Mornings are a bitch

February 16, 2010 at 06:09 (Reflections)

Mornings are a bitch.

Sleep is elusive and carefully thought up ideas are torn apart. Firefox has come out with a new update where we can have cool themes like Chrome (which is another bitch.) I settled for a theme of Lenin with the flag of the former USSR. In IIMA, the bastion of capitalism. It seemed to bring out my latent love for a good argument. Latent because people mistake arguing (or to put it in a more genteel way – debating ) with antagonising. Pity.

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Some thoughts on the dying notes of a Shenai

February 11, 2010 at 23:39 (Reflections)

There are some pieces of music that don’t leave you. It lies submerged in your subconscious until one day something reminds you of it and you hurriedly dig it out and play it. And wish that you had a nice set of speakers to play it on. One such song for me is the instrumental version of “Ye Jo Des Hai” from the movie Swades.

Perhaps it is not a very imaginative piece nor a groundbreaking one musically. Perhaps the emotions they express in the movie are maudlin at best. But, there is something in the melancholy music that draws you. A recurring motif keeps playing throughout the song – a metaphor for an anchor perhaps. An anchor which we seek in times of trouble. Rising above the motif is the melancholy tune of the Shenai – fragile and yet rich and evocative of a sense of struggle. It speaks of being stoic and yet diginified in the face of vicissititudes. It speaks of hope. It speaks your and my inner emotions. It doesn’t end in victory. Rather, it ends in the quiet bliss of having faced the things life throws at you with equanimity without losing hope. It is a metaphor for a philosophy of life itself, perhaps.

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Notes of a backbencher

February 11, 2010 at 23:38 (Reflections)

I’m sitting in the back bench of a class trying to avoid looking into the professor’s eyes.  The professor is of medium height and is stocky, bespectacled and has a friendly face. His voice is crisp but he speaks slowly and carefully. This makes him boring. The air in the room is still. Stale from being recycled by the air conditioner. The air conditioner installed by starving peasants in the 1970s. The crisp voice drones on amplified by the noise speckled speaker system. Sometimes, the microphone latched on to the professor’s shirt goes off in ear shattering squeals.

Some of the students listen attentively, ask questions and take notes. Some of them read novels or magazines while others tap away on their laptops. The ones who are really interesting to me are the ones who are lost in thought. What could they be thinking about? What universe do they inhabit?

I close my eyes and imagine the scene without any sound, in slow motion and in black &white. A pinch of drama in an otherwise mundane class. I imagine the professor gesticulating slowly while his mouth moves at an unnaturally slow pace. The sound, slowed down, is deep and drawn out burdening the fragile sound system. Colours are replaced with shades of black and white whose intensity reflected the colour whose place they took.

Speaking of B&W, I was suddenly reminded of the fact that I haven’t seen a B&W movie in a theatre. I’ve seen colour movies which have sequences in B&W but have never seen an ancient, cob-webbed, scratchy B&W movie in a theatre. I’ve looked for such theatres which play B&W movies but never found any. There are entire universes I would never know.

As a writer, this troubles me. The world consists of innumerable stories which hold secrets of the billions who inhabit this world. I want to know these secrets to write stories. Now that I know that there are vast swathes of knowledge which are closed to me, I have to construct alternate universes and people them. However, at the back of my mind, there is always an anxiety about the authenticity of the universes I create. Is it real? Would someone connect with what I write? Am I being pretentious and false? The answers elude me.

Perhaps pretentiousness is not so bad. Perhaps curiosity leads to no good. Some lines which I vaguely remember reading while reading up on the Rig Veda came to my mind:

Who really knows, who could here proclaim
Whence this creation flows, where is its origin?
With this great surge the Gods made their appearance.
Who therefore knows from where it did arise?

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