Proses

Nerdocracy

A storm stirring in the mind : –

Just one of those days in the midst of Nerdocracy. Piles and piles of books and readings to go through, and this endless draft on MS Word that I constantly keep adding to and dread the day I have to sit and compile all of it into a coherent, compact, 3,000 word-long essay. A hot cup of mocha used to bribe me sometimes but I don’t see that happening, as caffeine doesn’t seem to get along with my system any more. On top of that, my mind picks the worst time to leave my phone behind in some distant part of the city, unretrievable.

Sigh.

One of those days, when fluorescent highlighters seem mundane.

Here comes A Timely Dose of Me. 

Little did we know what we were heading for during our welcome party at the GI open space at LSE. Those fairy lights and glasses of wine seemed to catch all our attention until the term gathered momentum, only to take us past Michaelmas term in the blink of an eye and here was Lent, more severe and more “summative” (pun intended) than ever. As the winter subsided, and the days grew longer and more beautiful, park benches and holiday destinations beckoned us over. But who are we kidding? This is grad school at LSE, and Foucault and Butler wait for none 😛

For all those of us who thought the Lent term was severe, welcome to the Easter break, with nothing Easter or nothing break-ish about it (let’s admit it). 😛 But let’s take a minute to reflect back on ourselves. We were probably the sloggers in school, the misfits, the “round pegs in square boxes”, the ones who wore soda pop glasses and longed for intellectual stimulation while being completely silly at other times. The feminists who have encountered one another in one of the coolest cities of the world. The crazy ones. The curious ones. The ones who believe a dissertation or an essay might change the world (bless you, Gayle Rubin). The repeated delete buttons before a space bar and a paragraph break. The idiosyncratics. The bubble-wrap poppers and often- compulsive shoppers. The dreamers. The insane with bouts of normalcy. The list goes on if you like.

When the submissions get too overwhelming, take a minute to think. It often happens that we discover the most interesting sides of ourselves while being thrown out of our comfort zones. And while you might be comfortably snuggling in your bed right now, the comfort zone I am talking about is the one in the head. Not knowing how many times that light bulb might spark today, and what we might encounter and discover before hitting this pillow again. Despite the endless pages and highlighter strikes across them, the tiny (fractioned) bit of us that grows every time our eyes move across that line. This repeats I don’t know how many times in a day. And one fine day, the writing begins. And it goes on. Delete, delete, delete. Caps lock on. Caps lock off. Space bar. Enter. Enter. Repeat. Sigh. Repeat. Stand up. Do a little jig (yes, PSY will do). Sit down. A few snap chats. Instagramming toes with smiley faces. Okay. Back to the keyboard.

And like that, it’ll all be done. As silly as it sounds, imagine if we had to write essays on typewriters and use whitening correctors every time there was a mistake or re type the entire page. Sounds worse than horrible, right? Millions of people did that before us. And guess what? Nobody died (unless they jumped out of the window otherwise) but on the keyboard? Not really. So embrace that little piece of techno heaven, and start writing. It’ll be over before you know it, and then.. (sorry)

*clears throat*

AND THEN

we shall eat cupcakes, watch movies, attend musicals, cycle around London, get “higher than the Empire state”, make travel plans and try to execute them and colour ourselves crazy. We shall regain our sanity before losing it on our dissertations, but that, is far, far away (or I would like you to believe), with a story/ a blog/ or many blogs of its own.

*nerdy fist bump* and silence time out (because we disturbed a cranky guy in the quiet zone a bit too much and he is about to complain about us).

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Proses

Dream

She squints to look at the brightness outside. Her eyes are damp with last night’s dream. Strange voices called you in her head, but now she is deafened by the silence. It’s been a while since her sleep had been interrupted so, where her heart lay awake while her mind slept soundly. Heart throbs and muffled voices. Clasped hands but different choices. She has skyrocketed so far away into a whole new world. Drowned in her dreams and aspirations, she’s got wings to fly. Unicorns and rainbows and butterflies. Some fairy dust makes her sneeze. When the world is hers, what is it that she longs for? When dreams are real, what is it that keeps her from sleeping? What is it that’s next to her but is yet unreachable? The closest and yet the furthest? So resilient and yet most precious? The unforgiving moments that stand behind her ask her the same question. What is it that she longs for? That that she has but might never have enough. What she has risked enough to bear the loss. Corporeal for the world and yet ethereal for her. Something that will never cease to draw her towards it. Moving towards it will slowly makes her lose her sanity while also being the reason that makes her human in this big, big world of monsters. And through this heart burn she does the one thing that acquainted her with you- she writes. The one thing that she believes will draw her closer to the unreachable- she writes. The only thing that she might have to give to you- she writes.

