Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Melancholia

“For some nights I slept profoundly; but still every morning I felt the same lassitude, and a languor weighed upon me all day. I felt myself a changed girl. A strange melancholy was stealing over me, a melancholy that I would not have interrupted. Dim thoughts of death began to open, and an idea that I was slowly sinking took gentle, and, somehow, not unwelcome possession of me. If it was sad, the tone of mind which this induced was also sweet. Whatever it might be, my soul acquiesced in it.” 
― J. Sheridan Le FanuCarmilla

Melancholia - deep sadness or gloom; melancholy.

Looking out my window at the beautiful sunset, I felt a perverse joy in being morbid and indulging in my melancholia…and then I asked myself this question, which would be the easiest way to put an end to my life? A bullet to the head (what if I miss and am maimed for life!! Can that happen?), or hanging oneself by the neck (would the ceiling fan withstand my weight?) or drifting to death with sleeping pills? (How many should one take? Is it really as peaceful as it sounds or is there some pain involved which one couldn’t possibly avoid?)…Too many questions again and too less of answers! Before things get too morbid and serious, I would just like to point out that these are mere speculations with no grounds in reality whatsoever and the main reason for this is…I just love myself too much! I guess killing myself would have to wait; maybe I would just leave it to father time (or is it mother?). But why think about this at all? I feel we are often confronted by our mortality, and people react to it differently…I had been pondering on this for quite sometime, and somehow recently I have come across so many references on this topic (for instance, the other day I saw a graffiti which read “Things to do before I die”, and people wrote what they would like to do before the end beneath those words!) that I couldn’t really avoid talking (or ranting more likely) about it! Lets talk about the bucket list first, when did it become literally the talk of the town? How can it be less depressing to talk about things to do before one kicks the good old bucket? I mean what if I can’t do most of the things I would like to do before I die? Like looking at the northern lights or the Aurora Borealis, knowing fully well how much of a spoiled brat I am that I might not be able to survive the harsh conditions (and for the love of God I can’t camp or hike or trek or do anything outdoorsy, because I am useless I guess?), so before meandering too much I’ll come to the topic at hand, I really can’t understand how listing things I would like to do before the grand finale would make the impending doom of my death less scary and depressing? I really don’t know…also life has this funny way of throwing twists and turns in your face when you might be having different plans for it all together!

I would like to go a little off topic now, there was this one video I saw sometime ago on YouTube about “Melancholia” and it spoke about how it is healthy to be depressed and give in to sadness once in a while…Society pressurizes us to be happy all the time and to deal away with any sense of self-doubt or pity or bleakness which are, to be fair, valid parts of the human condition! The most beautiful songs or poems or stories are poignantly sad…then why when someone asks you on the road “How are you doing?” one is obliged to say “I am fine!” even though they might be feeling quite contrary to what they are saying…and while we are still ranting I must say I hate saying “I am fine” or hearing someone say, “I am fine”, I mean what does it even mean to say you are fine! On some days when I am feeling especially blue and someone asks me how am I doing, I feel like saying “I am not good, I feel so sad and overwhelmed…” but instead I end up saying something banal such as “I am doing good!” or “I am fine!”…This contradiction in people’s behaviour and expectation has puzzled me for so long, I mean on hand one is forced to be cheery all the time and then one has to think about making a bucket list which is actually quite a morbid thing to do…I mean what’s the point? I know I would die eventually but I am happy to do so?!! What the heck!!

Maybe there is no good answer to this question and people would do things as they are expected to do anyway, but it felt good nevertheless to go on a rant and vent out my  “melancholia”.

“Melancholia is, I believe, a musical problem: a dissonance, a change in rhythm. While on the outside everything happens with the vertiginous rhythm of a cataract, on the inside is the exhausted adagio of drops of water falling from time to tired time. For this reason the outside, seen from the melancholic inside, appears absurd and unreal, and constitutes ‘the farce we all must play’. But for an instant – because of a wild music, or a drug, or the sexual act carried to its climax – the very slow rhythm of the melancholic soul does not only rise to that of the outside world: it overtakes it with an ineffably blissful exorbitance, and the soul then thrills animated by delirious new energies” 
― Alejandra Pizarnik



Friday, September 16, 2016

Pointless

In a mad dash to connect with someone,
I lose the connection I have with myself…
On a star filled night or in a desolate town,
Or on a highway lined with traffic…
I reach out for something or someone,
Knowing fully well how my search would end in vain,
‘Cause we are islands, connected by nothing and no one…
‘Cause our pleasure and our pain are our own to bear….
Yet I would reach out again and again, quite in vain.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Two faced Janus?

