“I like You, & I don’t want anything from You.​”

The inevitable quest of encountering unknown faces today is effortless work. Running into new people is a throw of a die away. It is only a matter of time and choice before we walk into a meeting of a joint interest accessible to all. Like an open mic. A poetry slam. Alcoholics Anonymous. A recitation. Or a theatre fest. We are spoilt for options when it comes to meeting new people. Yet, more often than not, we chance upon their presence, and the story ends there. Not everyone whom we meet with today becomes our friend. B(/R)arely, there surfaces an instance that elevates this phase of acquainting with someone new to befriending them. Even if one does overcome this hurdle, a table materialises in the middle. It has to, by default. That counter-top bearing cups of coffee, beers, starter platters, lunch or dinner salvers is a mandatory qualification, for it signifies the level of friendship one has unlocked with the other.

I have to admit here I find the role of the table befuddling because I am unclear of the purpose it serves. Not superficially, or by means of testing individual testaments of hunger or cravings, but intellectually. From the standpoint of mind play. Every lock unbolted in friendship levels today either results in a limited-time-only tête-à-tête or an extended slice of it over a prime meal of the day. Like, a coffee signifies unfastening a person’s rock-bottom individuality. A meal identifies the privilege of upping the friendliness scale to the next step. Which leads me to assume and believe that dearness in close associations is signified by taking a trip together. May be, for a couple of nights. Friendship today is all about establishing a zone of comfort that correlates with one’s time and spaceA concept rather contradictory to the one we grew up with a couple of decades ago.

For one, everyone we played with at the playground was our friend then. For two, the notion of catching up had yet to witness the dawn of the day.

Friendships These Days
Source: Internet

As far as I understand the idea of friendship, the meeting place must be of no concern. Except, the spot must be mutually accessible. The agenda of needing a table to rest between people – if they are friends – is limboing. It is like sending out mixed signals on a first date. The wood base resembles that cosy corner earmarked in most homes, somehow resonating with the occupier’s cognitions of comfort, whenever they feel like leaning or resting their elbows upon it. Or, there are parts of you that you aren’t comfortable exposing to your opposite number yet, thus analogously resting your legs in a spot beyond your eyesight’s reach – underneath the table’s stands. After all, the shallow counter-top only lets your torso in the open, but not the set of limbs you stand on. Or, the furniture top helps you cake awkward moments, silences, or bouts of split-second thinking with a timely slurp of your drink or morsel you forked inside a second ago. Such self-conceived perceptions about the ‘table culture’ only drives me to wonder if the conversationalists separated by a table in their midst are (un)mindfully inspecting each other with politically correct interactions. After all, when one has little conversation to make or add to, it is instinctive to reach out for the cutlery or that caffeinated cup placed in front. Take a sip. Grab a bite. Cover it up. Quick-think it over.

The Right to Privacy set aside, friendship in today’s generation is about social engineering. Social climbs. It is the way we are wired. Because on second thoughts, it does sound fashionable when one utters they are headed for a catch-up with a friend over coffee. My question being, why not pitchers of caffeine at home if it is the catching-up that matters? If a home is a discomfiting zone to be invited into, how do you refer to that someone as a friend in the first instance?

Are you a Friend?
Source: Pixabay

To be fair to the other side of the coin, there are circumstances when one is heedful of having their coffee while it is warm, or devours mouthfuls because they are hungry. There are also instances when one finds themselves pressed for priorities. At such times, catching up over a meal or a drink en route is workable and reasonable. Ordering for food and beverage makes sense because the feed time clashes and one does need fodder for their bellies. However, the plates, cutlery and possibly even the table long fade away from the spotlight and sometimes dissolve. Aka abandoned midway. Because conversations between these friends go on without the threatening prospect of seeing sundown shortly. Until they are jolted out of their provisional reverie a couple of hours later, pinned for priories once more. Causing them to throw in their towel.

Throw in their Towel
Source: Pixabay

Figuratively.