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Proses

1/10

Every single day of our tiny life starts with a rule and ends with a rule. And if not, it runs on a rule. Most of us who are uncomfortable with that word, try calling it convention. But the truth is, we let ourselves be governed by rules, forgetting, that someone JUST like us, must have made those rules.

Rules. It’s important to live by them no doubt, but sometimes, its even more important to break them. Not every day obviously. And not as a rebellion. But just to look at life and the World from another standpoint. We have our whole life to look at things from where we are standing. Why not look at the same things from another perspective? I have an exam in a day. I have innumerable number of pages to read. A tough paper to crack. My annual percentage depends on this. I study and give myself adequate revision time before every paper. I discipline my routine. I spend most of my time studying. Even when I don’t feel like it. Because “I don’t have a choice”. But what if there’s this ONE time that I am not able to? I try again. But I don’t feel like it. Why am I being governed by what I generally do otherwise? Its okay not to follow the same routine and meet the same deadlines. Its okay to score a percentage lower, especially when it’s not a matter of life and death, and it’s just internals we are talking about. We all are constantly sprinting in this race. We run by so fast, determined to beat everyone else, that eventually, we forget that in this race, nothing is constant. Not our opponents, not the audience, not the track or the finish line. We, alone, are the consistency. The race, by the end of the day, is with no one but ourselves. We outlive ourselves in order to beat others. Who are the others? It is us. You alone are your own competitor. Not me, not anyone else. So, in the end, when you look back, you ll see how far you have come. At that point, you won’t see how far you have come in comparison to some one else. It is not possible for anyone else in this planet to go through a carbon copy of what you go through. Good or bad. It is yours. And only yours. So who are we trying to trick or beat? Who are we hiding from? And more importantly, who are we running away from? At the end of the day,we are answerable to ourselves. No one else has that right otherwise.

Everything that we do, is governed by what is likely to be its outcome. And eventually, the estimation of the outcome holds more importance than our purpose to do what we choose to do. A possible reason behind that is, that we are so unsure of the choices we are about to make, that we want to be sure of it to be a win- win situation, before we even make an attempt. We are not ready to take no for an answer. We are not ready to lose. This vicious circle makes us forget how nothing in this World is invincible. If there is one thing that really is, it is our ability to overcome. We humans, are extra ordinary, not because we are intellectually superior. The truth is, we are rather naive and are constantly making mistakes to learn from them. It is not even because we are selfish. It is because we have this power, which cannot be taken away from us. It is the power to overcome. We can over come any situation we go through. We can over come any amount of loss and pain before we perish. And the most astonishing part about this power is, that we ourselves don’t know the extent to which we can overcome. Because that extent is limitless. It stretches till we can see the horizon, and further. It is our secret weapon, and we learn more about it as we age.

Coming back to rules. No rule is invincible. The world won’t come to its definite end if that rule isn’t followed. We follow it 9/10 times. We won’t remember those 9 times individually, because they’re all the same. They are those 9 times that we followed a rule. Its close to being any day in those 365 days of the year. We don’t remember each clearly. But that 1 time that we break it, it remains with us for the rest of our lives. It is most probable that it would. We don’t break it because we are afraid of the outcome. It’s important to have change. Life can easily get monotonous. It takes a great deal of effort to spare its monotony. Driving by the same route to work everyday puts us into this uniform path. Even if we are pre occupied, we can follow that rule, because it is registered deep within our conscience. Most of the time, we are pre occupied with stress, worries, apprehensions, anxiety, hurriedness, and so much more. That is the reason we follow the same route. Because we don’t want to take a chance. Sometimes, its nice to take chances. Follow a different route if you have some extra time. You’ll discover it for yourself. You’ll see something you might have not before.

Since all this is quite a lot to think about, I’ll sign off here. Before doing so, here’s a suggestion. Eat out today. Take someone you like spending time with along. Make someone smile. There’s so much to be happy about. Why be so lost in your own inhibitions, that you’re blinded from what’s happening around you? There is plenty to work upon, and even more to reach out to, by breaking the rules. If I hadn’t broken my rules, if I had chosen to push my head into my books rather than breathing for a bit, and a little more, I wouldn’t have sat here to blog. I wouldn’t have learnt what I have just written. Maybe, I wouldn’t have thought about it at all. So isn’t it worth thinking about? Isn’t it worth going through one chapter Comparative Government Politics slightly later, which I would anyway be reading for the other 364 days of the year?

You bet it is!

