Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Where the Vile Things Hide

Posted: October 21, 2019 in Life, Personal
Tags: , ,

Unrest brews in my cup today. Life scares me to death. I am constantly harrowed by all the set of events that gradually arrays with bugles and trumpets winking at an announcement.

A hereafter that I can’t see, awaits. The very idea of a hazed and clogged future smothers me.

What’s written? Are things going to be alright? Am I having a mid-life crisis already?

I remember myself being stirred up and shaken once before in a similar fashion, wondering about a sea of dreams that I was supposed to wade through unfazed, but I had seen myself drowning.

I could barely sleep then. I had almost choked up when I had gulped down a bottle of cold water, barely understanding what it was, hyperventilating nevertheless, thoroughly consumed by apprehension.

What if I were to die today? What will happen to my dreams? There is so much to do. So many things wait for me, for their creator, to construct them to fruition. How can I afford rest?

I find myself in a similar place today. The patch I am in gradually tightens its grasp around my neck. This place is scary. The time, the age, the land, the context – all my anxieties kick in. All at the same time.

I have been screaming so loud, and for so long, not a soul has heard me yet. It kills me to know that. I fish for money to feed my dreams, but my pockets still remain empty.

What have I done so far? Have I mattered at all? Have I even moved?

All these outlets and vents are conspicuously visible. My escape, away from this blinding world I am in. But I am tied down by the things that I cannot see. Those things are the hardest to fight.

So I ring up hope with a glint of hope in my eyes, and she smiles. I think of holding her tight, lying down next to her, while she brushes through my hair. Her thin fingers kiss me with a silent promise that says –

Everything is going to be alright.

Maybe I need to hear that every now and then. Maybe I am still a child who knows no better.

Now, I can see more clearly as my anxiety slowly leaves my body. Life resumes its course.

I surmise, the order has been restored.

I have seen mighty minds crumble, the sane go insane, and the resolute losing their temper, the brave becoming wimps, faces being forgotten and children absconding. Now that I think of it, all of it has happened around me. When I dip my head into retrospection, I notice all the fingers point to me. It feels like an epiphany, a revelation:

It has been me all along!

Sometimes I wonder if I am at the bottommost layer of the human emotional evolutionary chain. That I think too much and that maybe it would one day be the reason for my passing.

How are others nailing it so well? How are they able to laugh through it all? Why are they so unfazed?

I feel I am very hard to live with, that I push people away. Unknowingly but voluntarily, I often end up forcing myself into my very own fortress of solitude. No wonder I choose to live alone in my dusky lair.

It is almost as if I seek grief deliberately. That I have always headed towards a disquieting pit ahead, and no amount of saving could actually save me. My downfall was written in the stars, and this is how I was meant to go. Sulking over spilled milk, lost under a countless what ifs, with a mind brooding over different outcomes and a body playing out different stories.

I have often heard people talking, how if there were no bad times you wouldn’t know how to appreciate the good ones. Then I wonder what if I like bad times? What if it makes me feel alive, makes me feel what people feel when they talk about living on the edge. What if I am more of me in its company? What if I am trying to forever seek a tearpit hammock to rest?

I might like this waning, the bittersweet demise of my body that gradually takes me away into the oblivion. What bothers me the most is my blunt malignancy whilst getting there. The repercussions that emanate therefrom hurt others in the process. That’s what is killing!

When I see all those fallen people around me, I can’t help but curse myself:

What have I done?

In my brazen meanness to get what I want, I end up doing the despicable. I end up torturing them, burning them down with my pathetic rancour.

What did they do to deserve me in the first place?

Insecurities follow me like little ducklings around and they mess up everything good going on in my life. They smear my face with its kohl making me beyond obvious. What a tragedy to be me!

Only a fool would wish to stay. To knowingly entwine their lives into mine and welcome their slow death. I can’t do that to a person. It’s a cost that would go down really heavy on my head.

All this contemplation often directs my thoughts to other grief-stricken souls in the world. In my very own private moments, I often think out loud:

Are there others like me?

And if yes, how are they still alive?

I am livid at my parents for messing me up. I am angry at the society that they call themselves a part of. There is nothing likable about it. All their rules, their self-proclaimed laws are decadent and morally so hurtful that if a fully aware and grown person were to live it, he/she would give up thriving under the awning of their care.

A lot of my thoughts and actions were highly predisposed of their ideas about the world. I have done a lot of things in my life that they thought were right, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it had cost me a living. If only I had reckoned it then, by not considering their word as the final say, I might not be as much in a deeper muck that I find myself today in. Not just them, but the times too, like movies literally defining our thought process and ideas. I blame them all for making me unpalatable.