I am uncomfortable calling most whom I meet today as my friends. Our equation may progress on to the point of recurrent catch-ups, and yet I will only accept that I know them. For as long time as it takes. You cannot land up in someone’s friends’ list like that. Unless it is your Facebook profile. And also, because friendship to me means to let go.

It means of times when we met a bunch of people in the playground or the society’s by lanes to romp for hours together. When we knocked on our friends’ doors to call them for a bout of play outside or sat for video games until the mothers threateningly beckoned every one of us home; summer vacation or not. Friendship means of times when we have moved away and lost touch, only to pick up conversation threads years later as if we had last spoken yesterday. When we have asked our roommate to make coffee well past sleeping time as an excuse to get drugged and indulge in mindless gossip. Only because we felt like it.

The idea of friendship works despite you calling only to whine about the cake you haven’t received from months ago and have quit the phone. It works when you make plans that have failed to see the daylight and have yet gone back to the drawing board to continue to make more of them. Even when you choose to be politically correct and polite, friendship survives the rounds of titbits that reaches the perpetrator by the backbiter, without any one getting hurt in the process. It even endures times when you call the other person stupid or ordain a pissed-off sentiment right at their face, and continue to talk as if nothing happened. Because the defeatist emotion in the other has passed the same hour, it affected them.

Friendship means when succouring is only a call away. And so is a pat on the back while shifting from one stage of life to another.

One does not bother measuring their words. They need not choose between silence or political correctness. Friendship does not demand to incorporate a filter on one’s state of being. More specifically, their tongue.

Friendship to me means people with whom I can just be.

(Un)fortunately, they make them seldom these days. Or, may be I am holding onto an expression conjured from an undiscerning La La Land.

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Oh, how I wish I could go back to those Times

Oh, how I wish I can go back to those times
Waking up to the smell of decoction
Freshly brewed
The steam from the filter coquettishly melting
Into the nothingness of air
A croon from the tape recorder
Canvassing the morning’s backdrop
In hues and pastels
Of monochromes, grey scale and bit colours
A cassette fixated within
Wounding and unwinding its roll of film
One spool to the other
Discharging a melody
Palliative to the ear

A melodious discharge
Of triggering dependencies, it was
For even bathrooms and WCs demanded independence
Back then, refusing co-existence
Attached units, bathtubs, overhead and hand showers
Existed in books genre’d under Royalty
Or establishments five starred
Tiles, marble and granite
Ranked and reserved for the poshest
Of grandeurs
And ceilings and concrete meant
Cementing the bowels of the structure
Disabling any falseness or shallowness
In a revolving mixer

The disabling shallowness garnished
Travel sojourns with
Conversations and exchanges of
Self-trotted journeys
Dotting every train station en route
Representing a different colour from the wheel of fortune
Or playing cards dealt in an uncontained
And unconfined fervour
On the lower and side berths of the
Adjoining compartments
A slice and dice from one’s billet
Locking horns with another’s
Until
The terminus loomed into sight
And the passengers
Lost amidst the crowd
Once more, as they were meant to be
Only to repair in the warm
Coracles of their home

Repairing in warmth, it was, for
Anonymity mattered, moreover, preserved
Dear Diaries, LiveJournals and Reddits of the time lived
Secretly counting their days
Of restrictive glory, until time
Snubbed their momentousness
As selective segments of individualistic pages
Began to be
Trafficked, lesser to share
Better to demand attendance and attention
Instituting high maintenance
Flavoured with
Knotty angles and naughty corners

An era of discharging, disabling, repairing
And instituting it was
Oh, how I wish times had paused there
So that I needn’t go back
For, instituting meant setting in motion
The beginning of another era

Setting in motion another motion it is
As humans identify needs
Wants and desires, seeds sown for greed
And convenience
Night falls paved the way to
Artificial lighting
Clothing opened the
Way to fashion
Mobility led
The way to vehicles
And the inability to communicate
Harbingered beatings; mental and physical
And technology

Harbingering beatings it is
For our race
Continually has sought, what it can’t lay
Its hands upon
As greeds cascade to desires
That are spelt out as wishes
In turn, sentencing into needs
All meant to be defined, sooner than soon
As elementary
And, a couple of eyelid bats later
A birthright

