Archive for September 4, 2008

123 and still counting wrong

September 4, 2008

This is a blog i wrote in a sudden bout of aggression, on the 21st of july 2008. Today is the 4th of september. again i feel the same irritable sick uneasiness at the indian political sham. i just felt i do not have to comment on politics at all any more. i just have to copy and paste whatever i had written earlier! i may be shameless in doing this, but is it not natural since i am an indian!

July 21 2008

Ah! The nation is going to vote! Vote for trust!

Trust? Ah, come on.

123- elementary? No way. India is unique.

We are democratic, secular, ancient- never decent. We take pride in our idiosyncrasies.

Have you ever thought about the fact that all of us carry disposable faecal matter in our abdomens, which can be flushed away soon, if only we sit on the seat long enough? We go to sacrosanct places carrying this, after washing our face, body, feet and everything external- of course the mind is internal and need never be washed. Feel like shit? I do.

I participated in the circus of democracy. I voted. I needed a representative more than a commode that day. Memories!! Can they be purged? Do I now sit and read our `news’papers or bend over and put a finger deep in my mouth (having metaphorically already done with that age-old foot)?

Here we were, thought I, the ephemeral idiot of India, witnessing the dawn of a new era. Economists in control, scientist at the helm, IIT_IIM briefly-reacting-patriots in the cheer leader gang. The left- ha, even my caps-lock is not working for them, so may this sentence end its self-inflicted torture,and I, with left-over hangovers of the left, overcome youth, pant, sigh, curse and try to write. Words too are always inside waiting to be left out- shit!

Trust vote! This term makes me feel that I did not vote with trust. Maybe my trust was not counted as a vote. `How many more’ scream the TV headlines in mute ( I cant bear to see and smell shit, so I chose to close my nose when I pass human stinky excreta, and, modifying or adapting my behaviour , only when I see or hear news – doing both is suicidal. I am supposed to be a part of the betting blackguards ( by the way black or black wearing guards were never a problem to anyone), and I am supposed to bite my nails and wait for my driver to take me to a pub and say “hey what do you think will happen”, as though anyone knows. I trust my beer even only sometimes- it is often adulterated.

I am not going to a pub/club/water-hole this evening. I am staying at home. Watching.

Why do I watch this crap? Am I masochistic? I inflict this torture of seeing my world, my country screw itself up not even for a gymnastic medal; and I do it every day- almost to a point of addiction where I get jitters if I don’t see or hear the latest lie. And, the latest lie is the ~’trust’vote. I am not holding even a single share worth the non-existent paisa. I have become as passive as my other countrymen- I wondered if I should say fellow countrymen and I chose not to, because I have no fellowship with fellow-indians and other country’s men( no gender crap in this term, except convenience). They too seem to be like me suffering in a self-effacing silence. A silence so strong that it is never disturbed!Therefore was black more beautiful, and therefore is inflation not hurting!

I happened to see a vocal defense of the trust vote ( one has to defend trust nowadays), which said 123-IAEA,N_D, whatever the crap is, was like getting a passport and visa to the nuclear club(?)- that sounded neat. Only, I wouldn’t apply for a visa when someone important to me is in the critical care- (got it? You cant if you are an Indian).

Who are these clowns? How did they enter `my’ circus? Did I ever `purchase’ a ticket to this circus? I have, though I understand so only in retrospection. I have a ration card, a passport, a voter ID- most of which cant be used for many official purposes ( I had the harrowing experience of meeting and hearing someone say my passport, incidentally issued on behalf of the president of India, is not a valid document- and at that time pratiba was not my president).

With the distractions designed by my mind’s computations and the distractions forced by the machine that promises to compute for me, I pondered and wished I have never started this exercise. Of what use is retrospection and reminiscence? Of what use is looking back when falling? Of what use is gaping at a dream when reality slaps?

****

Honestly I have never welcomed a break in writing when thoughts gush, but this paragraph continues with the same vigor I experienced earlier. I had to go and see an ailing man stuffed in a hospital, not of ( or from) his own makings, suffering the ignomity by self as much as the inconvenience experienced by his family, waiting to be discharged, hoping to be well, yet wishing for a little more attention! Was he representing India?

