Sometimes That’s All that You Need

I got on a bus
That journeyed on a rain-soaked evening
Drip, drap and drizzle
Breathed the droplets, sprinkling the sensory
The presence of faces unfamiliar, not uncommon
A choice to converse or self-guard in the musically-customised walls
Couple of hours of solitude until the journey is met
That peace – sometimes that’s all that you need

I went for a stroll
Sponging in sights and strides
Saw my sense of sight, a bunch of new-born pups
The tiny tots stumbled hither and thither, while others tottered
Scurried for shelter as rains pelted menacingly
Snuck one under a bike’s tyre, the other under a heavily flowered tree
No less than a freshly sculpted portrayal this, while the liquid soaked the skin cats and dogs
That live painting – sometimes that’s all that you need

Up on the terrace I stood
The mind confused whether in need of an umbrella
Undecided, the weather shared the mood
Shone the sun as bright, while water burst from the clouds
Hopes of a rainbow anticipatory still
Pray, what could have been asked for more?
For appeared the beauty in the sky, quite atypical, for t’was a sunken one
That semi-risen seven-coloured band – sometimes that’s all that you need

I decided on an unplanned leave
Rhyme or reason none, just than to be with mum
Not called, or pre-informed, landed I at home
In front of the gates that were locked, and doors barred for the night
Knocked I thrice, to hear the latch unbolt
Out came a shout of an O! after seconds trice
Fumbling with the keys while she saw me stand at the gates, dripping to the brim
That unforgettable air of joy – sometimes that’s all that you need

I was to close this piece, now
When I felt a gloom rise high up above
The clouds approached rapidly – I could see them coming on
Wrapping themselves unto and into
Forming a ginormous vanilla-flavoured cotton candy
A stormy breeze ensued
The one that blew my papers around
Dotting and blotting, caught-up the pours rapidly on

I wished penning this piece a day earlier
A time that belonged to the dusk with a promising weather
And when, for a reason, I didn’t
I was handed the cotton candy
That, in a way of saying, could only indicate
You looked for a chance – take a better one today
So what, if it’s a later one in the day
That hope – sometimes that’s all that you need

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Of Art & Other Forms

Recently, I happened to stumble across a post by @change_thinker on social media that not only caught my eye, but also imbibed in me some learning. It went like this:

Never do anything for free what you know to do well about which there is a market need. Even for a start up or not for profit, even if they do not pay you make sure they respect your work and factor in your opinion. Otherwise, do your own stuff until there is a critical mass until folks need your skill set. Charge the market rate, that is the only respect that matters. #career

Although my initial thought (rather, a wistful wish) was if only it were steady, I also believe that too much of something can go awry. So, it is nice having to do something that you like for a living, the flip side being not only your likes become your dailies, but also there stays very little chance of demarcating your profession with passion. Whether these passion(s) are bucketed into sides, hobbies, or just-a-something-to-keep-you-off-the-mundane is a choice best left to suit oneself. Not that I have refrained from taking a stab at it; there was a time when I wished taking writing on the sides. Let’s just say it did not work out to my favour. There are friends, then there are acquaintances – the more hazardous of the lot. It is with them one needs to set expectations right given it is easy for them to take you for a ride, especially when they know that you will deliver what they are looking for keeping your relationship with them as the base. All the efforts, not to count the hours that is being put in from your end is outside of your regular. And for that, there needs to be some reciprocation or in the least, an acknowledgement from the opposite end. They are meant to be ‘temporary employers’; if it works out, well enough. Else, there is always adios amigos, it was nice knowing you. The worst (best?) part – you realise the worth of having an acquaintance as such who, for all you know, may have audaciously modified your deliverable without bothering to let you know. Would you really want to burn your ass for such dodgy assignments? Or, even take a ‘favour’ the next time, given they seem to be clearly unprincipled professionals? As @change_thinker rightly put it – that’s the challenge. Every artiste is a business.

There are different ways of tackling such situation(s). You may either take the bull by its horn and rough it up, or let it go and tread on more careful paths the next time. As ironical as it may sound, artistes need to be tough no matter how tender they may be with their creativity. After all, creativity is only a product offered as a source of entertainment to whoever wishes to indulge. Now, isn’t that the beauty of life – its nuances, paradoxes, contradictions, and textures?

When it is about delivering art, the process maybe chaotic; the end-product is nonetheless, an awe-inspiring experience (provided it is delivered the way it should be). For instance, if one were to deliver a concert, the practice sessions are bound to have certain confusions, for everyone closely involved will only be adding on and suggesting with the intention of getting it right at the end. Similarly an author and/or a writer, while working on a something, will only revisit the piece in an attempt to better it before it is pushed out to the readers. If you are the kinds to give it to a third-party for reviewing, there are chances of inviting a chaos only for the reason, the inputs given by the forcefully-pulled bystander(s) is only their view. Conversations breathe life into life, and are quintessential to delivering art. However, the bottomline – you asked for it. Take it or leave it – the choice is completely yours. Alternatively, there is always an abstract form of it. Deliver it – and let the mango people interpret it the way they wish to.

