality is also acceptable. The movie’s basic philosophy is to force the youth to emphasize on what they wish to do and unfetter themselves from the seemingly unbreakable chains of mark. “Success will follow the excellence” is the mantra which it wants to propagate. Throughout my college life and even today, there was nothing in which I have believed more. However, there was always a great sense of admiration and respect for those who sacrifice their present to build the future of their families and to me, it is an acceptable way of life. And this is where the film starts getting everything wrong.

The characters in the film are someone, whom today’s youth can easily identify with. My most of the friends will concur with me that in reality, the shades are skewed towards black end of the spectrum and toppers do keep leveraging their marks at every stage. Caricaturizing them (referring to Chatur) so brutally is blasphemous as this takes the viewer miles away from the reality, only to find himself in the same dark well a couple of hours later, when wisdom finally dawns upon him. And as if this was not enough, can you ever imagine, leave apart seen, any modern maverick (alluding to Mr. Khan) topping the exams without doing the route learning, getting 400 patents and holidaying in Ladakh!!

Cinematically, I am highly disappointed. They got the cast completely wrong. Amir Khan comes across as the most mature personality in the industry and in fact, I can even compare him to Mr. Bachan on this. When Amir philosophizes the message, you assimilate it from a person you consider very balanced and here is where it starts loosing the hand of reality. (Think again, when you see him telling to abandon studying for marks, don’t you confuse him with the professor of “Taare zameen par”. For instance, the analogy of Farhanitrate and prerajulisation resembles the one Amir used to explain Ishan Awasthi’s dyslexia to his father). To add to this agony, he maintains his calm and cool composure in every situation, be it paralytic attack of his friend’s father or somebody’s delivery. For instance, you find him in jolly mood, when a mother is anticipating that her child is probably dead. (And the reason for this is that Mr. Khan was extremely scared to look younger and went completely out of context. He has no concern for the parents of his friends and in his constant effort to look younger, he even mocks at them while arguing, which was so much against his personality). Turning to Madhavan, ask yourself what words come to your mind when you think about him. He perhaps, acted relatively more balanced !! (Though I guess it was a deliberate attempt to make look Amir younger and focus on him entirely). I fail to see the naivety everywhere in the movie, which I know these budding engineers have (the kind of stuff that you associate with Raju)

Though I commend on the team’s ability to identify what needs to be shown for rejuvenating engineer’s memories, yet the execution failed miserably. For instance, the scene in which the trio is having the drinks on the stairs and is discussing about each others’ weaknesses is so true to the reality but it seems so artificial that it completely turns you off. But then why was it such an instant hit?

The reality is everyone is frustrated on the road and people long those days when life used to seem so promising and was fun filled. For three hours, one just forgets the reel world and simply dives into his own real world where he was playing those very same roles. As I mentioned, the movie gives you ample shocks to come out from those past memories, but one wants to remain unperturbed.

More importantly, a lot of attention has been paid to “masalafise” the movie which actually overshadows all the pitfalls. So, one can do sightseeing in Shimla, Manali, ladakh etc. “Alls is well” was when it touches the height. Can one ever imagine a young baby giving a stroke on listening to Amir’s new movie’s mantra. But yes, it strikes instant chord with the Indian masses, who easily fall for these traps. You see, there was a magic in “Jadoo ki Jhappi” as it was given by a character that came in the movie with a life’s experience with him. How can a young engineer reweave the same magic, as is being done here? And I just held my head in my hands when I saw a reputed company offering a job on the candid behavior of the candidate, even after recognizing that it will not gel well with their diplomatic culture. To add another flavor to this badly prepared cocktail, a bride plans to run right from the mandap to jump directly into the car.

I leave up to you all to reconsider your decision if this movie was a runaway success because of its theme and marketing, or if it truly deserves as what Mr. Khan’s rest of the movies do. The part I though liked was the sound of the water in the end of the movie, sound of the bluish river of Ladakh, so pure, unadulterated condemning the very those who were holidaying there. Amen.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Partha and his puppies

(This is a story of a person who laid his life in the social and economic upliftment of the downtrodden among dogs. For this noble cause, many came and went but one who undoubtedly stood steadfast was this great man.)

Outcasted by the society in the early childhood for his unconventional love, he decided to submit himself at the mercy of his puppies, the bare touch of whose used to bring tears in his eyes. Such was the obsession that during visits to a temple, he often used to give alms based on the species to which one belonged. There were times when he had a real fight with those who used to abuse others by calling them dogs. The youngster in his early childhood sensed the prevalent malaise and started taking efforts to eliminate it.

And this was further heightened when he was gifted a pair of puppies on his birthday. He couldn’t have thanked the mother of those puppies anymore!! He named them: Puru and Paro.

Time moved on and Puppies of Partha grew up. The former became mature but the fatherly love of Partha remained pure, unadulterated but immature. In fact he started caring them every now and then. The grownups started getting embarrassed and wanted him to take care of his own matters. The relationship got seriously affected when Partha started peeping into their love lives and keeping a watch if they are crossing the lines. This was completely unacceptable to both as they argued what right he had when he did not have any such life of his own. This shook Partha completely and tears kept flowing out on that long night.