"The way you get to know yourself is by the expressions on other people's faces, because that's the only thing that you can see, unless you carry a mirror about." - Gil Scott-Heron

unabashedly admit my love for anything far east asian and especially for the Japanese (could it  be for the influence of Haruki Murakami?), so when I came across this statement that the Japanese  have this saying which talks about how one has three faces, the first for the world, the second for close family and  friends and the third one is for oneself, the truest (apparently!) reflection of oneself, I had to think about it long and hard....well, after thinking long and hard for quite sometime I could unfortunately come to no definite conclusion. When I am by myself it's true I am myself but how much of a true reflection is it of me or how much would I know if it is a true reflection, I mean where does the mask end and the real self begins? I wonder if it is true for everyone...or am I the only one suffering from such a dilemma...I would move on to a very different topic now (not totally different though, they are related for sure!)...I saw a youtube video, an animated one, describing the conflicts of the "nice" guy.....so I would just go over the some of the nice and not so nice characteristics of the "nice" guy...

He is an ordinary guy, a nice guy, who hides most of his darker inclinations and twisted thoughts even from himself. He would always open doors and hold them for other people, smile and greet people even if his day was going rather crappy. People including close friends and family, would take advantage of his niceness and the funny thing is he would let them. He would often police himself, a stern glance from a stranger would stop him in his tracks and he would chastise himself. He was just a face in the crowd, people looked through and over him most of the times, he didn't mind the anonymity but sometimes he longed to be heard...The worst part was when he had to confront his deepest darkest desires and his affinity for BDSM when he was alone (the shocking part!)...how guilty he felt in his pleasures and yet he couldn't stop feeling the way he did...and the video goes on to mention that how he is the "nice" guy despite his strange and bizarre needs, because he keeps them hidden...only to let the out very rarely! I felt more confused than ever after watching this video, so is he a nice guy or not? Maybe we are all a little twisted inside, fighting demons inside and keeping the horrible thoughts and inclinations at bay....so that brings us to the question, how much of ourselves are we when we are by ourselves? Does the Japanese saying hold true eventually? I don't know....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Just like that!

College transported me to a new town, where I tried, one more time, to reinvent myself. Becoming someone new, I could correct the errors of my past. At first I was optimistic; I could pull it off. But in the end, no matter where I went, I could never change." - Haruki Murakami

I have always been the one for change. Often stuck in time and place, I have longed for not even better things just things to be different…but over the years whenever I have changed places, situations and people, I seemed to have stayed the same… People say that cells regenerate and after every seven years all the cells in one’s body are replaced, so does that mean the person stays the same? It is this same question poised and explored in a film called the “Ship of Theseus” (a must watch!). Theseus' paradox is whether an object that has all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object or does it become something else…I don’t have an answer, in fact I don’t seem to have an answer for a lot of things these days, so I thought instead I would just ask questions…why not right? 
Another thing has bothered me for quite some time is the fact that I can’t be objective enough about any situation or person, I would always try to relate in a more personal way to them and my opinions about people and situations are often tainted by my personal thoughts and feelings…and I suddenly remembered the thought experiment I had read about electrons (the wave-particle duality, I guess in the 11th standard in school)…a simple set-up with a gun that shoots electrons at a wall having two tiny slits that can be either opened or closed. Once they pass through the slit, or slits, the electrons would hit a detector. The experiment explained how if a single slit were opened the electrons would behave like a particle but if two slits were open, then the electrons would form interference patterns (light and dark fringes, depending on the fact when the waves add to the wavelength or the regions where peaks and troughs would overlap to cancel each other creating alternating patches of light and dark areas) characteristics of light waves. I was fascinated with this idea. Can we ever know something is, absolutely by itself, because the observer would always change the object! Amazing! at least I thought so...the very same idea is presented in the thought experiment describing the Schrödinger's cat paradox where a cat can be alive and dead at the same time, science fiction much? But what is life and existential crisis? Isn't it science fiction most of the times? How did I get through every day, without absolutely **eefing up (if you know what I mean!) and not dying...how do I get through every other day after this day, today? This is the mystery of life which I don't want to muck up too much, meanwhile on the path of uncovering the truth I would maybe just try to be alive for the time being, thank you very much!









Love


Too late for changes, too late perhaps for explanations and ideological webs, but the love goes on, the love goes on, blind to laws and warnings and even to wisdom and to fears. And whatever that love is, perhaps an illusion of a new love, I want it, I can't resist it, my whole being melts in one kiss, my knowledge melts, my fears melt, my blood dances, my legs open.

