Moving too fast

The cost of moving too fast is that one misses the sights. One misses real conversations, one misses the moments that make life worth living. One misses people in their lives. No side is to blame. No one foresees things coming to such a pass. When Time takes over, one has little options but to just synchronise oneself with the pace with which Time wishes to go. It works well, so well, often like clockwork.

Routines, meetings, deadlines, deliveries, end of the day parties, end of the weekend parties, end of the month parties, beginning of the month parties, hung-over Sunday mornings that often begin at 11 am — oh, the sheer pace of it! Before long, the Sunday is gone and so is the scope for some quiet reflection, some stock taking. It does not matter, the brain reasons. It’s all fine till I am moving, it says in its defence! Keep calm and carry on! To where? To what end? No answers there, Sir!

005-slow-down-you-re-moving-too-fast

Keep calm, they say. And do what with that forced calm? Pretend that everything is okay? No answers here, either! Tough questions have a way of answering them. If it is too tough to answer, chances are there is no answer to it, it seems. And, there goes the feeble attempt at introspection down the big drain. You need no answer, workman! Just align yourself to the clock and keep moving. Keep moving and nobody gets hurt.

People we have left behind have an uncanny way of never leaving our sides, either in their presence or in their absence The only roots of our newly found existence, they are the ones who keep reminding us that there’s a home to return to, where sanity comes easy, where love is showered upon profusely. Such people speak, we listen. Distances fade out the impact of their words, but we listen, straining our ears to hold on to the last vibration of sound coming from their end. Their voices are the last hopes in our newly built lives which play out in rented homes, in cities that often remain strangers, in offices that refuse to become home.

listenWe listen. And, we weep, for sometimes the voices sound unfamiliar. Probably, because of the distortion caused by the vast distance in between. We listen. And, we smile, for sometimes the voices sound so familiar. Probably, because nothing has ever really changed. We listen. And, we live. Listening starts to assume greater importance than speaking. We listen intently for we cannot see each other any more. Blame it on the distance. We hang on to every word being spoken, for every word has meanings deeper than our shallow new lives.

We send love through cute heart smileys over platforms that they say the government is spying upon. We care a damn! We exchange pictures. We talk on the phone. We sometimes sing over it. We narrate our lives over phones. And, in doing all that, home seems not too far away. Really.

Leaving home…

I am finally going to leave home at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Agreed – it comes a few years late compared to my friends who did their first degree from other cities. Nevertheless, the day has come. I am stoked. It is a promotion and an enhanced job role that is taking me to a different city.

I am excited to tackle all the challenges that come my way. Honestly, I can’t wait.

leaving-home

I can’t wait to see the house that I shall turn into a home.

But, then again, I am sad, for I am leaving family and love behind. That is a void that no big city or professional success can fill. The people I love the most are not going to be with me. That is a big blow to me.

No matter how much of an “adventurous-and-ready-to-check-out-new-places” guy I seem to be, I am also someone who wilts like a rose in the evening when there’s no one to go back home to, when there’s no one to  watch silly sentimental Bollywood movies with, when there’s no  whose hands I could hold while walking.

What is home without loved ones?

Damn! Why can’t some decisions be easy, like for instance, to be happy or to feel sad?

PS: Happy new year friends!

Image courtesy: www.mendosa.com

It’s raining tonight. . .

It’s raining tonight. Cold December rain.

It isn’t raining cats and dogs, though. Just the low humming rain that keeps falling incessantly.

It has rained after quite some time today. There is this smell emanating from the soil — that characteristic smell that accompanies monsoons.

It should be winter now in Guwahati, technically. But the weather’s changed. Global warming, I presume. It is not as cold as it used to be in Decembers when I was growing up.

Yet this rain, the smells and the sounds, the light blanket, and this dark night bring back memories of familiar winter nights spent many years ago at my grandfather’s place.

It is a small town called Coochbehar – a town that has always fascinated me. My best moments while growing up were spent there.

I remember how cold it used to be back then. How I would lie under the blanket and listen to the rain in the dark of the night. How the familiar smell would entice. How the night watchman would come right up to the house and frighten me with his blood curdling whistle. How I would hear his footsteps as he walked away from the house. How the cold winter wind would creep in through crevices of the wooden house.

Those were the best winters. Now the winter fog is no longer there. Things have changed.

