Why I do What I do?

A few could have anticipated the prominence, dominance and control of the internet in our lives today. Fundamental reasons have always underlined human desires. The concept of nights introduced artificial lighting. The need for entertainment presented the radio. The lack of visual leisure brought on the television. Portability introduced Walkman. Likewise, the need for internet too began with the quintessential lure of communicating faster with near-and-dear ones. Emails paved the way to shed the fear of the unknown by attempting to embrace globalisation. And chat rooms followed suit. The internet also introduced accessibility at our fingertips incorporating in us another lesson that achieving anything is possible with the right set of mind (in this case, keywords). At first, the desired results were posters of our favourite media persons. Today, it is information. When it comes to the human race, everything materialistic begins with a basic want, evolving into a cannot-do-without need. Sometimes, we lose sight in the process, much so that we no longer identify the point we are heading to or why we are doing so despite setting a goal, maintaining a calendar and rain checking on the milestones that are at times, abetted with a carrot-and-stick approach.

Although a pioneer, the internet had a purpose behind crawling into our already confused sentience. Search engines, keywords and social media were stages of jargons that knotted our lifestyles with a psychological obligation; yet, they were all done so with a reason – to regale our constitutional birthright of the freedom of speech. Profit-sucking enterprises saw a booming venture of providing the means through swifter shores, thereby introducing to us quicker modes ‘to enable’ faster communication. Another reason discovered here, the result of which was the nimble modems. Thereby, wireless internet. If we hadn’t purchased a Wi-fi connection by the early millennial years, the society might have shunned us out for good. And today, the Wi-fi is as basic a need as electricity, plumbing lines, kitchen and food; a bare essential in a house.

Must we tip our hats to those who envisioned wooing people to fall into the pit of live ‘faster’ and ‘smarter’? Or, was it our need to keep up with that friend in school who had the internet while we did not? The mindful coercion of societal and social obligations?

Doodle Bull
Via: Doodle Happy

Over time, the global computer network has curated counselling, guidances, therapies, personality tests, doctor consultations and what not, all through a stream of web pages. Had food and air been served to us by some online means, we could live off virtually. The spell is fulsome, browsing page after page, devouring their contents, accumulating the data, and yet it doesn’t feel enough. No amount of knowledge is. It’s bamboozling. Blogs, discussion centres, dedicated forums, research materials, reports, psychological backups, health expert analysis and bam! a keyword later, it’s there. As if this weren’t enough, articles talking about the behavioural traits that define one as a genius, an introvert/ambivert/extrovert, a bibliophile, or an alcoholic add to the swagger. Memes of particular lifestyle(s) we’re so innately proud of, flaunt the headlines. It is nothing short of ‘cool’ to belong to one generation. We consider it hip that we are the sensibly careful, yet the vivaciously don’t-care kinds. We have a view on marriages, kids, feminism and gender neutrality. We fight for the cause of every individual’s individuality through a string of words on an online profile. For every person privy to the internet has access to a self-fabricated account. A space that allows them to concoct whatever they like and however they do. So many people have so much to say, sometimes clipped with pictures, that there is only a chunk rallying out in the heat. The means of fighting the freedom movement have evidently evolved.

Is the internet still serving its means of ‘living faster and smarter’? Or, am I missing something here?

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Via: Pixabay

Tips, courses, workshops and everything under the sun is offered online these days. With subgenres. For instance, a writing workshop explores creative writing, literary writing, book writing, report writing, categorical writing, short story writing – the list goes on. A couple of days ago, I came across a few articles on WordPress Discover, one of which talked about why they will never let go of their blog space on WordPress. Another highlighted the five discoveries they had made in their journey of transitioning fromView atop Arc de Triomphe, Paris writing blogs to a book. And I am sitting here thinking when I should time my next cup of coffee so that I refrain from going back staring into space. Let alone having a clue about why I am doing what I am doing.

The focus people own, the clarity they bring to their thought-process, and their presence of mind to make notes of the means they follow only to give them away to those who are unsure of treading on such paths is admirable. I also feel that planning and organising a mission to Mars is more methodical. Because after the internet, the social media, the online reading, and the internal processing at the end of it, I am lost. So lost, that I cannot comprehend the whys for what I do. For instance, I do not know the reason I write. Because I have a story to tell? I do not know why I want the tag of an author someday. Because I want to see my name published in my creation? I have no reason to sing. Except, I derive a peace of mind? I do not know why I am inclined towards creative vocations. They lure me?