Having a pang of (imposed-economic, in this case a socio-psychological) crisis ( that’s how a novice like me would understand if local markets fall when US markets slump), admitted in critical care and offered the best available concern and treatment ( if ever there was any), promised concern and affectionate over-seeing ( a word understood differently across oceans), left to battle his own torments ( like the average Indian consumer) with a bored wife as the accompanying vigil ( much alike me, the watchful, weary and non-fighting Indian), here was a man I saw who could have in his heydays declared some worthy and some not ( oh, he was a govt. official – neither Kafkaesque nor Gogolic, just Indian), being declared as sick when he was not `that’ sick, hospitalized when he need not have had even an injection poked on him, waiting for the doctor when he did not ever need one) for atleast the past (( and may not inshah allah not for the next many) 12 months and he was India to me. Me, is the person in Tamilnadu, India. And, being thus, I count 123.

123 is what? 6? ( by multiplication) 2? (between one and two), simple enumeration? If this can trigger so much of crap in my head, then what about 271+? ( for the un-enlightened, I studied composite maths , which by the way had trigonometry which I have in my honest belief never used so far in my life, in school and got a first class). I don’t like numbers, they are like currency denominations which have always evaded my best calculations. But this is a number I should watch out albeit for the next twelve hours.

This is supposed to tell me who, if at all any, is going to govern me. And I even say in my profiles that I am left!!! Left, YES, without!!! ( a la the leftists of India who have left all ideologies- check Bengal). Who the *%#* ( I have suffered to type these politically correct typos) governs me?

I presumed that in a democracy one governs oneself since one elects who governs him/her. No way. Like many of my presumptions ( including the one I have held dear for the past 40 years that India was the best), I was and am wrong. Thank god that I did not go into gambling. We are as sick and full of shit as our other country men.

Why the &%^&* are we sick? What ails us?

Too many symptoms and too many signs!!! Signs are what the experts see and symptoms are what you feel! Who is the expert? I thought our PM & FM were! They are good at numbers, though some of my economist –friends would say no. now I can smirk! They are f***** good at numbers- not the simple shit of 123 but 271.

Am I angry or am I sad? Am I disgusted? Am I ——–me?

If I am worried I am sick. If I am concerned I am ok. This is what one of my teachers told me.

After this I went to sleep and had no nightmares.

22/7 d day- damned, disturbing, dehumanizing…

I listened and watched TV ! I wanted to hear rahul’s voice and diction- neither impressed. Then came lalooo! Everyone, even the opposition were laughing. Jokes poured on the country? For whatever reasons not necessarily designed by providence, I stopped with these lines…and wow. What a spectacle! That should be another blog! But then others would be writing too on it….how long can I keep vomiting?

well, since all is not well, let us keep counting the days for future to dawn brighter. like the prisoners behind the bars. let us keep counting, we cant be going wrong forever!

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Theatrics of Life -curtain rasier, the introduction

September 4, 2008

Theatrics of Life

-curtain raiser.

In the beginning there is always a word, and the word multiplies and becomes a book.

To begin a book is needed. Later the book is shelved. It has to be. But, if the book is always around, opened every moment, referred and re-read instead of being remembered then either the book or the user is inadequate. The remembering has to happen with spontaneity; labour is most often love lost! Any reading should be a beginning to end reading. This series of articles is an introspective interaction at the end of which our roles as the writer and reader may change too.

As succinctly said by Shakespeare, “ all the world’s a stage, and all men and women merely players; they have their exits and entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…”. Life indeed is drama. The scenes happen according to the script (not in the fatalistic escapist sense), but in the script of life, the artiste can improvise his role and thereby even change the course of the script. The performer can make the scene belong to himself just by focusing and relaxing. It is towards this enhancement of performance in life that we all strive till we exit.

Any performance needs light. As in any theatrical production, in life too there are spot lights and flood lights. The spot light is what Alan Watts called focused consciousness.

It is like this- there are times when your actions are deliberate and purposeful and this is in the spotlight of intense awareness. Many times we act in reflex, and this is in the floodlight of intuitive consciousness. In a spotlight the artiste needs to perform with precision, while in a floodlight he can move along with others and perform with ease and the comfort of company. Life is performing mundane, profane and even puritan acts on a daily basis.

Drama is ever present. In this wonderful theatre there is an ever-going interactive drama in which we assume, shed, resume, redefine, refuse, grudgingly comply and perform various roles at various moments in various places with carious persons.

We act, constantly. Acting is not mimicking or miming, not imitating, but responding and provoking, invoking, inviting, inciting, initiating and interacting – even through inaction. Onstage is the performance of daily living and off-stage is the performance in dream arena. In the theatre of life, to live well is to perform well. To perform well is to know the role, learn the role and be the role.