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Memoirs, Proses

Co- incidence

Co- incidence. An event, notable for its occurring in conjunction with other conditions. To be honest, we tag every second thing that happens to us as co- incidence. But here’s a thought. Is everything that happens to us, as simple a co- incidence, as sharing birthdays? It’s not. We console ourselves with the word. It is the answer we choose for our questions, it is the pillow we comfort our curiosity with when it doesn’t let us sleep.

Never before today, or atleast as far as I can remember, had I thought of stepping out of my cocoon to experience the reality of it. Or atleast, what it appears to be. If you agree with me on the existence of spirits, angels, demons, unicorns and powers- hidden and visible, it might be easier for you to relate to what I infer. And that is- that “nothing is co-incidence”. There is this power that the entire Universe holds. And that power, is stirring, in different directions every minute, second, and millisecond, conspiring, churning, swaying and drifting through our lives, to make things happen. There is a reason for everything we encounter, and everything that we don’t. There is a reason we missed something, and a bigger reason why we didn’t. A reason why we are where we end up. A reason why we don’t end up where we’re not. And eventually, what many of us term as a “co incidence”, is actually what the power of the Universe conspires to deliver to us. These could be things that make us laugh, cry, wonder in amusement, or just throw our hands up in the air. In the end, they’re still not just “co-incidences”.

For those of you who beg to differ, start reading Paulo Coelho. I cant guarantee that you’d agree with straight away, but somewhere down the line, this will make you think. To accept, or re invent the thought, itself, is a start, the first step. The first step, like in most other situations, seems to be  and IS the hardest.  A lot of things then, will look a lot clearer than they did before. There is no hard and fast rule or qualification for something to be called a reason. It just is. The power lies within us, whether to make sense out of it, or to flush it down. The more we believe in reasons, and the power of the Universe, the closer we are, to discovering ourselves, to figuring out the life that we are entitled to living- once.

Why not figure out the things that our lives revolve around? Or atleast think of them? When we perish, we’d be leaving a life behind, but taking everything we chose to grip on to. I don’t know about you, but  having had a chance, I’d grip on to what is precious to me, by my own power to govern my choices, and regret them later if I should, rather than blaming it or paying homage to co- incidence. Everything else, after that runs the way it did, while we lie in ashes to be born again- in a full circle.

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Proses

Sometimes

Sometimes, the things we tried not to notice, leave us spell bound. Sometimes, our own judgements falter and make us feel so small. Sometimes, there is far too much to something we underestimated. And sometimes, we overestimate our fears above ourselves. Sometimes, we take for granted the most precious things in life. Sometimes, we give too much importance to things that lack depth. Sometimes, we aretoo busy being the people we are not and sometimes, we are too busy chasing something that is not ours. Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed by this world full of revealations and possibilities, that we constantly sprint behind our reasons for existence. And the next moment, we stare at blankness, and wonder why we came at all.

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Photography, Proses

Chandni Chowk

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A flock of birds filled the Sunday morning sky for a brief moment. The next moment, they weren’t there.

The littered footpath had sprawled bodies on it, blending into nothingness.. yet so intriguing in their impact. What moved me the most, were two children, siblings probably, who were fast asleep, as good as dead, on a piece of cardboard on the dividing pavement of the main road. The swishing vehicles and loud horns wouldn’t make them stir. They were in some divine kind of state.. as if saying ..

” Whether the roaring buses blow their alarming horns..

or the blading cycles and rickshaws swish by..
If a constable asks us to move.. We are in no worry.. All we have to move is the cardboard and ourselves..

Curse us for our refuge..
We are not listening.. for we sleep divinely.. In another world..
We are brothers in the sun.. Brothers of the Earth.. Brothers by blood and sweat..
And the children of God.”

They were soon joined by a third musketeer, who appeared to have got them their morning cuppa tea and a glucose biscuit. They shared it with unparalleled contentment, with half sleepy eyes and a priceless grin. I looked away for an instance, to notice a group of bustling children behind me, and when I looked back to find them the next moment, they weren’t there.

On the other side of the road, was an opening to a hoch poch street with a charm of its own. Rickshaws lay on the street, some, loaded with their sleepy owners. The others looked like they were sleeping themselves. There were kirana stores, supari stands, and in some places, shops veiled with shutters. Dogs roamed about, looking for their daily left over of bread. Beggars sat to share a smoke. While, as I stepped into another street the next moment, they weren’t there.