Do these justifications sound sane? More so, are they acceptable?

I do not know if widening my horizons, meeting new people and finding like-mindedness around are reasons for me to choose an imaginative profession. For, they are the by-products of the process. But I do know that this is all I have, to cling onto. And that, this is what I want. To write and sing. I have no other go than to practice the two crafts. And because I have them, I do not want to let them go. If I do not exercise either daily, my day is incomplete. My sense of purpose hangs in the air to the point of questioning my existence. It’s hard to widen my horizons beyond getting the technicalities in a specific song, or the lyrical aesthetics of a write-up right. So, how about, I find it complicated to focus on anything beyond the details of the craft? At any moment? How about, I sing because I like it? How about, I write because I enjoy the process?

To be honest, I have no other explanation. Be that as it may, articulation isn’t my forte. Especially when it’s about the fine arts.

Source: Pixabay
Via: Pixabay

The internet either talks about the paradigm shifts of enterprises that are changing the industrial landscape or of discovering reasons for/of doing something. The ten traits, the five habits, the three dos, the thirty don’ts, and the nine must-haves give me a reason to move on. Because I am unsure of the conviction, each article brings. Maybe, I belong in the wrong era. For, I do not know after the internet, how much of it all holds good? Where must I draw the line to read no further, to research no further, and to believe no further?

Eh, what do I know? For, I am only a writer – and another hypocrite humanironically using the internet to slate my views across.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris
The Eiffel Tower, Paris

If there isn’t any Plan, Knit one then & there

My mind often wanders to those notorious corners of the brain that store self-shaped theories of incidents ridden with guilt, hesitation, stalling, anger and procrastination. From time to time, it prods awake the precarious train of thoughts that have been pushed over time, and conscious efforts, to an unmindful recess. To a moss-gathering nook that so diligently maintains an account of all trespassing and hypothetical what ifs. What if, my bank balance runs out tomorrow? What if, plan A fails? What if, I had chosen a different course of study five years ago? What if, I wake up one morning to discover that Pachai is no longer by my side? What if, plan B doesn’t pan out in the way it is meant to? What if, there is no plan C or D? Would I leave the city? Would I look up to an automatic, run-of-the-mill backup? Would I choose family? Or, go someplace where I can push one more bitter thought to that moss-amassing corner and start afresh?

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Aside from the self-proclaimed tags of being a musician and a writer, travel is an effusive companion I inevitably look up to. It is like a faithful escort that invokes in me a different kind of pleasure every time I feed off it. I am yet to find my comfort zone while travelling solo without an agenda, yet I have discovered its certainty as of the one drug I can’t do without injecting. Over time, its aim and purpose, and mode and distance have become subjective to the point of not mattering anymore. As one travels over more and more places, the taste buds unravel acute flavours in the process. Letting the gallivanter settle on the ones they find appealing. My palate is towns. Or, places the areas of which do not exceed a radius of fifty kilometres. Because they invoke in me a sense of belonging. Without ado. They bring about an attachment that is unquestionable and demands no looking beyond. An instantaneous affiliation to the extent that I do not dismiss the possibility of settling in it should the need ever arise. Kochi, Havelock Island, Valparai, Patnitop, Koh Samui, Madurai, Pahalgam, Kanyakumari, Manali, Kodaikanal and Masinagudi are some places I would hop off to over and over. Towns and cities with which I have felt an unsaid and unexplainable bonding. If the chance were ever to materialise, I would not mind living in any one of these locations. While the course of travelling enables us to reflect upon the dearest bits off our appetising salver, in the process, they also (in)voluntarily unearth our treasure troves. The jewel in the crown. The best-loved. Our first choice.

Hands down, Valparai tops my charts.

I first visited Valparai in October 2016, and my second trip was in June 2017. Although the people, the purpose and the weather were different at both times, Valparai’s elegance is abiding. I was already charmed by the simple-mindedness that swathes this petite hilltop, yet my holiday a week ago felt like the town had washed me over. By bringing me back those savouring moments, reminding me why I had so hopelessly fallen in love with this hamlet in the first place. As hopelessly as an unrequited love that doesn’t worry about what it receives in return, for it can’t let go of its lover in the first place.

