Thursday, 26 May 2016

Facade

Sometimes existence feels like a facade, like one of those cardboard cutouts of buildings, all hollow from the back, propped up to give meaning to scenes in movies. Propelled by buttresses of wooden slabs, vulnerable still to the forces of the wind and storms.
Life's best lived in pretension- who cares what's on the inside as long as the outside is brightly painted and gives out rather jovial vibes.
I watch people bristle past, busy in their own lives. They glance over sometimes to ensure that the facade is to their liking, some wince in disgust at the brightness of it all. Very few walk over to look at the structure, at the other side of the fake white painted windows.
Sometimes I think back to my school days, how we used to have music and dance competitions in which I took no part. At the end of it all, when it was time for the prize distribution, we would celebrate together, all of us, when our House came first. But it always felt shallow to me, the happiness barely skin deep. It was like I had stolen somebody's success to revel in it. I would wonder why I was even pretending to be more cheery when deep inside the echoes of my shrieks of laughter just bounced off the empty inside, unheard. Life feels like that sometimes.

Friday, 22 April 2016

the storm

the storm rages on outside
heaven unleashing pent up anger
hurling lightning bolts
and screaming yells of wrath
the ground below shook
windows jolted
it really feels like the end

there is a battle underneath
this elaborate concoction of skin and bones
fragile enough to be shaken
with all the yelling there is a wonder
as to why there are only echoes and emptiness
an undefinable pain within
is there an answer for this
or will the rains wash it all away
till the voids are flooded
with rivulets of regret and longing.

Monday, 4 April 2016

New lows

Newspaper article reads- DESAM vandalises partying-bar, rounded up teenagers (http://www.nelive.in/manipur/news/desam-vandalises-partying-bar-rounded-teenagers); there are videos already being circulated on social media documenting this 'raid'- men yelling at shocked girls who were just out to have a good day. 
The organization justified it as a means of controlling 'cultural pollution' in the state. Apparently the youth of the state were falling prey to the evils of the world- booze etc, and needed such actions to save them all from doom. 
I guess living in such a place, where such well wishers roam around, forcefully conducting 'Keina Katpa' of couples on dates and storming cafes and restaurants, and dictating what you can drink and do (and taking photographs and videos of such raids- of only the girls caught, and not the boys, mind you), one can be forgiven for wondering if one has time traveled to the medieval ages, or even the age of Taliban. The naharols had already sought to dictate terms when it comes to the uniform the women of the state have to wear to schools and colleges. Soon, they will be entering our households and making all sorts of life decisions for us. 

There are several things which irk me regarding this. Firstly, why are only the women folk targeted when it comes to moral policing here? There is something very chauvinistic about the fact that it's only the women whose lives are intensely monitored and then stigmatized when 'caught' by such well wishers. The men are left alone, or at most given a beating. But the women? They are harassed and haunted for the rest of their lives. Why these double standards?

Secondly, as far as I know (correct me if I am wrong, sometimes I feel I am), we are in the 21st century in a democratic country. Each of us enjoy fundamental rights- certain freedoms. Maybe most of these people skipped their Polity classes to participate in dharnas and what not, but hello? We can choose to do what we wish, unless it infringes on others' freedom and rights. Since when is drinking with a group of friends and dating heinous crimes which affected your way of life? 

Okay, drinking alcohol and all that is extremely harmful etc. If these organizations really do care, why not stop all of it from the top to bottom- target those who bring in the booze (The army canteens? The big shots who bring it all on a massive scale?)- Okay, if they want to focus on only cafes and restaurants- why not all of them? There are so many here owned by influential folks- why are those excluded? Where does all the courage and venom go then? 

Cultural pollution they call it? I don't know what they were doing during their school days but surely they studied that unless you control all sources of pollution, it won't go away? Shutting down one industry won't magically make all the carbon monoxide and dioxide float away. You have to shut down all at the source. 
Or if you can't, get used to the polluted air, and environment. Buy masks to protect yourself, and let others breathe however they wish to.
You get what I am saying... 

Live and let live.




Thursday, 10 March 2016

3/11 spectre

the mind is a strange thing, needing to be replenished every now and then with fresh sprinkles of hope and sparks of passion in order to survive.
bleak hopelessness overpowers souls with every passing wave of time.
I have become a grave of my once youthful energetic self- there was a time when I felt invincible, overflowing with ideas and illusions of how I would shine.
and now all that is left are doubts.
strangers look to me, polite smiles in place, and ask about life plans and goals.
I fear my own answer, and have chosen the path of 'figuring out life' with a silly smile to numb the overwhelming feeling of failure.
time races past my struggling self,
with each passing tide I struggle to make sense of all that I am and all that I wish to be.
there's still a flickering warmth inside, awakened once a while by well wishers who see me as more that what I seem,
they once saw the light in me, and even now strain their eyes to catch a glimpse again.