 Anais Nin quotes  


The more I run, the more I tire, and the more you slip away from my grasp…
Yet to keep up with this futile endeavor, I keep running round and round till I tire.
and when I tire, I tell myself, Oh! it’s nothing but an illusion,
 A mirage, a willow’ o’ wisp, a fleeting thought with no grounds in reality…
But then I realize I don’t know what is real anymore, too many meandering thoughts…
Too many whiskeys, too much weeds, too much of dreaming…
So I keep on running and running to touch the illusion, the magic mirror of truth.
And in time I learn truth, which itself is a lie and reality, which itself, is as real as a dream...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Preaching across the border


“And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can't ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it's already happened.” 
― Douglas Coupland

Recently I came across this short video in YouTube (I am not sure whether it was an advertisement or just a social message), where the question of "if you ever meet your younger self what would you tell her" is addressed…it was quite a happy video, the actress was pretty and the lighting and the scene was soft and mellow, she was seen siting on the floor, sorting through some old stuff like photographs and books…while doing so she comes across an old photo of her younger self and she starts to reminisce and talk to the camera about what she would tell her young self…things like “Don’t worry, blah blah, things mostly work out”, or something to that effect…she ended with a very silly line, something about India winning the world cup in 2011, maybe it wasn’t silly to her or people who like the game, I personally can’t stand cricket, so there!

It got me thinking, what would I say to my younger self? I couldn’t be all optimistic and tell her things work out mostly, when I wasn't sure if they do? I wonder…wouldn’t it also depend on how young my self is when I speak to her? In the video I think the younger self of the actress was around 11, so I guess we could start with the same assumption…so what would I tell my 11 year old self? I feel totally blank, I don’t know where to start, but surely I couldn’t tell her everything will work out or can I? I had such different dreams back then, most of them never came true, some of them might still do…I sound bitter don’t I? But I don’t really feel bitter, most of the dreams I had back then were not as burning as others, I could get over the fact they never came true, the ones I still hold on too, they are still important to me I guess. It’s true though “Regrets collect like old friends; Here to relive your darkest moments” but eventually one gets over it. 

What else would I tell her? Life wears you down; some things that seem like everything at one point just fade in importance over the years, like those old photos in the tattered album, sticking in between the pages…I couldn’t understand the optimism of the female in the video, what she so happy about, what else could she say to her younger self besides everything works out? Well, for starters she could mention that sometimes, actually most of the times, things take a turn for the worst before really changing for the better if at all, that people usually lose their teeth, their innocence, their ideals, their hair before really achieving anything worthwhile or maybe during the transition of losing things they realize that life is all about the journey, the moment, while we wait for something better, like a better job, a better love, a better house or a better life, we lose out what we have, the present…the only thing I could tell her is to live life, I guess that’s all, everything else is just background noise….

Friday, May 20, 2016

First Draft


“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” 
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I had always wondered how do people write novels? Do they borrow largely from real life or are they mostly fictional? Do interesting things need to happen to people for them to write about them? My life is interesting in parts but mostly just normal, ordinary and boring even…can I ever write about that? This was somehow in a serendipitous way answered by Haruki Murakami, in an article titled “A long way from the stuffed cabbage”, he precisely talks about this and many more…He even goes on to say that sometimes when unbelievable things happen to people they find it hard to tell their tale…as if the words fall short of their experiences…this is really reassuring for someone like me, I could completely relate this, sure there are exciting even life changing events which take place and have taken place in my life but my everyday sort of life is quite mundane. So why haven’t I every ventured into writing something longer than a chapter (short stories are usually a chapter or two long)…I could come up with many explanations like not enough time, not enough material, sometime I even feel I may not be a novelist at all…but why do I crave for it so? To understand what I crave for, I must explain what I feel when I write…I always feel that I express myself much better on paper (or computer! Given I mostly type these days), there are two ways for me to get relief from the dull reality of everyday routine, read or write, and writing does help me escape to a better place (I remember how much I enjoyed writing in a diary when I was an adolescent, granted things were easier to write about, petty jealousies, young crushes, I was less cynical then). On some days I can’t shake this feeling that I was meant to write something, some story stored deep in my subconscious, maybe that’s why I dream such vivid dreams every night…I have written from my dreams before, but they usually turn to short stories…and I have written novels before as a child (when I was 12) but those were greatly influenced by R.L. Stine style of short novellas about teen angst and ghost stories…pretty juvenile! There are two things that bother me when I think of writing a novel, firstly have I found my voice? And secondly, do I have a story to tell? When Murakami talks about how he wrote his first novel, and the circumstances surrounding that, I feel better and worried at the same time. Let me briefly describe the incident, so he had gone to see a baseball match, and suddenly he thought to himself if a player called Hilton strikes a double (I don’t know anything about baseball!) he would start writing…and the player did strike a double and he did start writing, and his first novel was a success! He does mention that he doesn’t know if he hadn’t been to the game that day what would have happened? Would he still be running a jazz bar, not writing but thinking about writing? This story really moved me in a very deep way, somehow on a very ordinary day something extraordinary happened and he started writing, it was quite serendipitous...this really encourages me that unexpected things can happen to very ordinary people but at the same time I am worried what if I miss the bus? Would I then keep thinking of writing and never get to write my first novel? 

Lastly I would again resort to borrowed words, maybe just to express what I feel and what I dread...

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” 
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“We live and breathe words. .... It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt--I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted--and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.” 
― Cassandra ClareClockwork Prince