There hangs a lull of mist in the town’s air around the year except for the two summer-inflicted months. Showers in the monsoon combined with a chill in the atmosphere and otherwise cold temperatures spawn the need to snuggle up in cosy corners at most times. The central town spreads for a few kilometres where inhabitants generate and go about their daily employment. Built-in retail stores sprinkle the market’s thoroughfare like dots to attract vain-glory tourists through sales of locally produced goods. Immigrants and a fair share of locals earn their way through toiling their brawn in resorts, inns and homestays, or the numberless tea estates. A noisy atmosphere resides in the five kilometres of the town’s central and only marketplace. Else, there’s silence. A golden one at that.

Valparai

Tea and coffee (at select locations) plantations bed out nonstop like motifs embroidered in an unimpaired loop of stitches. Forests, trees and animals are given significance over us – humans. They have the right to the roads here and we, as a self-proclaimed supreme race, are mere encroachers of the town. The laid-back lullaby in the air, the draping greys over the horizon, the welcoming warmth of the sun on days it peeks over the ashen-faced clouds are heartening blemishes on one’s mood. It is like listening to a happy, sad song. Like noticing the moon has flecks. Trees, greenery and any branching structures run amok and wild for as far as the eyes claim sight, embracing every bit of the earth they can burgeon upon. If one were to get lost amidst the woods, none might know until the news of the death reaches the thick of the town, a time by which it may matter no more. An incident the woodland may whisper hereafter amidst them. Passing the avid details like a dirty little secret from leaf to leaf and trunk to trunk, of the individual who was gorged like a grotesque gargoyle in the wee hours. While the forest may divulge the details of the incident openly, a mockery of Chinese whispers could flow between the greens, passing snide remarks about us simpletons having the audacity to call ourselves a supreme race, despite being unable to comprehend their language; the basis that differentiates humankind from other things living. As humans, we cannot discern the rustling of the leaves or the ensuing quiver of the air. And here we are, declaring our dominance and intelligence over everything and everyone else.

The beguiling silence, the fetching greenery, a dreamy weather and inhabitants’ simplicity at its best. I suppose it’s easy to fall for a town as such. Much so, that departing at the end of a holiday can feel gut-wrenching. To the point of throwing a crybaby tantrum.

A prodding when there is no design in sight and the occurrence of an eventuality when there isn’t any expectation helps because when it happens, it isn’t as if we didn’t see it coming. As human beings, we are clueless of the curveballs we will be thrown with at the next bend of the lane we are walking on. Nothing lasts forever; it isn’t meant to. In a second, we are celebrating the arrival of a newborn and snap! we are in an inverted headrest attempting to compose our gushing adrenaline. The impermanence of it all brings with it a beauty, because the moment we are bestowed with powers to predict our future, we will forget to live our today.

And so, at the confrontation of a life-altering curveball, maybe I will leave home and all things that are neither fish or fowl. Travel to a town that bears no connection to any of it. Go someplace I have found easy to belong to. Seek interim solace by getting lost in it. And maybe, find my home there.

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Just like you learn to Let Go of things over time, Stupidity is one amongst it

Travelling rations an opportunity to observe people from different cultural backgrounds, especially when it is to locations favouring tourism. Commercial vacationing spots are scattered with holidaymakers in no particular mix. Couples, backpackers, solo travellers, kids, friends, and a bunch of families touring in groups are habitual sights. When travel transpires in a cluster, a babble prevails as a side dish. It isn’t a conscious agenda but a defaulting sequence. Also, the purpose of tripping together can seem half-baked if not for that inconsequential yapping. A surge of need that’s inadvertent, haphazard and perpetual. A group of tourists traversing another gives the passer-by a chance to survey the other’s outward social facts. From the language in which their fragments of snippets take place to the garbs they don. From their food, if the occasion permits, to their eating habits. It is a sneak-peek into their world. A glimpse into their way of life.