So, what’s your artistry and how would you hand it over?

PS: With due credits, all views and opinions in this piece are joint contributions of @Madhvisk and @change_thinker.

Every Man’s Land

Changing times, trying moments. If not anything else, time and change seem to be the only variables that stay constant. (Beg pardon for the cliché.) Each step of human growth is challenged by a change, an evolving process that comes with an option to choose – always. A sporadic bout of common observation indicates that there is an age until which one embraces change with wide open arms. Holding the rule of thumb good to this pronouncement, meeting change too may come with a threshold. Simply put, there will be a point when no longer will we be able to cope up with a change with as much swiftness as we may have done erstwhile.

Fast-forwarding this context to the present day, when did it all become so complicated? Or, should I say simple? Anyone’s existence seems to be surrounded by someone else. Moments and movements are no less than ‘tracked’. This is of course under the presumption that the trigger of this ‘mass’ following is initiated by none other than the source. The bygones of Stone Age introduced us to a newborn culture of privacy and nuclear families. As time passed and these concepts got butt-soaked comfortable, along came a finding that I tend to usually associate with the underestimation of human boredom: the rise of Social Media.

Social Media is not only an aiding tool in this vanquishing era of Kaliyuga, but has also emerged as a platform Herculean enough to empower mankind with untold stances. Trends are fabricated and shattered in mere hours. Sickness and health are embraced all alike. The faces on the sphere of the earth seem to laugh and cry in an indifferent baritone. As a Marketer, not only am I expected to move into the shoes of Digital Marketing today, but also account for the release of every single little something with a presence on Social Media, whether a full-fledged campaign or a one-liner highlight. Everything needs to go Social. Period. The reason: to ensure a wider reach; it’s all about the buzz. You want people to know what you are up to – that is, all the good stuff that you can muster!

Millennials, a cohort that researchers claim to contribute to one-third of the global population today*, have synced their lives onto Social Media. Their day begins with a smartphone waking them up; if truth be told, they have grown dependent on this device-varying-from-three-to-seven-inches-with-an-easily-shatterable-screen so much, that if one were to take it away, we may have just as well asked them to stop breathing. Data must be on-the-move and information is demanded on fingertips. They do not seem to have acquainted with another way of living. Liked the article you just browsed through? Share it. Loved the song that you just streamed? Let people know. Struck a thoughtful note? Post it. These enablers in the name of technology have only made the already lazy lives lazier. Earlier, there was the so-called ‘pain’ of copying and pasting the link from the source to the wall, however, one is pre-enabled today with a slothful convenient option that prompts going Social just as one reaches the end of the encounter. Found the article interesting? Share it. Or, sharing is sexy! Sounds familiar?

I chose to be on Social Media from as early as 2009 but it wasn’t until a couple of years back that I engaged candidly on (read: exploited) it. On self-familiarising with an extremely popular forum recently, I figured that shorthand is the new cool. In the process, I also realised that there were barely any forums that allowed posting while restricting it to the audience that only I wished would participate. Given the sudden splurge of the ‘reach’ factor combined with a sense of social status these forums are gaining, I found not ‘friending’ (read: rejecting) people from workplace equally tough, especially with the lot that I get along with well. It certainly seems to be an undefined property, for there exists not even a thin line between one’s personal and professional space. Every Man’s Land may rather sound apt on the other hand, if I may, considering not only can every man see what it is that you are up to, but also choose to participate in a space that may have been ideally yours for your selective audience! Granted, that this ain’t a big deal today – now that’s a discussion left for another day.

This affair of Social Media leaves me with a slightly unsettling feeling, more so on the ironical end of the stick. Not many individuals in this Millennial Age wish staying close with their families (except for maybe, one’s parents in most Indian households). Allow me to ask: When was it that you last spoke with your aunt, grandparent or your cousin? On the other hand, when did you last comment on a friend’s update? When did you last make a post on one (or more) of the online forum(s)? Quite sure, this doesn’t require any answering.

As paradoxical as it may seem, when I penned the first draft of this piece, it was on a paper. There were the waves that provided an aid to my hearing. A seemingly endless mass of bluish-green liquid converging far into the horizon greeted my sight. This picture was further painted with a fisherman who was by himself on a catamaran. Clearly, some aspects of old school still pull off the trick for me.

* Source: Internet