Then came a few hand pumps, with some men bathing around them, some, beating their lathered clothes. There were ladies with sacks of fruits and vegetables and weighing scales, doing their morning business in full swing. There was an elderly miyaan, sitting in his own daze, with his newspaper galore open for sale. His white attire and white cap gave another kind of light to that narrow, dusty street. I saw plenty of darkness in the alleyways that I crossed, but after seeing him the next moment, the darkness wasn’t there.

After a few steps, whiffs of sweets and savories filled the air. There were tea stalls with blazing fires under the kettles, jars of savories and scrumptious jalebis stacked up one on top of the other, with the juicy sugar syrup trickling through their glistening stacks. A young boy stared at them from a distance, with not enough clothes to cover his entire body. Feeding him would give me satisfaction of a different kind. But before the thought could get me moving, in the next instant, he wasn’t there.

As I finished clicking my pictures, I headed back to go home. On my way back from Delhi 6, these images flashed in my mind. The flock of birds, the sleeping children, the beggars, the rickshaw pullers, the miyaan, the intriguing streets, the painful state of people, and yet the joyous grins on their faces, and most of all, the small ‘distant’ child, who I had thought of treating by buying him some jalebis. This side of the city had changed my outlook to things, just in one visit. The hoch poch layout of Chandni Chowk, and the sheer contentment on the inconvenienced people who I came across was indeed moving. And now, I sat in a Scoda, to go back to my cosmopolitan life, whereas, a few moments back, I was in the silver market, the historical Chandni Chowk, where everyone moved constantly inspite of sitting still.

I was there that morning, and before anyone could much acknowledge my presence, I wasn’t there.

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Proses

Who we are

It’s cold out there And really dark.. Isn’t it? hold their hand if you’re scared. To admit your fear, is to admit that you know what loss is.

You’re a part of a sophisticated crowd. Don’t let it stop you from being who you are. Laugh uncontrollably- it has a value, which they cannot bid. No one can.

What’s the point of holding your sorrow and killing yourself from inside? You’re free. Cry your heart out. Tears will make you gain something, which you will lose in you pretence.

You are human. When has accepting mistakes been easy? We all have an ego. But if you don’t accept it today, you will end up doing so, some other day. Life’s too short- why wait for another tomorrow?

Believe in God. It’s amazing how you are braver than you think yourself to be. Much braver. If not now, at one point of time you’ll know. There is a God. Somewhere. Within you.

Walking alone is not always lonely. If you accept who you are, and learn to love yourself, you won’t be lonely. Not ever.

Tell them you love them. Your heart beats, but not forever. You arent sure they love you back How will you know, if they dont?

Thank God for every day he gives you. Every person, every aopportunity. Every chance. It doesn’t come again and again,as it does in your case. Some don’t have it at all.

Don’t lie to me that none of this connects to you. It connects to you the way it connects to me. For, who are we? We are mortal, faulty, egoistic, selfish, hurtful and what not. But we all have the ability to overcome, and love like there is no tomorrow. It’s inherent in us to forgive unconditionally. To believe endlessly. To create miracles. At the end of the day, the question still tends to remain- who are we?

We have one life to save the world.

So what else matters? Nothing else does!

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Proses

Being her Stranger

Lowered eyes. Neatly lined with thick, jet black kohl, which couldn’t darken itself further. Lowered, yet sparkling eyes. Dark brown in colour. Shuffling. Out of being conscious. Here. Then there. Then still. Back to the ground. Hiding from you, you are a stranger to her. Then taking a quick glance at you. To take an account of what your face is like, where you’re looking, what your expression is. And as you almost make an eye contact, she lowers her eyes again.

The sun beams falling on the wet hair. Jet black hair. Scented skin. Bright, white kurta-churidaar. A tie and dye dupatta. Multi coloured bangles. Vermillion, turquoise, chrome yellow, bright orange and demonic green. All contrasting against one another. Their reflection falling on the white clothes, which in return, absorbed all the colour that fell upon them.Finely made kohlapuris, with a hint of the bangle colours. Big, prominent silver jewellery, dangling on the ears. Dazzled by the sun light. No nail paint on her hands and feet. Only grace. Anklets tinkling.

The cobbled, rather busy market street. The hustle bustle of the bazaar, a day before Holi. Bright heaps of colour here and there. Sweet shops. The air drenched with sugar syrup and festivity. Prayer beads and Prashaad stacked up outside the temple. An auspicious, festive aura.

Then again, a hurried eye contact. A slight smirk. Then a smile. Glossed. Warm. You fail to exchange it, for you are lost.