Both of my maternal grandparents were alive back. I don’t feel any great sense of loss for them, to be honest. But a loss has been often experienced.

A loss of environment, warmth. Certain people have a certain aura and make sure that the places they inhabit emanate the same. The place has never been the same after they left for their abode up above.

Now as I lay in bed and type on my phone, I hear the low hum of the fridge, the wall clock ticking away. Mechanical sounds. There’s no warmth. No emotion. No sense of adventure. No cold wind creeping in. It’s a concrete house.

There’s no watchman here.

Why do familiar smells and sounds bring nostalgia? Why does it feel that things were always better in the past, when they actually weren’t? What is this mystery?

The story so far

There was a time I fought with the world. I fought everyday but I could not win.

I complained. I hated all.

The world seemed like an unequal place. I revolted against authority, and followed my heart. Half-hearted efforts yielded little. With my feet in two different boats, the journey was destined to be rocky.

Was I a rebel though? I think I was. A rebel without a cause, then? No! My cause was to prove to them that there existed a different kind of life. I needed to show them there was a life that was much, much better than just safely following the herd. I spoke to them. They were unconvinced. They said I spoke too much and delivered too little. They said I was a loser.

Then, one day, everything changed! I was destined to prove them wrong. I chose a life — no, a life was thrust upon me by my circumstances. Circumstances which at first had seemed hostile to me. I complained. I fought with an imaginary God. I cried.

I asked, “Why me, of all the people in the world?”

My imaginary God smiled and whispered, “Because you are special!”

Days changed into weeks, weeks into months. The curse turned to a boon. And I realised – I was happy. For the first friggin’ time in many many years, I was happy! By jove, that was the only thing that mattered. That happiness and that satisfaction was the only thing in the entire world that mattered to me.

Today, months later, I feel like I have created my own little island of “all that is right” in the vast ocean of “all that is not”.

island
In this island of mine, there is no hatred, no grief, no sadness, no regrets. There’s only happiness and good old fashioned hard work. Like a karma yogi, I work. And the consequent satisfaction is the biggest reward.
The mockers and haters are very far from my island. I don’t need them anymore.

In this island, I am happy. That is the only thing that matters. This is my story so far.

Thank you for reading!

New Picture (38).bmp

Thank you for reading! A performer is nothing without an audience. A writer is nothing without a reader.

I had started writing under different circumstances altogether, hoping to just pursue it as a hobby, as some kind of a respite from the moronic  life of a Math Honors student.

But, circumstances have changed in the course of the last two years. For the better, too! Life has been kind, for not everyone gets a second shot at re-starting life, wiping out all previous mistakes and regrets. Not everyone has a job where one’s natural talents are put to use.

I am happy today, after a long time. The written word means a lot to me. This blog means a LOT to me._DSC0054


(I have been super busy for the last month, which explains the irregularity in posting. Also, not having an internet connection at the apartment where I am holed up for this month truly sucks! But, I will back be home pretty soon. Hope to start writing regularly again. Before I sign off, once again, thanks for the reading)

For the “broken”

I have never done posts based on daily posts. It is because inspirations have to come from within for the posts to read well. But, from time to time, I have kept an eye out for interesting daily posts, more so, on a day lacking in motivation to write.

Today however, the guys at The Daily Post have for me a trigger I couldn’t resist.

Today’s post reads:

Tell us about a habit you’d like to break. Is there any way it can play a positive role in your life?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BROKEN.

I am obsessed with “broken”. I have always felt a strange pull towards broken people, ever ready to take them under my wing, and heal them. A sob story never fails to move me, to an extent that this trait has been used to take undue advantages.

Never mind, though!

Helping people has been such an overwhelming passion. Learning to say “no” is a lifetime project.

About broken – I have a different take. What happens when something breaks?download (1)

It is no longer like its previous self. Its shape has changed, there’s probably a crack somewhere too. But why would you call it disfigured?

Why won’t you credit it as a new shape, with its own characteristics?  Why wouldn’t you rather acknowledge its own independent features – admittedly not like its previous self, but of course something totally anew?

It has its own purpose, and identity.

Similar is the case with people. Broken people attract me because I realise that the kind of empathy, sensitivity, and goodwill broken people can learn to build is far greater than most whole people. It is just a matter of converting the pain to something beautiful. One just has to discover a passion where all their energies can be poured.

