Monday, October 31, 2005

Sweet and Sour Home and Me

I am presently writing this piece from my home in Dharamsala. It is the same place where I plan to settle down after another 10 years in my pursuit to become an author. I have been to Dharamsala after a long time (it has been six months, and even then, I was here with a group of friends; so its my first trip "home" after December last). This is the place where I spent my formative years, the five years from completing my fifth standard till my inter years in Chandigarh; where every afternoon I spent hitting the tennis ball to the wall, where most evenings I spent watching "Krishi Darshan" or "Mere Pind Mere Khet". (yeah Krishi Darshan and Mere Pind Mere got it right...that just sums up how very isolated I was as a child).
I was among the very few children I know who love going to school. And why not, as that was my contact with the outside world. Well I lived in a place which even the satellite cable boom had not been able to pierce, and my only device for entertainment was watching Doordarshan.
That is the kind of isolation you have to face when you stay in the middle of nowhere. Actually, our house was located, not in the middle of nowhere, but in the between two streams. I was even tempted to name the place Mesoptamia, not knowing that the Doaba word in Hindi refers to exactly the same thing.( Finally, though, I didnt have a say in the naming of the house, otherwise I would have had got confused between the two. The house, ironically, hasnt been named yet).
Well I wrote the above piece yesterday, and as I am back today, and dont exactly know how to continue, I shall start something else. I was just wondering as to what levels has narcissism taken control of me (I am sad because of this, and at the same time I am happy, because this is the first time I have managed to spell narcissism correctly). The title of this blog reads me, myself and I; and most of the posts here have had me as the central theme. And guess what, I always thought myself to be among the least self obsessed guys around. Infact I so much hated self obsessed people I even coined the term SOB for them. Now not to be confused with the more popular Son of Bitches, this SOB was an acronym for Self Obsessed Bastards. And now finding myself in that league makes me feel ill and sick, now that the initial euphoria about spelling narcissism correctly has worn off.
But I believe blogging is probably about following your own sense. It is kind of writing a diary, a very personal diary, whom everyone can read, and what you want everyone to read. And I also believe it is because you want people to know you that you want to write. And so there is no point in writing about others. So I am probably not as self obsessed as I think I am. The thought makes me happy again. I am nothing probably. Or I am everything. Or maybe I am just the gin soaked boy (going by my habits though, whisky soaked would probably be a better description). All in all, I am not a SOB. Hence Proved. QED. Happy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Architect and Satan