If only she permitted you to look into her eyes, would you know, the depth of their beauty. If only she was free enough to laugh in front of you, would you know what abundant joy really meant. But you wouldn’t know, you are a stranger to her. You wonder what her voice must be like. A breaking pearl string? Her slight chuckle, which she soon subdued, was enough to make you turn around, to look at her one more time, as you were leaving. She seems to barely have acknowledged your presence. But did you know, she was constantly watching you? No you don’t, you are a stranger to her.

You wonder what it would be like, if you weren’t a stranger. Would you get lost in her eyes? Would you surrender yourself to her beauty? Would her dash of multicolour dazzle you? Would you be mesmerized by her magic touch? Would you love her more than life? You still don’t know. Had you not been a stranger, how would you be  subject to such spell binding mystery?

You are not unknown to her. You are her stranger. Inscribed in her memory, or so you hope. You part ways. You are unsure of whether or not you will see her ever again. Anxiety surrounds you and you don’t want to leave. If you stayed, would she? You are not too sure. Not too sure about anything. But you don’t stop. What if she doesn’t? Lost in your contemplation, in a world of your own, you walk. Yet, the tinkling of her anklets fade slowly, and last in your memory. You remain her stranger, forever.  The mystery and the tinkling lasts within you for your life time, and forever.

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Memoirs, Proses

The Valley of the Gods

What worth must it have, to be in a land, where not one man knows the meaning of scarcity. Not one being sacrificed its dignity to beg in starvation, for it never knew what it is to starve.

Where tall snow peaks stood to determine where and how the winds blew, at what velocity- all at their disposal. Where the frosted winters were followed by a fresher spring every time. Where the icy, crystallized river beds broke into rivers of pristine, sparkling water. Where the pine leaves shone at day break and rustled with the wind, carrying their own smell of divinity. Where flowers blossomed and transmitted their fragrance through the heavenly winds. Where birds were not scared away by gunshots, but invited to fill the valley with their echoing songs. Where the beauty of the landscape and the inhabiting beasts co existed, like day and night. Where the summer days were at their brightest, and no one knew what brighter they could be.

Where the nature could be bountiful yet cruel. It’s wrath upon the people was blocked by the powerful divinity of the Gods. The Gods, who were drenched with humility, to have left their shrines to travel miles to visit the common man’s humble home. To be in the only valley in the World, where Gods were “invited” and not “searched for”, since they were every where.

Where prayer flags were tied across the skies, carrying the words of prayers with the wind, towards the heavens above. Where there were no gun shots or canons fired- the sound of the river, the chirping of the birds, the rustling of the pine leaves and the whispers of angels was worth no compromise. An abode of the Gods, who protected this side of the world- bountiful, in contrast to the other end, which witnessed the beginning of it’s end.

Where fun and frolic, along with beating drums, was not a matter of revolt, but that of celebration, rejoice, and thanksgiving, to the almighty, for providing the inhabitants what the world calls- “A land of plenty”, a land, they would preserve for the generations which would follow, the times to come.

“It’s here that you witness how beautiful every tomorrow can become..
In the Valley of the Gods..
The land of silence,
With echoes, of a frenzied drum.”

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Proses

Bhagat Singh

23/3/2011

Tell me, if you really visioned to get where you did, the moment you opened your eyes to the World?

Tell me, if you ever feared your childhood getting lost in the dreary pages of the National Struggle, even once?

Tell me, if you felt even the slightest of attraction towards her, when you left her before she even became your bride?

Tell me, if you turned around to look back even once, when you left home, and knew there was no coming back?

Didn’t it feel awfully cold to collect the soil from Jallianwala Bagh into the transparent bottle of your memory?

Tell me, did the pain increase with the number of times you fell? Did you feel fear instill in your heart, even once as you went ahead to execute your actions?

Tell me, doesn’t it take more than what Superheroes with Superpowers have, to do what a martyr does, and give away all that a martyr gives?

Tell me, didn’t tears stream down your face, when you saw the tricolour flying it’s limited days in the colonial skies? How far your belief must’ve taken you back then, how I wish you were present to see India attaining its freedom. You probably did, better than anyone else. Who said you were gone?

Tell me, did the hard, heartless floor of the cells break your back? Did the thickness of the prison bars rattle and shake the density of your faith?

Did the endless nights, filled with thoughts, soar your eyes out in the scorching sun?

Tell me, how crisp was the morning air, when they wanted to put an end to you? Did the sun eclipse with the moon? The blinding rays must have dimmed themselves out of misery.

Your voice blows with the wind. Yet, it is you who makes us stand.

It was your vision, which makes us. You can never be seized.

You can’t. Not now. Not ever.

Today, We remember your bravery today, a SALUTE to you and your martyrdom.

For you, we rise.

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