How often have you heard of people losing a loved one to some illness, later on going on to build support groups, hospitals, knowledge centres for others who suffer from the same illness?

Me? I have heard them tales too often.

A “break” can be transformed into immense positive energy. It doesn’t have to be always drugs and alcohol.images

Broken people also tend to take utmost care to not hurt people, or to “break” them in any manner. They tend to become healing centres.

What is so bad with being broken?                                                           

I want to explore why the general notion is so negative about broken people. They are the ones who are avoided and considered to be holding unnecessary “baggage”.

But is anyone really whole?

Truth is the world breaks everyone. No one escapes without a blemish. Some are just good at hiding it too well, and for too long. But, hiding has its own negative effects too.

Some wear it as badge, more like the scars of a war!

But, as a general rule, we are all broken. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Use your “break” proudly!

(This work by Subhabrata Dasgupta is licensed under  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The soul crusher

You who are ever in disagreement shall one day agree with my vision, my thoughts. One day you shall see light shooting out of my words.

You who are ever in opposition shall one day nod your little head in approval, and my heart shall leap in joy.

Do you know how much heartburn you cause when you trample upon my ideas, over which I have worked half a day and some more hours?

Could you not show some solidarity or at least refine my thoughts?

CST6005

Why do you instead choose to just berate, and criticise, and never show the path to the ever-complying learner that is me?

Oh why!

What cruel joy do you derive from shaking up the very foundations that offer me confidence in my humble capacity for creativity and intelligent thought?

Your method is maddening – your words seethe, I discard them as another of eccentricities, and yet at a later hour those words trouble.

My mind doesn’t want to concede defeat, not to you.

The fight that goes on within the recesses of my mind is of a mighty scale. The objective is one – to get your nod of approval.

Do you realise how central you have become to my existence? Yes, THAT central that my first waking thought is about meeting your impeccably high standards somehow.

Yet, defeat rattles my efforts – day in, day out. The reactions are varied – ranging from feigned indifference to righteous indignation at such flat rejection.

But, this I promise you, defeats may rattle me, but they will not break me. From the ruins of defeat, I shall excavate the seeds to victory.

That victory shall be the sweetest, better than any I have had so far. That shall be a REAL feat for I shall have matched your high standards.

Till then, I shall try.

Today I lose.

I shall meet you tomorrow again.

Image

Valuable connections!

In a previous post titled “The years are numbered”, I wrote about how I was unhappy with the past five months in which I had only worked and not done a lot of things that I wanted to.

I have been trying to change that a lot. I have started music again. I have started exploring again. A creative project however couldn’t be started for the paucity of time.

But, one of the things I couldn’t change was not making new friends regularly.

However, much later, I realised that perhaps making friends will never be the way we know it to be.

I realise that people of my generation will probably only be able to make healthy friendships and connections through social media.

That is because of the way our lives are – busy and disjoint.

Where is the space and time for socialising?

At least, I am struggling to find it.

However, this is not to suggest that even when I do have the time, I would simply sit in front of the computer and chat with my virtual friend from Kalahari.Image

I don’t mean to say that.

What I mean is social media can be a good place to start with. You read a person’s posts, see what he shares, know about what causes he is associated with, and suddenly, there is this natural affinity for him.

You have him in your friend list, but you’ve never had a chat with him. You try and have a conversation and you find out more about this guy. You read his blog, and really connect with what he writes.

One day, as fate would have had it, you need to move to his city. You let him know you are coming. You plan to meet up for dinner at his place; he introduces his family to you. There are his friends present who soon become your friends too. He plays the guitar; you sing and have a lovely evening – better than most evenings spent at your place.

This really happened to me, and this is why I believe how we forge friendships and a relationship is fast changing.

Mostly, it is changing for the good.

Otherwise, how do you explain an elderly man letting a young man from foreign shores, who he knows only through social media, call him “grandpa”?

How would you otherwise explain the long Google hangout sessions that grandpa and grandson have, despite a faltering internet connection, different accents and what not?

How do they still manage to retain the charm of a real relationship?Image

They could be having the same conversations sitting around the fire, and nothing would be different. How could you explain the guilt that grandson feels when he does not write long emails to grandpa for quite some time?

I am at a loss.

Someone I know from the time of “Voices for Damini” campaign is now one of my most valued friends. She is lady of such charm, and dignity. Every day, I learn from her posts, her status updates, her blog posts. The causes she takes up, the twitter activism she does really starts to rub off on you, and you do not realise how and when she has become an inspiration for you.