I flip through photographs, hoping for a peek at a spectre of my illustrious self, before all the self doubts and worries sneaked in their ugly selves and darkened my heart.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Unseen scars scatter on blemished skin,
Each a infliction of unkind words spoken.
It is so cruel, so very cruel,
How easily words can be hurled at people,
With no care about the consequences.

Monday, 16 November 2015

tragic



Perhaps it is because I am a simpleton at heart that I have failed to comprehend the heartlessness of human beings.
There is something so wretched about a handful of gun wielding 'humans' showering bullets, with no remorse at all, on innocent souls just going about their daily routine.

It seems to me that we have failed as a species to grasp the very essence of life. It has become an entity, cheaply bartered among various man-made compartmentalizations.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Agartala diary

This Dussehra/ Durga Puja break found me, with my mother and two friends in the city of Agartala to visit my dad's friend's parents. The visit left quite an impression on me, inducing me to type furiously on this fine wintery Sunday morning.

This trip had been long due. They had made my mother promise to visit them atleast once. And while we youngsters were not keen on a place like Agartala for a break, finally the stars aligned for it all to happen, and how glad am I that it did.

The sight of them at the airport, tears in their eyes as they waved goodbye left a choke in my throat, tears threatening to well up. Their loneliness and readiness to accept us all as their own leaves me with a rather strong sense of frustration. It just seems so wrong, that in the pursuit of all there is in the world, their kin has left them in an isolated house near the airport to fend for themselves. At some point my mother remarked to them how amazing it was that their kids were so accomplished and had achieved so much in life, and the old lady said- what's the point, they are not here.

They invited us both for lunch the last day in Agartala- the two watching over us as we ate, scolding us for not finishing all the food that they had laid before us; the old man ambling up and down the stairs carrying photographs he wanted to show us and mishti doi he wanted to feed us; their 11 years old toothless dog called Ronaldo soaking up the affection he received from us with a sense of childlike glee, and to top it all, the old man embracing me before we left, and saying- don't forget me, I am your 'dadu'- it all left a lasting impression on me.

And I wish, I so wish, that children would never forget the parents and relatives that raised them- those hands that fed and fussed over them over the years wither with time- wrinkles form, and souls age. Agreed, there is the spirit in all to reach for the stars, and to revel in the glitter that the world has to offer- but all that time, there is also a need, a dire need, to hold on to that hands that raised us.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Whether pigs can fly.

"I am convinced that the deepest desire within each of us is to be 

liberated from the controlling influences of our own psychic

madness or patterns of fear. 

All other things—the disdain of ordinary life, the need to control 

others rather than be controlled, the craving for material goods as a 

means of security and protection against the winds of chaos—are 

external props that serve as substitutes for the real battle, which is 

the one waged within the individual soul." Caroline Myss

Reading quotes posted by artsy pages on Facebook have a way of awakening the sleeping thinker within, and shaking up its befuddled state. As we go about our passing lives, dodging obstacles and often succumbing to our mortal weaknesses, we pause once a while, and look up- we question our very existence and the causes for the actions we take and the actions others take connected to us.
What I am writing at this moment may have nothing to do with the quote I have posted with it.

It is just that somehow I connected to this quote at the instant I read it. I do not know about the psychic madness and patterns of fear that Myss is talking about, but I know oodles about the disdain of ordinary life. Like any other soul fed by the fancy words one reads, I have begun to live in fear of having a mundane life and of never finding passion in the things I do. I fear settling for some things, because I was too lazy to leap and stretch myself for what I really want. I have never been an ambitious person, more of a happy-go-lucky yet forever-questioning-life kind. I fear that my lot is the worst kind, we think and think about things, And yet when it comes down to it, we resign too easily to our fate.

I have never been inclined towards controlling others, except perhaps my stubbornness clashes with that of others, but I guess that does not count? Or perhaps I do not want it to count, because I feel it is a very negative feeling- that of control. Thinking individuals should not want to control, there should only be the desire to liberate others. Then again, what one feels cannot be helped.

I have seen this craving for material goods- I have seen hoarding of things, shiny and warm by a loved one. Though I give her hell for it sometimes, deep down I know it is to try and rid herself of all the pain and humiliation she felt when she did not have it all several decades back. In this world of fast shopping bags-obsessed existence, who can blame the fallen souls who have swooped down to replacing feelings and emotions with material possessions.