There are so many wrongs hidden in my parent’s daily dose of routine that if you had tasted even a morsel of sanity in your life, you would always end up in a squabble for talking sanely to them. I had listened to my father’s advice throughout my life, and I have come to realize there have been so many occasions where he was outright wrong, and yet I followed all his preachings eyes closed.

I have also come to accept that it wasn’t his fault. It was this place he lived in, the habitat that surrounded him that had carved him the way he is. Whispers the wind brought in the form of neighbours, friends, and families, came with stories that made him extremely watchful and vigilant. He was simply protecting me with all the things he had, and all the things he thought in his head were right, and I appreciate that. Yes. But in doing so, he was slowly carving a monstrous plaything that he had no clue about. He was inadvertently messing with my very own timeline and now I don’t know how to live with the changing times just as he has trouble understanding the generation today.

All those little things he did fail to justify his actions. I feel sorry he was a part of such a crooked society, that a big chunk of his brain was influenced by societal thoughts, and not his very own.

My mother too, like every other conventional Indian, believing her place to be in his feet and in the kitchen, has a hard time understanding why it is alright for a man to get involved with household chores. She still believes it would be a disservice if the man of the house worked in the kitchen if the lady is hale and hearty. She has been fed it as a sin, and people like her often have a wont of following things blindly.

I tried to feed them the new age thinking, a little bit of equality and feminism, and they were vexed with its sheer logic. How could a rebellious idea like that exist? So they thought. It was asking too much from people who have been following a certain way for ages. Forget about change, they don’t even concur to what was said.

My father had once stopped me from playing with girls when I was really young and I had never understood why. I had questioned it, just as I question everything in life, and all I got was the following reply:

You are a boy, you should play with boys.

There are certain things you never forget because of the way they reshape you. When you try to change a habit because of a thing your parents said, and want from you. You try to become someone else then. To win his heart and blessings in every form, at any cost, I dictated myself out of a game I was only beginning to enjoy.

I remember how I had completely left Hopscotch that I had once found intriguing. Even before I wanted to try my hands at that game, I was lanced for playing a girl’s game. How do you tack a game to gender, I have never really understood. A game should be played for the fun of it, for the heck of it, and for the challenge it tags along. To entail politics in it takes away the very sanctity of its existence and the whole point of engaging with it in the first place.

I have given up on so many things in life that had made me jovial for a while, just because it didn’t please my parents. It is too late to realize that now since that curious child is no longer curious about the things he was once curious about. Now I know that a person should live for himself and not allow the reins of his life to be squeezed into the hands of others. But why didn’t I know it back then? Why did I allow myself to be herded?

There are hundreds of instances that flicker in my mind now that I think of it. How and where my parents had gone terribly wrong with their parenting.

But then I think of all the good stuff too, and I realize they did alright. They did fine, for I turned out fine, despite the parochial approach that tried to turn me into them.

If it were not for all the ugly stuff that bound me with all the mental manacles, I wouldn’t have learned to appreciate all the good things in life. And for that, I would forever be indebted.

Slaves Are Us

Posted: September 12, 2018 in Life, Personal
Tags: , , , , , , ,

What is the definition of a slave? I Google it and it says “a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them”. In my head, it wasn’t any different either.

In ancient times, Pharaohs had people do their job for them. In return, they would be given food or shelter – their idea of a currency.

So let’s say they had a Sphinx planned up in their next quarter. To build that up you wouldn’t see a Pharaoh bringing rocks from the bottom. No. He is the apex, the CEO of his company. He doesn’t move. But sits in the most comfortable chair the planet has, with his hands steepled as he overlooks the progress.

Right underneath him stands the Vizier, the Vice President, the next guy you wouldn’t see bringing rocks. He is a Pharaoh-whisperer. Then come the nobles and the priests. The higher level management, the delivery heads and managers, who make sure the job is being performed correctly. It’s hard not to imagine a guy with his hands behind his back as he monitors people from an unsafe distance. He wouldn’t get his hands dirty but he doesn’t mind occasionally stabbing someone in the back when he perceives leniency.

Then come scribes and soldiers who have chosen their jobs very carefully. They didn’t want to be a part of higher level management because that would mean being in direct contact with the Vizier and the Pharaoh, in short, a lot of balls. But they are fine with taking orders. Because what they get is what they deliver to the bottommost strata. You know, maintaining the order of emotions.

The team leads are in direct contact with the bottommost level. They are the merchants who report their produce to the lower level management. Thus keeping them in the loop about what’s being done, whether or not the rocks have been lifted and what are the problems and challenges being faced while execution of the job. They work alongside the slaves thus confusing the lowest level people about their stratum. They are not on anyone’s side. They are two-faced serpents who can twitch on either side, dissing you nevertheless on encountering slightest of pressure from above.