A blog-friend from America promises she will visit India soon, visit me and chat for a long time.

A friend from Coimbatore travels to Hyderabad just to spend one a half day with someone who he knows only through his blog. Last I knew, they were planning another such trip.Image

Maybe it is fate. Maybe some people are destined to meet, and social media is just an enabler.Image

I do not like that school of thought looking down upon social media as a virtual life for nerds. We have to realise that behind social media, behind every post, every blog, every comment is a breathing, living individual, who is unique, and who wants to connect to you.

In all probability, that person too wants to reach out.

Social media just provides you the platform by rendering useless physical distances, and the rest is up to you.

How you make connections is up to you!  

To tame a beast.

She knew it from the outset that the beast was going to untameable.

She knew, and she prepared precisely for that – a wild, no-holds barred beast, and a subsequent no-rules slugfest.

And, she fought it out with the beast, getting down in the mud. But, its power was bursting out of its veins. It had fought a thousand battles like these, right in the corridors of power, from whence it had arrived. It fought like it had nothing else to do in life.

The beast’s technique was impeccable, and it looked like it was a master in its game. She had heard terrible things about the beast, and it doubled her dogged determination.

But, her strength and depth were found wanting. In reality, a scrawny girl like her had no chance in hell. And, she lost. . .

It hurt, it felt terrible, and she broke down.

“Please teach me how to fight. Show me the tricks of the trade, oh beast!”

Precisely at that moment, the beast’s heart melted.

That was a magical moment.

moment

A new side to the beast emerged – that of

a teacher, a soft-talker, a guide, and a repository of know-how on how to fight.

And the two bonded. They talked.

For the first time, they talked, keeping aside pre-conceived, ill-conceived notions.

They asked questions, and got to know each other.

Disagreements were still there, though. But, they found a better way to find common ground. They drew their lines, and defined their comfort zones.

None breached the others’ personal zone, and ther

e were no fights, at least up to the time of writing this piece.

Pre-conceived notions can be deceptive. Rumours can be misleading, and hearsay is a trap for fools.

No matter how terrible a beast is, there is always a way to tame it.  

The trick is to find that way.

humble

The years are numbered…

The greatest and most lasting life’s lessons are those that you learn all by yourself.

Nobody can teach you those lessons.

You can’t borrow from other people’s experiences; you can’t learn things through their trials and tribulations.

My experiences have taught me it is almost next to impossible to get a head-start in this race called life. No, there is no way you can do that.

Primarily, because life is not a race, at least not of the kind as popularly perceived.

There are no competitors; there are no trophies, no famous felicitations.

It is not even a competition with your own self. At least, that is not the way things stand for me.

I hate that hurried pace that some like to call a busy, useful life. I despise it vehemently.

I quit that race a few months back. I quit that life, that particular thought process, that kind of company. I quit everything.

I started afresh, with as few regrets as humanly possible.

My new life seized me by the lapels, and had me in a trance for like five months. I threw myself into work with single-minded devotion.

Few months after that, the most valued word in my life became “Sunday”.

Living from weekend to weekend is tough. It breaks your body, but it breaks your soul the most.  It took me five whole months to realise that with the approach I had adopted, I was headed towards a dead end.

Suddenly, it started to feel like a race all over again, except that my only competitor now was “time”.hourglass

And, it dawned on me – that brilliant answer I was looking for all this while.

“Who do we race against?”

“We race against time.”

You are given a lifetime of 70-80 years on an average. You go out there and try to make the best of it. You try to accomplish the most you can in this time period.

You try to die with as few regrets as possible.

In these five months, I just worked. Now, work can give immense satisfaction, and self worth. But, what it cannot do is give you brand new experiences every day.

That is what life is all about – gaining new experiences. The kind of experiences people want to gather is obviously a function of taste and inclination.

But, invariably, life is all about gaining experiences.

Here I was spending five months of my life just working.

I missed out on writing and reading.

I missed out on embarking on a new creative project.

I missed out on learning and creating music.

I missed out on making up for all these years of not travelling.

I missed out on making new friends.  

I missed out on biking.

I missed out on spending time with loved ones.

I missed out on living well.

It is time that I lived, for the years are numbered and flash by pretty fast. . .

Images: Google Images