Well, the other day I was viewing this documentary called the Real Da Vinci code. This film was basically an evaluation of the facts mentioned in Dan Brown's famous book by the same name. It concluded that the Holy Grail being the lineage of Christ might actually be right, but refuted almost everything else written in the book. But that is not important : for its not to discuss the book that I am writing today. It is actually something else: something that I have thought about right from childhood, and dreams about whom I have had in the past. It is about Satan, and the beliefs of a group of people called Cathas, who lived in France around uptil the thirteenth century. The documentary, while exploring one of the theories for what exactly is the Holy Grail, told about this group of people, who were supposed to have sheltered the documents which revealed that Christ was married to Mary Magdalane, and had a child from her. This supposition was later refuted, for lack of any historic fact, but what they told about Cathas made for some interesting viewing, and a new thought for seeking the meaning of life.
Who exactly were the Cathas? Well they were a group of people, living in Relic County in France till the middle of the thirteenth century, who believed that Satan, and not God, had created the material world. So for them, the material world was bad, something which was to be despised and not enjoyed. Satan wanted man to enjoy this life, so that he could see them suffer in their afterlife, and so Cathas took great care to lead a simple, free of all luxuries. For example, Cathas did not approve of marriage, believing it to be falling to the promises of the material world. Which, just set me wondering, "How did Cathas reproduce then?" Just wondering, but that is not the main point though, and well, it seems that the Cathas had their own Matrix theory some 1000 years before the Matrix movies released. Well, even Hinduism talks about the theory of Karma and Moksha, and the fact that "sab maya hai"explains that life is but an illusion. But even Hinduism believed that God, the supreme being, had created the world, so as to make us realise that all materialistic things have to end, and to seek Moksha, a freedom from the cycles of life.
The Cathas, on the contrary, believe that one who was creator was the bad guy, the Satan, much like the architect in the Matrix. The world around us has been created by Satan so that we actually fail to understand what real life is. But then again comes the question, if we are actually a part of the matrix, then why do we have to get out? Who decided the good and bad. If I am using the computer to write about this topic, am I enjoying the material world? And if I am actually talking about Satan controlling all things around me, havent I broken free of his control? Which again, means that nobody in Satan's control could actually think about him as Satan?
Which now again brings me to the point : Who were the Cathas? And how were they able to break the spell of Satan, which, if they are to believed extends over all of us? I wish I knew. Then you know what I will become : I will be the one, or Neo, though I had prefer keeping my real name. As a piece of Information, the Cathas were destroyed by the Christian crusaders in the Easter of 1253 (not very sure about the year, though). But four priests managed to give them a slip. Maybe their generations will come back, and show us light, and help us break the illusion of the world. Anyways I just hope all this wealth and girlfriend and all is an illusion, because I dont have much of the first (and none of the second), and it is making me very sad. Finding out it doesnt count would be a big relief. So if you have been contacted by people saying that life is illusionary, and they have some solutions, leave me a comment here. And please, no meditation, I want to do something revolutionary. And then we can have Matrix 4,5 and 6. Or maybe I wont do anything, but write a new book, (obviously after my first book, and when I am famous) called Architect and Satan and the Holy Grail, about Satan ruling our lives. Interesting topic, isnt it? Anyways, anything on the Holy Grail sells, (that is the only reason I included Holy Grail in the name) and coming from a Hindu, I can probably be free from any biases. But that shall come later, much later. Till then, keep tuning to this page for more crap. And if you hate it so much that you want to kill the author, please leave me a comment. I shall be glad to leave the Satan's world and enter heaven. Or maybe that is an illusion as well, created to make you see all that you are missing. Satan, you see, doesnt want us to be happy. With this new understanding that heaven is an illusion, I will try to enjoy the materialistic world till anyone tries to kill me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Grass is greener on the other side.

One of the best short stories I have ever read is Jeffrey Archer's "The Grass is greener on the other side" (I am not very sure about the name of the story, however I can assure you its from one of his collection of short stories; A Quiver full of arrows.twelve Red herrings or to cut a long story short). To cut a long story short : A beggar sleeps every night outside a big Bank, and every morning, waking up, looks at the guard, and feels that it would be so much better if he could become a guard. The guard, on the other hand, sees the clerk, and feels that a clerk's job is the best. The Clerk wants the accountant's job, the accountant that of the manager, the manager that of the Deputy Chairman, and the Deputy Chairman that of the Chairman himself. And the Chairman has his own set of problems and tensions, and every night, looks at the beggar, sleeping peacefully, and wonders, maybe it would be better if he also could sleep like the beggar did.
Which just brings me to the point, nobody is ever happy or contented in the state that he is. There is always something else that we want, something that we know we are never going to get it, or is it because we know we are not going to get it which makes it that desirable. And unfulfilled desires make us pine and suffer, plunging us deep into sorrow. So,as Gautam Buddha says, the way to end sorrow is to end desires. No desires means no suffering. But is it as simple as that? Doesnt the end of desire imply an end of ambition. And where can a man without ambition go, can he be ever successful? Now again, successful like happiness, is an arbitary concept. It is a state of mind more than anything else. If someone feels that he is successful, then he is, irrespective of what other do or say. So a man can be successful even by cutting short all his ambition.
I think I am being too much idealistic here. In the practical world, none of what I have said probably means anything (pretty much like everything I write here: its all utopian). In real life you have a set of people along with you whose purpose in life is to dissuade you from finding peace and happiness. These people (your family, your friends) tie you down to this materialistic world, where success and happiness and measured by the amount of money you have and by nothing else. I just want to drift away. I am happy the way I am. People tell me a hundred things and I am compelled to listen to them because I cant say no to anybody. Remember Rachel's dialogue in Episode 101 of friends "Father, all my life, its like I have been told by people around me "you are a shoe,a shoe, a shoe." I believe that holds true for all of us. We are characterised not by what we are, but by what people around us want us to be seen as in public. And we, mortal and relationship-abiding as we are, are comfortably able to make it a simple transition without feeling any guilt. We lose our true self, and become part of the general crowd. What we do is not for our own pleasure but for the contentment of our near and dear ones.We
lose our own identity and become part of a worn out crowd.
I am probably contracting myself here, but I feel that desires are not so much a man's creation as it is of the society around him. It is the society which forces a person to have any goals, which compels him to be successful. And well, that success compels him to further success, and as his desires increase so does his sorrow. Eliminate society, make every man an island, and there had be no society. Like Paul Simon says, "And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."
But no, I am not the one to go away from society. I am far too social for that. I cant live without my friends and my family, and so I am again one of those parts of the crowd I talked about. But then again is some hope, that you will be able to come out of this cycle, and attain Nirvana. But till then, well, I will listen to some rock music. including Nirvana. Who knows when I am up in office next?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I want to be an author