Those residing in lands that I haven’t visited or lived in, pique me when it comes to their outlooks and mannerisms. The way their daily lifestyles are, to the approach they engage while tackling everyday errands. The food they consume, to the blend of ingredients that are infused into making them. The customs and rituals that are their part and parcel, to the reason(s) for observing them. I often wonder if one’s lifestyle could have been influenced beyond their ethnic norms had they resided in a town that isn’t their native land. Even if, a few hundred kilometres apart. That their life could have been differently lived, if only they had resided a state or a zone away. Because one of the factors India preens about often is its oneness, despite the diversity it houses. And on this account, when people travel in clusters to tourist-bound locations, unalike social backgrounds mingle. They interlude. In whichever form, despite lacing in the air. To whatever extent,IMG_20170617_124831_copy despite one’s unawareness or lack of wisdom of it. For however long, notwithstanding the briefness in time. If one were to give it another perspective, these are moments when frames, that until then could have seemed like reeled scenes in a cinema, surface. Shots that until then we probably had only seen filmed behind a lens, on a screen.

From moments of overhearing that chatty entourage of tourists, a slice of their belief system, a peek into their parenting styles, and an educated guess of their thought-processes forming the basis of everyday living come alive. Irrespective of being on the move. Irrespective of passing each other during a brief walk to a tourist spot. Regardless of the fact that the entire experience may not outlast ten seconds.

Except, this is not the case today. The prattling doesn’t fancy one’s attention but induces a ruckus. Sometimes, to the levels of instituting noise pollution and brazen stupidity. After a while, you only wish to leave (them alone) because they do not or cannot snap out of their cacophonic bubble. Such that it inconveniences the next person. Worse, at a tourist location.

Travelling with family, I have discovered over time, requires tuning to a different mindset. Not only from a planning standpoint but also from one’s mood board. A subject that’s cast aside to be explored another time. A couple of weeks ago, I visited Kanyakumari in the thick of the tourist season. Because it was a trip with the family, our itinerary included the must-cover locations. In other words, all tourist-laden spots – the sunrise point, a dip at the confluence of the three seas, a visit to the rock memorial and the impending statue in its neighbourhood.

The hustling of tourist practitioners in the town was a cornucopia pulled straight out of a kaleidoscopic sequence. Every turn yielded a different pattern, some of which pleased the senses. While others, not so.

Bubbles of crowds broke out at intervals speaking in discrete tongues. Summoning out loud their peers, blocking spots for members who were on the way to sit, random laughter, loud chatters, enthusing debates, and discussions about nothing, in particular, rented the air at once. The crowd seemed equally engaged while trying their hands in a variety of road fare. Hawkers lined the sea stretch selling ornaments assembled from shells, pearls and stones gleaned off the beach shore. Vendors calling out for peanuts, sundal, corn on the cob, tea and coffee hired a perimeter of the morning atmosphere. Cooling glasses, watches, posters of varying shapes and sizes amidst other trinkets to attract toddlers lined one side of the main market street, while street shops displaying assorted shell wares encasing mirrors, wall clocks, hangings amongst other decorative merchandise adorned the other. Smalltime bakeries, snack outlets, roadside eateries, and milk and tea parlours broke the monotony of the shopping aura at constant intervals. As an afterthought, tender coconut stalls sprinkled the thoroughfare attracting a fair share of fans. More so, for the ensuing malai after breaking open the coconut.

Trippers flailed about their arms and legs sheltering under the act of swimming in the crude, salty, crowded and unrestrainedly wavy sea. Saltwater flicked in the eyes of co-tourists as a result of their jerky and uneven movements even when they were told off not once, but twice. A group of girls clasped onto each other’s palms to form a circle in the sea, to confront the waves’ mightiness. In their ensuing unity, co-dippers were pushed deeper into the sea because they didn’t find ‘enough space’ to expand their ring. A bystander was nudged from a viewpoint, not with the touch of a hand or a word of request, but by squeezing a bunch of kids into the space for a photograph. The famed Thiruvalluvar statue that stood eminently in the middle of the sea was pointed to and referred to as Swami Vivekananda. The unperturbed Bay of Bengal was streamed live on a video chat, where the receiver was told that “this is the point where the three oceans converge“. Photobombers (in)conveniently stepped into frames yet had the chagrin to appeal to people to walk out of theirs minutes later.

The hustling of tourist practitioners in the town was a cornucopia pulled straight out of a kaleidoscopic sequence. Every turn yielded a different pattern, some of which pleased the senses. While others, not so.

When lack of judgment prevails, indifference surfaces. When contempt fails to serve as an emotion strong enough, questions about humanity loom.

What do I know? For I am still silently discerning why I feel uneasy dealing with people.