A time of batting eyelashes it has become
For, we must be handcuffed
This time, by force
To go back
When out looked upon
To moments that seemed simpler and undemanding
Even if it means
Writing once more on leaves
Through quills
Precedence to walking over the attractive yet destructive quilt
Of laziness and lethargy
And embracing one another bare-bodied
Devoid of a manicure, a shave, or a shaped brow

Embracing the other bare-bodied, it is, for
We’ll be nothing – a nobody – after
Stripping our identities from social media and
The internet
A vicious maintenance of having to
Remember umpteen profile details and
Password(s)
Rescuing ourselves, if I may, from the audaciously
Obnoxious raves and rants
Only because we have an opinion
And an account
For and about everything
Sheltering in the self-made proprietorship of a handle
Under the sun

A self-made proprietorship it is
For travelling today means partiality
To air-conditioned compartments
And vehicles
With a pair of plugs vacuumed in the earhole
Or, a screen the size of one’s palm
Its brightness compromised
Based on the keeper’s conveyance
The thumbs pirouetting across it, above all
Like a ballet dancer
Not meant for audience’s viewing, but for garnering
Privacy, pray from what
Remains the unanswered piece of the puzzle

Although self-proclaimed privacy
It is, no longer the kind I want to take charge of
By instigating unforced filters, appealing captions
Or, even maintaining a milled
Profile, with a near-perfect image
Diffused with wordy opinions and succinct hypocrisy

I am bored
Tired and drained
By it all

A draining spell it is
For I’d rather own a puppet show
That will allow me to operate
The good ol’ strings
Of my accord
Not to (dis)prove theories of presumptuous assumptions
By a émigré
But because
That is all there is to it

Oh, how I wish I can go back to those times
Waking up to the smell of decoction
Freshly brewed
The steam from the filter coquettishly melting
Into the nothingness of air
A croon from the tape recorder
Canvassing the morning’s backdrop
In hues and pastels
Of monochromes, grey scale and bit colours
A cassette fixated within
Wounding and unwinding its roll of film
One spool to the other
Discharging a melody
Palliative to the ear

 

Burnout
Source: Pixabay

 

Of Opinions & Indecisions, Fictions & Fables

I am not a person known for holding opinions. Because I do not have them in the first instance. This leads me to assume that I must be somewhat open-minded, for I often realise that I do not have viewpoints on a lot of doodahs. Like, what are my thoughts on the country’s current political scenario? Nothing. At what stage is someone qualified to call themselves a writer? I don’t know. When is someone’s time to make a public appearance with their performance? After preparation; lots of it. How do I react to people’s opinions about me? Barely heard them. When someone writes to the best of their abilities, why is it not okay to still refer themselves as writers? Erm…good question. What is my take on someone’s reservations about me? It isn’t until you mentioned this that I realised it exists. What do I think about my neighbour’s kid? Cute. How about their dog? He is adorable, but I am scared when he comes close. What are my thoughts about a person whom I have only met? What is there to think about it when we have only met? Would I meet them again? We’ll see. Can we go shopping? Why not? How do I feel about my bank balance? Should I? From subjects of conversations to current issues, from general knowledge to someone’s socioeconomic status, from movies to a media person’s lives, and from a person’s choice of action to the rationale behind settling for it fails to perturb me. Unless I am looking at one or more of the said points for charting the plot of a book. Such an impartial outlook is probably a reflection of the fact that none of these, except discussing things in general, interest me. If they are served on my plate, I will devour them without a second thought. However, I find there is not much I can contribute in such situations than belching a burp in the aftermath. There, I have digested your piece of conversation. I am likely to nod my head along, ‘okay’ the speaker’s facts and utterances, and add a pointer if I have one to offer.

That is all there is to it.