Finally comes the slaves, the farmers and the craftsmen who are at the bottommost level of this whole job cycle. The order has been passed that a piece of bread will be given to everybody if they work hard. They work the hardest, despite the weather. Getting their hands dirty in the muck for a job that is not going to give them anything but a piece of bread. They are whipped by the lower and higher level management if they do something wrong, flailed if they fail and replaced with a stronger hand. So even if they are constantly crumbling under immense pressure, they stand up nevertheless with the heavy rock and carry it like it’s the only salvation they know.

They are treated like insects, because hello! Aren’t they at the bottom already? They are the ones who actually do the job. In our world, the one who perseveres is the one who is scorned at by everybody. Are we so blind that we don’t see it? That despite the apparent flaw in this age-old system, we are still following it, eyes closed?

In my six years as an employee in IT, I have felt no different. I am an insect, treated like one. Pushed around holes that I never wanted to enter. I can’t get out because my life depends on it. There is nothing else around that pays the fodder that I can have to go on without hiccups. It is an “honorable” living in the minds of the society.

I am bound by this invisible contract with the company, the pharaoh, that I lose my importance the moment I wish to quit. Even if I did, there would be yet another pharaoh in line waiting to dig his dirty hands in me. I go from one Sphinx to another, but nothing changes. The face on the Sphinx remains the same. The slab that I put in this gargantuan edifice gets lost among a bazillion others. And I have no clue if I contributed something. Scorns and insults have become a part and parcel. While the upper order earns their fat checks, they throw down bones at us to feast upon.

You might think there is a way out if you stay good and play everything by the book. But no! The longer you persevere, the more experience you get at perseverance. They give you one grain at a time and then ask you to keep moving for another. And you do, like a brazen person, because you have no choice. You can’t go anywhere. They have you by your balls and they will squeeze it the moment you try to throw a tantrum.

I cannot call that sphinx my creation at the end of it, because it wasn’t my dream, to begin with. I didn’t know why I was gathering rocks apart from the fact that it was ending up becoming something that fed me. I cannot call it mine because, Hey! It was everyone else’s effort. When it got built, the Pharaoh turned toward the world and said he made it. He even branded it with his name saying it was his property. That it was his hard work that paid off. Now the world will remember it as something that’s his.

Then I can’t help but imagine what if the Pharaoh is good and he decides to feed all the people working for him? You know with perks and incentives.

Here take a bite from this awesome fruit and then pass it down the line.

By the time the fruit reaches the slaves it has been devoured so badly that the poor slave could only have its seed. And then the slave decides to grow one for himself using that seed. Because you know slave is, after all, a human brain. He is smart! He sows it in his backyard. But then he has no time to look after it, and the plant eventually ends up dying because in the morning when it needs the sunlight and water to grow, the slave is out there toiling.

But then somehow the plant grows despite a world trying to stop him. Its growth happens slowly, so gradually that the slave sees the toughest of all times. By the time he is ready to have his fruit, he realizes he is left with no teeth to truly enjoy it.

Slaves are us. We have been born and bred into it. Trying to get out will leave us bruised. Hopes to become a Pharaoh one day, we secretly fuel our wish to continue this age-old cycle. But have you ever thought about changing the inevitability of this cycle, making things right and just?

sketch of the future me seeking complacency

I wish to peek a glance into my future. The clouded timeline that patiently waits ahead. I wonder what it has got in store for me. Does all my backbreaking struggle really pay off? I wonder if the “future me” thanks me enough for building stepping stones that seals his fate in gold. Or do I find him cursing me for not doing enough? Or the worst – Does he still struggle?

I wonder sometimes if any of my dreams make it. That in the long run I have found myself a good listener. Someone who speaks my language. I wish to have a look, just a glimpse into his world to see how am I really doing? Maybe chat with the future me, to tell him how I have felt crunched under a shit load of dreaming, worked for nightly exhausting hours I came to terms with. How I have worked my ass off every single day so that he could live in peace. So that he could enjoy a bright brimming rewarding walk in the park away from the menacing curdling of constant exhaustion.

I at least wish he gave me a sign or something saying,

“Hey! You could take a day off. Things are going to be just fine, you know. Just do nothing for a day! Muse away in your musings. Go sit by the beach. Travel for a while. Go look at nature. Stay slaked for a change.”

I could really use a reassurance of sorts that his world is simply mind-boggling, and that every stair I built, am still building was worth it. I wish that squiz, just one morsel of hope that makes me feel good about the quagmire I wake up into every single day.

This sweet death would then feel abated. I would relax more, rejoice more, take wild turns, and go places. All I need is just one vision, one vision is all I ask.