Disillusioned by his growing insane deeds, Puru, the elder one decided to search a girl for Partha. Though he knew what he was getting into, yet there seemed no way out. He asked Paro to persuade her friends’ masters to consider this proposal for this kind hearted person.

Interestingly, Partha was quite a celebrity in their community and it was eagerly looking forward to repay for his love and affection. In fact, he was respected to such an extent that all the new born puppies were supposed to take a hug by him within the first week of their birth. And all the tears that used to come in his eyes were distributed as Prasada. And as if this was not enough, any swear that is taken in his name needs to be honored or else the poor fellow was given capital punishment!!

With most of the young girls sharing a strong relationship with their puppies, it seemed that Partha would finally find his love of life. But great people have their own style and attitude.

Thanks to Puru’s efforts, offers were raining in Partha’s house and for a moment, it seemed that the obedient son will finally get success. But Partha blatantly refused to accept the offer. He was deeply touched by his dog looking for a bride for him and could not handle the societal shame and ignominy of sharing his love with a human; for which a different species has been given the exclusive rights.

Time further moved on and today he is an 80 year old person. I, Ashish, a human being is deeply touched by his sacrificial life and has almost completed the interview. His story should be a lesson for those who cannot love “out of the box” and remain cocooned in their age old customs. He has vociferously fought to get them recognized for their unconditional love and has even given lectures in various Universities in the field of humanization of dogs (and vice versa). After gathering some courage, I asked him a last question.

“Do you see a dog in you?”

To this, he passed a contemptuous smile and I sensed him taking considerable pride in answering in affirmative. He answered it with a surge of emotions.

“While I can see the sharp sarcasm in your question, if I wish I do not need to answer. However, it is this ingrained pro-human thought that has kept me forlorn all my life. You see, the humanity has been so Machiavellian that it has coined the most cunning ways to malign the image of a community that has worked assiduously for ages. While we have laws that send you to jails if you mistreat any human being, we are found highly callous when it comes to this very community. (For next sentence, his voice started shaking) At the same time, while the government brings so many pro poor reforms, it shoots the stray dogs.”

Seeing me completely absorbed in making notes with a smile that was getting longer and longer, he stopped. At this, I thought to give him some more fodder for my article and asked him what he will like to inscribe on his graveyard. After a long thought, he said,
“One who spoke for those who barks”
My disappeared smile reappeared.

While interviewing him, I was touched by many dogs and puppies and some even dared to lick my face. Sensing a strong urge to take a bath, I left for my home and hence, I put my pen down here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What to do with Ravana?

Once again, I can see a lot of money spending in immolating the Great Villian of Ramayan, RAVANA. Time and again, I have showed my deep respect to this vintage hero requesting authorities not to humiliate such a learned person in public and that too, year after year. Recently, in one of my meetings with the Chief Minister of Delhi, I got the assurance that she will raise the issue in the parliament and will even ask for a CBI inquiry for the commoditization of the personality that has entertained us for ages.

I am quite sure that this matter may seem trivial to you but the truth remains that Indian culture cannot be a party to something which proliferates the sense of disparagement. After discussing with a lot of pundits, it seems that the poor fellow is being punished for teasing wife of Ram. Now may I ask us, what moral right we all have, when we ourselves have been indulged in one or other such shameless instances in the past (And this question is insensitive to your gender). The truth is that your first crush must have come in class I. The seemingly unforgivable act was, perhaps a harbinger of things to come. Had Ram acted sanely and taken appropriate measures, things would have been resolved then and there.

While I was discussing this with Ms. Dikshit, she seemed to be unable to control her laughter and was asking for a deeper analysis of the situation. Now, I am not that stupid to understand the subtleties of such diplomatic gestures and therefore maneuvered my stance to another direction.

I recommended that instead of honoring him in parks and other places; let us show our deep respect by placing him in any of the routes on which Blue Line buses operate. It will be a sheer delight for the public to see two Ravanas fighting each other, devourment of any will bring the much needed respite. Ms. Dikshit was in tears with a sheer mention of this thought and expressed her gratitude for thinking so much about Delhi’s public.

This encouraged me to broaden my thinking and I then thought of another innovative way of honoring the cult personality. I suggested of simply putting him on the Arunachal border and waiting for Chinese to claim that Ravana was a Chinese. Now, a claim of this magnitude will demand a complete revamp of slightly less than a dozen faces and every face should be in coherence with the great story attached with it. Now, you and I know that the Indian stories of Ramayana are so long and perplexing that this work will be sufficient enough to divert their attention. At this, Ms. Dikshit gave me a standing ovation and immediately offered me to join politics. I again sensed her satirical tone and humbly refused to accept the offer citing the position of National Security Advisor as my dream post.

Though many such offers have come by my way, I have never forgotten to be humble and concentrated on the larger issues, such as these. It still pains me to see the pitiful condition of Ravana, yet I am going to Dussehra ground to at least empathize with this lone personality.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The music of mind

All throughout my life, it has been others who have decided my course of action. I have been so weak that though I claim to fight the Rocky Mountains, yet I have never able to fight them. And these decision makers have always been there. They are still with me and they never leave me, perhaps I never let them go.