I want to be an author someday. Well, not exactly someday, but before I turn 35. Thats the target I have set myself to write my first book. I have even thought of the first lines: though I havent thought of anything else. How is this :'Then she smiled; he looked into her eyes, and told her the three most beautiful words ever :"I love you." ;then he kissed her; and they lived happily ever after. But this is not the story I am going to tell you. I am going to tell you my story' ? Does it compare with something like :"It was love at first sight" or "What can you say about a 25-year old girl who died." Well, I guess at this point it does not, but probably when I have the whole book ready, you will have a different perspective.
And why exactly do I want to be an author, you might ask. That is a tough one to answer, especially as after reading my blogs, you would have found out that neither do I have a very good vocabulary, nor am I very particular about my grammar. Moreover, I am atrocious at spellings; and get confused (as an example) between friends and freinds: I guess its the first one, but I am never too sure. Well, its not even something I had dreamt of as a child, nor do I have any interesting story which I want the people to read. And neither do I expect to make much money out of writing; for I feel, my books shall be big flops, if ever some stupid publisher decided to publish it, and thats a very big if. And now suddenly you have run out of reasons why somebody would like to become an author.
'"Because it is something that makes me happy", I say. And you laugh. Like you laugh everytime whenever I come up with anything extraordinary. "What is happiness?", you ask me, and I have no clue. "Probably its a state of mind, when everything just feels right", I respond. And you ask again, "Have you experienced happiness before?". I have to admit, no, I havent experienced happiness before. And you hit the final blow, then why run after something you havent experienced. And I realise : maybe happiness is an illusion, created just to make you feel sad. When you have everything, people around you make you realise you are not happy, and you want more, and give up everything to find that more; and then only do you realise everything you had was enough. But its too late then. '
I am content the way I am, unless I see my peers having more than me, and then I feel sad. I want all they have, and when I have that, I want more and so can never find the true happiness that is promised. Maybe this is why I want to be a writer then. Not for finding happiness, but to get out of this cycle. I want to be alone, sitting at my home on the foothills of the Himalyas, shut out from the outside world, and be living on my own. I will write because I will have nothing else to do: there will be no TV's and no mobiles, and all I will have is this computer. And then I will become an author. And writing this I have even figured out a name for my autobiography : " An Island in the Mountain."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Of Passions and Compassions