Beaded Colours
Source: Pixabay

As far as I can trace my days of getting taller, I have been an indifferent person. It is only my way of expressing this indifference that has altered over the years. Think, in the flow. Walk, in the flow. Talk, in the flow. Eat, in the flow. Listen to what my well-wishers have to say, but act per my flow. Smile, despite the flow. Laugh, in the flow. And be done with it. For there is no point brooding over something that’s attended to already. What is to be gained by thinking of instances, to the extent of scrutinising, analysing and finally opining on that matter? Instead, I find it easy to be indifferent to many things. And people. Including my own. If one were to uncover a layer underneath, differences with people arise when there is a discord between our thought-processes. At such times, I go about my business without caring to look over my shoulder thereby keeping the devil, aka my opinions, on the subject at bay. Anything that I have to say on the particular leitmotif is only going to irk the other. Considering the differences in our opinions. There are no connecting dots, after all, only a parallel line. The alternative side sticking to their logic and reasoning on the subject matter does not mean I need to jump the wall to their side to agree. Lest I land up tearing down my equation with them. To be honest, if it is a relationship that matters, it must have developed over seasons of unbearably warm afternoons and chilly mornings. And with time, you only tighten the knots. Unless, we are talking about a connection that is bound on a bridge of fragility, such that a single misunderstanding can lead to fallout. Is such a relationship even worthy of being called one?

I can only wonder.

What do you do when one is unable to accept the differences and make peace with it, to the point of being adamant and influencing you over and again in their line of ideas, while veiling under ‘I am only saying this for your good? You put your thumb(s) up, mutter ‘okay’, and hope that, in the ever-churning whirlpool of fresh incidents, they forget about this one. Or better, let go.

Keep Calm & Sip Your Drink
Keep calm & quench your thirst | Source: Pixabay

Everything materialistic defined as must-haves for one’s survival is prioritised by the survivor. It must be. Depending on their belief system, thought-process and chosen mode of lifestyle. An unavoidable ingredient often linked to the pursuit of happiness is wealth. It is elementary, no doubt, for food, water and shelter. However, it is a commodity, and can consequently, be refrained from being a priority to one and all. There rests an alternative way to live with bare essentials; the choice purely based on one’s preference. Those who want to pursue the moolah go for it, despite the cause and effects. For a few, it doesn’t top the charts. Because their lifestyle’s cookbook holds a different blend of ingredients, where a paper note is probably a condiment.

Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, as long as it makes sense to its owner. The underlining fact being, to each their own.

I have been facing heat from a fair share of people since the time I quit my well-remunerated job to pursue writing and singing full-time. When Pachai and I decided to jump into it, it was an informed step we took. We had estimated the by-products that were likely to generate in the process, of which we had two options. We either deal with the arising side-effects, or I go back and find a job that would once more churn me that sure-shot salary at the end of each month. I have figured, when you choose fine arts as your mode of living, it must not be done so with the sole motive of earning. Not in the beginning, at least. Because professions in the fine arts aren’t reputed for being money-churners. The banknotes are only a corollary medium of exchange that is bound to find its course in the process.

You pursue fine arts because you want to.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 6.35.30 PM
What did you see first? | Source: The Internet

Interestingly, I have faced arguments from family and friends that I articulate my opinions in an abstracted and daydreamy attitude because I am an artist. Because I write. And, sing. That, my thought-process sounds breezy and beautiful, however, cannot be abided to because it is impractical. Here I am, reduced to thinking, why cannot an artist’s thought-process be as practical as that of those logical-minded ones? When finding a job to earn money is an efficient mode of living to pay off one’s bills and loans, why can’t living in a shelter, making enough to provide for three square meals a day, and clothing one’s body with fabrics that are neither tattered nor unclean be considered practical likewise? Does my thought-process come across that fantastic when I say money is not the frontal point in my survivor’s list? Am I giving away a delusional aura to the point of seeming deranged? Is my head for real in the clouds? Believing in the existence of angels squired with halos, wings and long robes?

When I can respect someone else’s adoption of causal effects, why can’t you mine? Why is it difficult to agree to disagree with my viewpoint, and continue going on about our relationship by tightening that clump? After all, it’s only one loop that we both, as two distinct individuals, differ upon.

Only time will tell
Source: Pixabay

Only time will tell.