Though roles can shift in a miniscule of a second, they have to be performed to perfection to ensure smooth and successful progress in the drama of life. To know the role one has to feel the role. Stanislavsky, the theatre genius said, “when you encounter with a role, the first meeting like on that happens to lovers; the second meeting is like pregnancy and the third onwards, it is birth and rearing.” Though his description was to help artistes to conceive and develop their acting abilities, this can be relevantly construed to constructively create and enrich our repertoire of roles in life.

To learn a role one has to be aware of the encounter with the role. First impressions are the deciding factors in a role’s effective action and success, or defective display and failure. They are seeds with virginal freshness- unexpected, direct, unpremeditated, unprejudiced and unfiltered by criticism. A receptive frame of mind is essential to approach these roles. This receptive state of mind is an inner state of readiness and need, clarity and desire, composure and focusing.

The emotional encounter with a role that we watch or perform is the basic and most important aspect of creativity. When creativity is lost, charm vanishes; the performance is painful to the audience and the artiste. For, just as how a seasoned actor can take his role in a scene for granted, and because of repeated successful performances , we too presume about our roles in life, and often perform out of a rusted library that has outdated references. When such lackadaisical performances happen the results may not cause alarm or lead to failure, but the fire of life will be smothered, and performance in life become painstakingly boring. To be effective in a role is to remain sensitive and alert. It is about love.

Work is love, labour is pain. Life is loving- loving the self and the other. To love is the basic function of human machine, and the tools of emotion are intended for this functioning to be smooth. Love has to be experienced. It is an inner energy that needs the milieu to surface. Life is all about loving, yet, it is philosophised with so much pretentiousness that the simple and spontaneous act of breathing becomes a panting.

“ Thou to me the harp of gold,

I to thee the fingers bold “ –( Bharathi)

Was one of the greatest expressions of unison, greatest definition of creativity. The golden harp contains music yet needs the finger to emanate the notes. The finger knows the music yet needs the harp to produce the notes. Here production is not procreation but creation; it is not about productivity, but about creativity. It is not about interdependence but about inner interaction unaware of the action. This is the golden rule in performing the lover’s role. A lover in her/his role becomes the role and cannot be outside and objective. It has to be inside pouring out of every pore. It is an action, it is a performance, but it cannot be taught or premeditated. It has to happen. Top make this happening happen, one has to learn about other roles and others’ roles in life.

Learning and loving happen spontaneously in infancy, and then the teachers squash the musical babble and cook the human cookie. It tastes good to itself the first time. Confidence becomes a trifle overconfidence, and soon noise replaces notes and pretends to be music. Pretensions are ofcourse a natural process of learning. But with the passing of each test, poor imitations delude themselves as original naturalness.

The first lesson is always imitation. Unknowingly a model is selected to mould one’s role. The safest model is the least risky. It is one that is comforting and rewarding. To please to be pleased is the first concept understood at this point. As in any development, this has to be experienced and outgrown. To grow out of a developmental stage and to move onto the next phase, one has to identify, understand and resolve conflicts.

Any conflict is a difficulty of expression – to take in or give out the right response, meaningfully and in time. To express is to understand and make the other understand. It is the effort of the animal to become human, and the human to become the universe.

To express is to emote- appropriately and adequately.

The primal list of emotions, as defined in ancient Tamil and Sanskrit texts of India, are-

Love, Humour, Empathic sympathy of pathos, Anger to the explosive ultimate, Heroism of truth and valour, Fear, Disgust and the Wonder at the magic of mystery.

Love, joy, sorrow, fury, enthusiasm, terror, disgust and astonishment….these are the primary emotions. Life is painted from the palette of these emotions. These eight emotions interact with each other to present as drama in life. The beauty of classification of these emotions in Indian Texts (Natya Sastra in Sanskrit and Tholkappiam in Tamil), is intensely wonderful by the fact that after enlisting the eight primary emotions comes the description about the ninth state of mind, santhi – blissful peace and peaceful bliss. The idea is that all these emotions have to be understood and brought under one’s will in order to enable the mind to experience blissful peace and to continue life in peaceful peace.

All the plots of life’s theatre are scripted with and around these emotions neutral in gender, common to all, emotions are controlled by socio-economic and health factors. Controlled and even concealed they may be, but never prevented from appearing on the mindscape. This is the reason why an Indian uneducated villager can understand the smile, tear, frown or fear on the face of a Harvard topper. Emotions are instinctively acknowledged in the mind; but when expressions of emotions are to be adequately tuned to the frequency of social comfort, they have to be understood. Life’s drama always starts with a shriek and a cry from the mother and the baby; the smile and joy follow later. Perhaps the initial encounter with emotional roles may cause a painful moment of truth, but they would make life easier, to be continued!