When sitting and facing the interview panel at IIM interviews, the only question that had me really foxed was when a Professor from IIMB asked me, "So what all are you passionate about?" And I was taken aback. A man is supposed to be passionate about something in his life, and I suddenly realised I wasnt passionate about anything. So I mumbled out something, and as soon as I was speaking it out, I realised that the interviewers had made out that I was lying. And that was the end of it all. I knew right then I wasnt going to make it to IIMB; but more important than that, I realised something else : That my life was pretty empty. There wasnt one thing about which I could say: Yeah, I live my life for this.
And it also occured to me that I was unable to put up 100 % commitment to anything. I put myself into too many things at the same time, and ended up screwing all of them. It felt bad, and it also made me feel incompetent, and I decided to face up to this basic flaw in my character : As to why I couldnt more passionate about things? But maybe its not such a bad thing after all: Passion does have its negative shades as well. Not being passionate about anything means that nothing is so important to me so as to change my life. Which makes me one of the more stable, sane and sensible guys. I can think without any biases around, and can probably handle pressurre situations very well. Thats all should be true; except that it isnt. I am one of the moodiest guys around, upset by the smallest of things; things I dont even consider important enough to think about afterwards.
Maybe it has something to do with the conflict within, but there is something horribly wrong. I dont feel passionate about anything in a positive sense, but all the negative connotations of passion I suffer. I can fight, for example, with my best friend, among other things, about sitting on the front seat of the car. I suffer both ways; and while this time around I probably shall be able to lie more convincingly about what my passions are ( I am preparing my answer : Tennis, crossowords, friends, hostel at one point of time etc etc...all crap but you have to say crap with confidence to get selected in interviews I think). Now again, I am not passionate about getting into IIM's but it shall make me really upset and sad and angry, if I dont get through.
Maybe, just maybe, these are wandering thoughts, but its better to put them on paper. I am trying to rediscover myself throught these blogs and trying to find the real me. Or making people find the real me, because I am too lost at the moment to find anything. And then you hear the Beatles' song : All you need is love. But then, when you need love the most, you least deserve it, and also, you dont get it when you most need it. So if you dont get love when you need it, how do you know love is all you need. It might seem that you need love, but because nobody gets love when he needs it, it makes no sense. So all this is paradoxical. Love might be just an illusion, like life is. Dont know why I just wrote what I did. Another day, I will discover myself, and that day, I shall look back at everything I have written, and start crying, or start laughing, or just remove everything. But till then, I shall keep writing. And you will have to bear with that; unless you stop visiting this page. If you stop, there is no point in writing. But even then, I will keep writing, hoping to discover myself someday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Anakin Turns Evil...finally

So finally I have done it.Finally I have seen Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith. And I loved every single moment of the movie, just like I loved every single moment of the other five. Well some parts of the Attack of The Clones were pretty boring, but even then, I liked the complete product as a whole. I had always been fascinated by the Star Wars, having heard and read so much about it in newspaper and television. But I had never expected myself to see the entire series. And today I accomplished the aim of watching all the episodes in Chronoogical order (from the first release : A New Hope to the Revenge of the Sith).
The first Star Wars movie I saw was the Phantom Menace, and I liked it immensely. I especially somehow liked the young Anakin Skywalker, and with no idea who he was or what he was going to become, he became my favourite character of the movie. I loved Obi wan Kanobi as well. Which made me look forward to the Attack of the Clones. And when I got a chance to see it, I dozed off, bored by the romance between Padme and Anakin. Infact, I saw the Star Wars then as just a science- fiction movie with great gadgets, and felt that romance could wait.But then I was so wrong.
And then I took a two year break from Star Wars, when one day this June I suddenly happened to find the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, on the Hostel Local Area Network (LAN). And the sweet memories of the Phantom Menace were brought back. I watched A New Hope, and the Empire Strikes Back back-to-back. I was falling in love with the entire concept. And the next day, I saw the Return of the Jedi. And I was completely hooked, to this extraordinary story witnessing the triumph of good over evil. And then I saw the Phantom Menace all over again, and could appreciate the Attack of the Clones much more this time around. And then I waited for the Revenge Of the Sith to hit the theatres, and when it did, somehow I missed it. Till today. When Anakin finally succumbed to the evil, I hardly felt any anger towards him. He was just a pawn in the circumstances, and I would probably have done what he did, had I been in his place (how I wish to be a Jedi).
The most defining scene of the movie was when Chancellor Palpatine tells Anakin : "Evil and good are relative. Anybody who has the power desires more of it, and Jedi are no different." And he was right I think. Not absolutely, but good and evil are matters of point of view. Anakin felt he did the right thing because he wanted to bring peace to the entire Empire. And we tend to believe what is taught to us. Had Hitler won the World War II, and ruled the world, probably he would be considered good by the vast majority, while Churchill would be evil. The Siths were like Jedi in every respect, except that they used their powers for their own benefit. And since when has this been considered evil by mankind. Man lives for himself, doesnt he?
Star Wars has been the greatest influence on me, and the greatest story ever told on the cinema : becuase it tells all that makes a man what he is. Anakin's struggle is one that every one of us has to face, and while most of us, like Anakin fall to the easier path, which is "evil", there are also a few who, like Luke Skywalker, Anakin's son, strive to reach the end through the more difficult path, the right path, the "good" path. I think this is why George Lucas told the story the way he did : He first wanted to show a triumph of good over evil, and then wanted to warn us about how evil can take over. And while sometimes evil seems over powering, I believe somehow somewhere the Jedis will return, and hope shall be restored. Maybe there are no Jedis, but a Luke exists in everyone of us, who shall say no to evil, and bring back the good in this world. And the world shall be a much better place to live in. If everyone thought so, we had no fighting and no war. Peace shall prevail all over. And all the people shall live as one.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Of The three L's ..Life Love and Losers...And lots of Crap

