Thursday, 4 December 2014

This Moment

My incredibly cool philosophy professor once said that memory is time. If we have no memory of what has just happened, there's no way of knowing that time has passed. It is kind of mind boggling really. Imagine if all the clocks in the world went back an hour, and you had memory of what you had been doing in that period, you would know that the hour did pass. (Or maybe you'd just think you're going mad.) Now, what if when all the clocks went back, you forgot the entire hour and whatever you experienced during it. There's no way of knowing time passed, is there? Scary.

Time really is an arbitrary concept if you think about it. When you're with friends or family, it swooshes by. What, has it been four hours already? you ask. Now what about the times that you spend waiting for someone to come or something to happen? It seems like time is crawling and each minute feels longer than a day; painful and never ending. It seems like time punishes those that keep track of it; the more you are aware of it, the more it keeps you aware of itself. You stop caring about it and it lets you be, it paces away. It just does the opposite of what you want it to do: you want it to stop, it races; you want it to pass, it goes into slow-motion. Time is a stubborn, stubborn bastard.

As my favourite moments go by, I just stop for a second and tell my people: hold on, stop talking for a second. I want to remember this moment and how happy we are in it. I want to think back and remember exactly how you look, how there are small creases at the corner of your eyes as you smile, how crooked your teeth are, how the laughter starts bubbling in my stomach and overflows till it reaches my lips. I want to remember everything, everything as it is in this moment.

When I do that, it doesn't matter how fast or how slow time goes. I don't mind it cheating me of my best moments. I don't mind it going away as fast as it can go because I've got memories, and, after all, memory IS time.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Wild Beasts and Alter Egos

The mind of the writer is a haunted place, filled with wild beasts and psychopathic characters and alter egos; a schizophrenic or two; maybe even some criminal mastermind. He can think beyond the limits of a normal man. He thinks in metaphors, he understands poetry and beauty. Science and math are his worst enemies and symmetry, uniformity as unbearable to him as they are paramount for architects.

He processes every flake of information with utmost intensity and every description of everything is heartfelt; the workings of his brain as intricate as fierce; his thoughts as wondrous as scary.

The writer is a poor, tormented creature, carrying the weight of soul-crushing inadequacy that seems to be the onus of being an artist and not everyone can understand him. His believes are often dismissed as being too ambitious, or too plain. He talks about building red-brick castles when people talk about skyscrapers. He demands change for that one man falling asleep hungry at the corner of his street when people talk about changing lifestyles. He asks for love when people covet riches.

Is it wrong of us, then, to fall head over heels for someone who shows us a little sympathy, a little affection, a little understanding? Look at poor Sylvia Plath who couldn’t tolerate her husband’s disloyalty. We are all so easily manipulated, it’s pathetic.

My point in all this is only that if you come across a creature huddled in the corner scribbling in a notebook, be kind, be patient. He is living a lot more lives in his head than you can ever imagine.

Saturday, 22 February 2014


Times have changed. Not time, I may have used the wrong word there, PEOPLE have changed. People have changed as a whole. It must sound very old-worldly and I ancient, but it's true. Everybody is just less nice. There is a general rule to assume the worst of everyone. Not a soul is given the benefit of the doubt.

I was book shopping when a few guys and a girl started mocking the fact the I was speaking in English. They sounded absolutely ridiculous so I thought saying anything back was unnecessary, but it doesn't change the fact they tried to make me feel bad about myself without even knowing me. Since WHEN did this become okay?

A group of girls tried to make fun, amongst themselves of a girl friend of mine, who has really short hair; saying stupid things about a naayi ki dukaan and God knows what. Why? WHY? Please note that these girls were undergrad students and were inside the university premises. Is this what education has taught you? Do you sleep well at night knowing that you've hurt someone you didn't need to? Don't you fear karma or God's wrath or do you believe in no power beyond yourself? Is this what your family has taught you?

Someone broke a promise: he must be a cheat. The maid called in sick: she must be lying. Someone offered you help: think of ulterior motives. Someone has a lot of wealth: haraam hoga.
Why are we moving so swiftly towards being mean? Where are 'goodness returns to you' and 'jesi karni wesi bharni' and other common moral rules that people believed in?

What's sad is that I can't think of a way out of it, except every person looking into himself and accepting his faults; imagining himself in his victim's shoes; thinking how he would have felt in his place; being... kind.
Please, please, stop hating so much. Human emotions are simple: they give back what they receive. No good thought is gone unnoticed. No good deed is gone unappreciated.

Believe me, love can only ever bring back more of itself. :)

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Van Gogh Syndrome

One of the weird feelings that I assumed myself alone in having is the Van Gogh Syndrome. I swear I have no desire to cut off my ear; it has nothing to do with that. It's a feeling of insufficiency, of scarcity. You feel unproductive and unqualified. I thought no one else knew about it and it was just a few brain cells of mine gone mad. Then I came across an artist who had commented about it in some obscure corner of the internet, which, by the way, I have not been able to find since.

I don't know much about it; not many people know of it and even less confess to having it. In spite of that, the Van Gogh syndrome is possibly a part of many artists' psyche. (I make no claims; just speaking from experience). Consider a man who paints. He paints beautiful portraits of people and places. He is loved. His art is appreciated. Yet, when he lounges in his favourite chair, having sold one of his paintings for quite a bit of money, he starts feeling like he didn't do them. He feels like his art was inadvertent, happened by chance and that he has no skills at all. This... condition even goes as far as to lowering his self-esteem, driving him into an inferiority complex. All this will go on and on until he paints a new piece and puts it out for display. Once that is done and his new painting is appreciated just as much, maybe even more, he feels elated and happy and able... just for a while; then this wretched phenomenon strikes again. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Van Gogh syndrome.

I don't know why it is named that or if dear Vincent was a victim, but I do know that it shows itself in people who have associations with the arts: painting, music, writing, anything to do with creativity. It has something to do with the complex nature of art: there are no steps to producing something. There is no limit to what you can draw, or write about, or compose which subsequently leads an artist to feel that what he has previously achieved was accidental and there is a chance that if he sits back down at his desk with a paper and pen he won't be able to reproduce the results. Maybe it was only luck and a good frame of mind, or maybe a great inspiration that led him to be outstanding and maybe he just isn't good enough.

Poor creatures of creativity! We either suffer from arrogance, or we are agonized by this beast. It's the worst of any disorder you could have because it's not serious enough to require medical attention, and it's not disregardable. It does not render you incapable of producing good art, but it makes you feel lesser, menial, subsidiary.

I write about this so that I can come back to this and read it. So I can try to prove to myself that the reason I feel this feeling is because I AM good enough! Just so that I can stop me from doubting myself, so I can convince myself of my talents.

Oh, if Van Gogh could see me now.