Personally, I do not know about not wanting chaos, I feel if one wants a not so ordinary life, one must have lots of chaos- chaos is the only thing which can sweep away the ordinary aspects of life. Chaos is that phenomenal gust of wind that blows down everything that stands in its path, and changes the status quo. Then again, chaos is stressful.

Of battle within the individual soul, I know plenty. I face it every passing day. Being a confused soul in this harsh know-it-all world has a way of doing that to you. And I guess we resort to all possible manifestations of that is seen in the above mentioned quirks. We as an entire race, have never been entirely confident with questions aimed at our inner selves. At the earliest possible moment, we deflect it to other things- let's not talk about my inner self, let's instead talk about whether pigs can fly. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Don't make me wear your shoes.

There's something wrong with the society we live in today. We have been poisoned by ugly hatred and intolerance to such an extent that we act out in beastly ways. We spew out our anger at those who can do nothing to defend themselves. Surely this intolerance has stemmed from someplace. Are people born intolerant? Are they induced to become intolerant due to something which happened to them. Solzhenitsyn was rather blunt about the root cause of it. He said- "It's an universal law-- intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.” True, perhaps.

We see its manifestations almost everywhere now.

In the mainland, the ban on beef has showed its ugly side, and the ugly truth that for some hypocrites of the world, the life of a cow is far more costly than that of human beings. The killing of an old man on the suspicion of beef consumption by beating him to death is a rather goose-bumps inducing news item. It evokes a sense of frustration and disgust towards these intolerant bigots who would do anything to ensure that their ideas are followed by everybody. Whatever happened to that now almost utopian notion of equality of all, and respect towards all religions alike.
We are so quick, as a community to point our fingers at certain communities and laugh at their rigidity, and yet we do not shy away from heinous actions to make sure that our diktats are listened to by all alike.

Forget the fact that the very idea of banning meat is ridiculous, the fact that you could actually beat someone to death over it is just despicable. Where is the humanity that all the religious books talk about and where is the tolerance that your 'Father of the nation' spent his whole life preaching about.

I have never understood this fuss over religion.
 I mean, if you really believe in the greatness of your own religion, should you not feel secure enough to not be bothered by what anyone is saying against it. Religion is such a personal thing. It is an inner belief.
 Faith, in religion, does not mean going on rooftops and advertising it to everyone, and then being insulted that people would dare to believe in some other God.

 At the end of the day, when we die, more likely than not, there is no such thing as heaven.Or even if there is, there certainly are no compartments for the different religions of the world. We can say with certainty that we will all end up in the same place, where it would be rather difficult to fight it out (since we would not have our flesh and bones, to punch, kick, and stab people with).

 So why this anger, and intolerance. Live peacefully. Do wrong to none. Respect others' religion. And if you question any aspect of their religion, do so internally. You do not need to jab your finger at others or tell them what is wrong or right.
Peace!

I will end this rant with a rather apt quote that I read recently- “Religion is like a pair of shoes.....Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes.” 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

World Tourism Day in Andro


I have always wanted to attend cultural events in Manipur. It saddens me so that I know almost nothing about my home-state and its very rich culture and heritage.


 It was therefore no surprise to anyone that I jumped at the opportunity to attend the World Tourism day event at Andro. My mother was rather finicky about sending me to a music festival considering the fondness some Manipuris have for booze, and their inability to act civil after downing gallons of it. But the desperation I displayed paid off its dividend and finally with my father's stamp of approval (with the condition that I am accompanied by a hockey-team sized squad), I found myself sardine tin-packed in our car heading to Andro. Of course, the sheer size of the squad brought with it its own problems. The day was rather filled with a lot of waiting- for food, for people to get ready, for people to come out, etc. But none of it could dampen our spirits.


The venue in itself was breathtaking; in the Santhei National park, caressed by hills on three sides, and the stage set in the middle of a water body. There was a considerable crowd already there, soaking in the atmosphere; a feeling of excitement, just like the kind we were feeling.

The event itself was well organized if you ignored the fact that it was literally running as per INDIAN standard time. I am not complaining about that because it meant, even though we finally turned up to the venue at 1.30pm, we still got to see the traditional segment (which was supposed to have been done and dusted with by 12).

And while I cannot remember the name of the singers or the comedians who performed that day, I can remember the pride I felt to belong here. And I guess that is why organizing such events is important- to provide a sort of connect and attachment across generations to the land.
For months, what had occupied the minds of those here in Manipur was agitation and anger, protests and dissatisfaction. To have such an event after the long drawn out negativity was refreshing.