Well I had promised you in my last post that I will write about the Losers, and here is it. The story starts off two years back, actually July 2003, when we, a group of six, with nothing to do, started about this group, called the Losers Group. Now this didnt mean actually that we were a bunch of losers (we were, probably, to some extent), but we were definately not winners in the context as we defined a winner.
Now a glossary of terms used in the following text: 1) Winner : (Also called a complete man), a guy who has all of the four basic luxuries in IIT life: a mobile, a computer, a bike or a scooter, and most importantly, a girlfriend. 2) Loser : Someone who didnt have any of it at all.
So well we were the Losers, and none of us had any of the basic luxuries of IIT life. (This is all time bound you see, and believe it or not, two years ago, mobiles were definately a luxury). So what we did to ease ourselves out of the pain of not having the luxuries our batchmates enjoyed. We started to act like complete losers, spending long hours discussing this and that at the place which proclaims itself to be the heart of IITD: Nescafe.
And there was more. All of us had this fetish of wearing yellow (actually only one of us had it, and we just got caught on into it), and we started coming to the Institute wearing bright yellow clothes. Holding hands and what not. Doing skits wearing our dirty yellow uniforms. Life seemed so simple then. And it was. And friends made then are the friends forever. We care about one other more than we care about ourselves. This is the simple life.
I have lost it. The writing style. Probably the more you write the worse you become at it. I am horrible. Not having any thoughts at the moment. And they say love makes the world go around. I say it is hunger and thirst and greed. Or maybe we are programmed. Maybe life is an illusion. Is it? I end up confused again.
Surprisingly, I didnt feel any nostalgia as I took my things out of my hostel. I have shifted to a new place after around 50 months of stay in my hostel. I still havent shifted outrightly, but even then I feel, the entire hostel feeling has gone in one stroke. Is it good or bad? Cannot make out. Confusion. Maybe love can save my life from falling apart. Or maybe it is too late now.