 

Confessions of a Teenager: Discomforting Truths or Soothing Lies?

I can’t summon an analogy that describes teenage. Even the thought of drawing one feels like holding sand in my hands. The more I cling to it tempted to believe I am closer home to finding one, the more it slips away from the grip of my palms. Teenage is a prolonged season when many of us manoeuvre into experimenting in the wild. A profusion of technicolour hubbub emerges out of nowhere, and one feels like sailing through it at a super-human pace. Whether to grab an opportunity or snatch a chance, we indulge in delirious energies as we explore another side of the world that seems to have much to offer. Beset by the fear of missing out we do not want to let slip anything, especially when we are passing them.

Amidst other desires, I had erotic urges when puberty dawned. But I swept away a fat slice of it under the carpet because I was ridiculously shy, unforthcoming and awkward. For the sake of argument, I couldn’t look a boy in the eye while talking. At school, I was unsure if anyone else in my class experienced a similar adrenalin rush, causing certain parts in their bodies to stir the way they did in mine sometimes. As bashful as I was, the mere thought of approaching anyone about it terrified me.

The adolescent revelations I came across not only soaked me in their glory but also made my knees go wobbly. I knew a few of my classmates to indulge in fickle fables. While in class, much between them transpired into sugar-coated hushes and saucy chits. However, a lot ensued behind closed doors after school hours. Although I revelled in many of such disclosures, my blood pumped in anxiety. My heart would beat wildly, the regularity of its thumps best suited to Eminem’s tempo. I would repeatedly rub my clammy hands on my skirt. Organic nervousness was the non-negotiable kin I had earned in the processAll for auditory telltales.

Or tall tales.

When I was in grade nine, I remember doodling a double-bordered ‘V’ on the wooden desk of my bench with a pencil. It was a spontaneous scribble during recess, driven by the lack of having anything better to do. After all, my doodling skills do not qualify to save even my life. Anyhow, I20170510_152905 coloured the insides of the alphabet with the pencil, the shading and the borders on the wood desk shining through. A classmate passing by asked me to erase it, for it bore the possibility of being perceived in the wrong sense. I wondered what could be inappropriate with an alphabet that flanked virile wings on its sides. As the bell rung signalling the end of our lunch hour and my friend returned from the next classroom and sat beside me, I asked her what was faulty about my ‘doodle’. She told me that it could be mistaken for a penis. What?

Another time, a classmate had brought audio CDs for a friend. It was an act the teacher caught, as a result of which she demanded him to hand over the CDs to her. When he denied being in possession of any, she directed to check his bag, a feat to which he obliged. She failed to find any CDs on rummaging through the bag’s contents. I was told eventually that he had hidden them in his underwear. Wait, what?

I used to find myself nodding silently when friends spoke at length of the workshops we had on sex education. (Un)fortunately, none of them dealt with the definition of sex. Topics hovered around the subject to explain the biological process, the precautionary measures and even AIDS. But, just what happens when someone spells S.E.X. was an area yet left to be covered.

I was spellbound by this other side of the world, except that I felt artlessly silly in it.

Miles to go before I sleep.

Atop the Eiffel Tower, Paris

You believe it’s a world of roses until a thorn from its spine pricks you. You believe in realising your dreams until someone shatters a mirror in front of you. It’s perhaps a reason why children are uninhibited. Because sexual maturity begins to mess things up. It is no wonder why we see tiny tots as one of the best sources of idea generators and our go-to people during time-offs. Their temporal concerns brim with all things creative and carefree at that, much so that we begin to ponder the point when we started to lose it.

When I was in grade twelve, I considered love a filmy affair. The way Bollywood did it. My first love confession to the 180-centimetre cat-eyed boy from my extra class was on a State Corporation bus ticket. It was my favourite, hey. A six-rupee chit printed in a green and pink combination. Whimsically influenced by Marvel’s Mystique, I wrote on the ticket a set of numerals the boy had to ‘decode’ to infer my message.

The numerals indicated the alphabet they represented as per their chronological order. His friend had told me off for presuming that the boy was a genius to figure this by himself. So, when he didn’t come back for two days, like a babe in the woods, I shared with him the secret to decrypt my note. Only to find out that the next day, he had asked my friend out on a piece of paper that read –

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That sense of wobbliness in my knees was back. Sexual maturity had begun to mess my world up.