The symphonies they play bring excruciating pain and yet I crave to listen more. The rhythms are always out of sync with my frequency and yet resonations occur. In the orchestra of these countless musicians, I wish to play the role of the conductor. But it is never about the depth of the music I can produce, it has always been the arrogance that I can portray in front of my musicians that gives me the honor of holding that stick.

I wish I can fly away. To a world that is waiting for someone to write the new notes of the music of the mind. This will be the music in which every note will symbolize an emotion; every human will be free to act as a conductor with each note carrying a story of his own emotion, the purest one. There shall not be any dependence on others to create the music. The symphonies will elevate the starving souls to the higher orbit and minds will resonate in sync, despite each having its own frequency. For the bliss will not be in achieving resonance, but in getting thousands of frequencies giving something like mass pleasure.

And there shall the soul rest in peace. Amen.

Romanticizing the grief

It has always been the grief that has kept me grounded and I never forget that I am just another human being. Yes, I am someone who can traverse boundaries hopping many Himalayas in search of truth and yet I am someone who does not know the purpose of my existence. This grounded person accepts his vulnerability to the external shocks and the non availability of any refuge after the hardships. He also understands the shallowness of his intellect and at the same time, appreciates his past experience of devising his own theories of this philosophical life.

As a close accomplice, the grief has mesmerized me with its sheer prowess in showing new selves of mine. Every journey is started by a cursed traveler who on the way finds his age old accomplice and then time just flies off. On reaching the destination, the sudden enlightenment and the feeling of swimming through decades of learning keeps bringing me closer to it.

They say that wisdom is the daughter of life lived through varied experiences. I feel myself breathing and really alive when I am swept through this rapid of emotional experiences. The stimulation gives a high that is irresistible.

Mind you, the urge may become very high yet it has its own limitation. And this is something that I have learnt over a period of time. Life is just like that elastic band, which seems to be stretchable to unimaginable extent. And therein lies the trap and we engulf ourselves in the rapid torrents of elation and sorrowfulness. My friend grief, can only give you the yield to resist that extra stretch but it cannot give you the much needed infinite elasticity. It asks you not to push oneself too hard or you will buckle.

Who will develop that extra yield is something I have left for the time to decide. Perhaps, there is no one. Or may be I know who he is. The cognitive dissonance, though very evident, yet keeps eluding me in my search of such answers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tryst with Myself

A spell of contentment often gets me carried away to a unique distant island. I am no more at the mercy of my contemporaries and lay my hands off at whatever I feel like. This simple freedom from the clutches of the self developed emotions, whose reins I have voluntarily chosen to give in their hands, is my aphrodisiac. And I romanticize with myself.

I let all the tides overpower me with their vehement force, yet I keep craving for more. They challenge me and I keep getting subdued. They bring the water beneath my feet, take the sand along with them, and shake my foundation. In this bout of amazement, I keep trying to assess the strength of this ocean, thinking if something as silent as this can be so mighty and so deafening.

Spreading my both arms I stroll on the shores. And when I find myself whistling, I test all the vocal chords by singing a few classical songs. For, these songs are mine, I am singing them, I am giving soul to them and above all I am the audience. The encore is deafening. But the birds in my head keep flying. They do not sit on one tree. The more they love one, the more beautiful becomes others.

So, I let myself take a pause and sit down. My hands have not laid themselves on anything from a long time. And the bird leaves the old tree. I take out my charcoal pencil and a white sheet. Looking around, I find everything complicated with intricate details. But there is this, a small stone lying nearby. Is it beautiful? A vehement no. I go close to it and observe. This little fellow seems to be coming from that mountain which I was about to sketch. I was in awe of it and this is a highly unimportant part. Honoring it will be a dishonor to me. But can I honor the mighty mountain? Let me then deal with my equal. And on the barren landscape, the pencil starts making contours of it depicting its mountain like and stone like features.

The more I break myself free, more the self gets sublimated. I want to go back to the real world, which in reality is virtual. I take out a book of Dr. Rushdie and get myself drowned in his ancestral problems and issues. For, I am dreaming a dream of somebody who is a bigger dreamer than I am. There is a thread that connects his characters and objects and he keeps pulling one or the other part only to leave some as happy while others sad. And I aspire to get this control in my own play of characters and objects, with me also playing a role though the one who is observing them all sharing some of their agonies and pleasure.

The bird wishes to hop to some other tree. And indeed this is the most beautiful tree it has ever seen. Once again a white sheet is taken out, but along with a pen. This time, there is nothing in this world that holds my attention. I blind myself, hold my own hand and look for the shafts of light. There are some but not enough to dazzle me. I get tripped, gather my courage and then stand again to search. Suddenly there is a flash in the sky. The light blinds me completely and I find my pen starting its’ hours long journey. My characters dance in the praise of feeling this eternal pleasure, objects create symphonies and rhythms never heard before and in this bliss, I dive never to come to the surface and only to go in the eternal search of the bottom of this ocean of emotions.

I don’t want to come to your world. Amen.