A Blog a day keeps the frustration away

I was just wondering as to why do people write blogs. I started writing it just because everyone else was writing something or the other, and because I had some three four poems I wanted to share, I made my own blog page. But I guess now that blogging has the same effect on you as does drinking. I think it gives you a kind of a high, which is good because when you become a confirmed alcoholic like I have, you stop getting a high from drinks (unless under some very, very specific circumstances).
Now, well as I told you earlier, I am working in a BPO, and as such we have night shifts here. Today is the start of my third night shift and as such I am starting out on a mission today : to write a blog everyday. Now this again is good, as because in all probability, I wont be getting a drink till Friday night, so this is all I will get.
Now well, I am happy today. I mean, kind of happy. Because after a long long long time have I been able to embark upon something which I had promised myself. And that is writing this blog. Actually the promise shall only complete itself on the Friday of this week, but it is good starting on it. 5 Blogs in 5 days. It isnt tough you see, but then I am often afraid of the easy things. Well, you see, I am this (2 hands open wide) bad at fulfilling commitments. I promise a lot to a lot of people, and in the end, end up making a complete fool of myself. You see, I have this side in me which just cant say no to people. So if someone comes up to me and says "Will you do this?" or even "Can you do this?", the answer is a straight forward yes. And then, most of the time, I completely forget about the task, and often stray down the road to MJ (well the places dont exactly matter, they change with time, earlier it used to be Nescafe, or before that the hostel TT Room), to well, enjoy life.
I still remember the Director's farewell to the outgoing students. (I was then supposed to be an outgoing student, but then a couple of bad things happened, and here I am, still a student. Actually, I am a student as well as working in a BPO, but thats a different, and a sad, story. Sometime later, after 6-7 rounds of whisky maybe). Now, here came to me a senior, he was in the Dual Degree, so he was passing out along with me, and told me, that I was required to go up and make a speech on the 4 years of my IIT life. It was supposed to be a thanksgiving speech. He had picked 3 others, including himself, to go and make that speech. I wasnt sure about what to say, but I was sure that words would come out automatically once I went to the dias, with the majority of IIT faculty, and my batchmates there. But then I saw the other three, who were busy rehearsing their speeches. And all my confidence was lost. I was not afraid of public speaking (or singing) when I had come to IIT, but the experience in my first year was so bad, that I had never tried either again. And there I was, on what was supposed to be one of my last days in IIT, making a "sponty" speech. And it was my best speech ever, and the one that beat the other three speeches quite convincingly, not in the language or grammar content, but in the applauds it got from the audience.
I started out as : "I am probably not the right guy to address this gathering, because I am a failure in this system. I am a five point someone. (Laughter). However I believe that what IIT has given me is not the academic fervour, but the best friends, the best faculty and the best facilties for all round development. And if I were to respend the rest of my life here, I would NOT like to change anything, but leave everything as it is, with the same friends, and the same faculty as I have got, and the same GPA (Laugter and applauds)."Later, an alumni from the 1980 batch came out to meet me, and told me he was very happy to hear me speak. I had probably summarised all of us, irrespective of the colleges we study in, wanna say when we leave that college.
I dont know why I quoted that incident. Its probably because I wanted to point out, that if you live life honestly and win friends, people will probably like you a lot more than if you are a self- obsessed "stud". This is true for any society, institution or work place alike. It is probably not all about winning. Sometimes losing can be fun as well. Well, it is frustrating to lose everytime you try, but it sure is fun. And when you start drinking, or start writing blogs, the frustration vanishes, and whon you have is a "joyful" loser. I guess I am one. There are others also I know, but more of it in the next blog. And I prmise myself, and you, that it shall be here tomorrow.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

All things bright and beautiful...

Remember this hymn which formed an integral part of the school assembly? It went something like this : "All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small; all things wise and wonderful, the Great God made them all." I still remember it all. It goes on further "Each little flower that opens,each little bird that sings; he made their glowing colours, he made their shining wings."
I always loved this hymn as a child; however as I grew up I realised that what this told us was true, but it wasnt the complete truth. If God created the things bright and beautiful, the same God also created the dull and ugly things, If he made the good creatures, the same God also made the bad creatures. And that is why I think that maybe just maybe there is no God. Because if there were a God he would have assured that life remained beautiful, and that the world was a much better, safer place to live in.
Or is it that God has died, or slept, leaving us to the chance of te earthquakes, and Tsunamis and hurricanes. Or is it the Apocalypse, mentioned in the Bible, the judgement day, or Pralay, the death of everything, as mentioned in the Hindu Mythologies. Because if any of it is true, life is coming to an end, and the gib gnab is about to happen. Or is it?
Is there a God or not? I am not sure. I am I am about most things. Want some whisky to show me some reason in life. Life is useless. A strange Illusion perhaps. Or maybe not.Maybe my next blog should be about Life itself. Right away, after a whisky perhaps.