Monday, June 29, 2009

A choice never made

For them it is a new beginning, for me it is an end:
a beginning that guarantees nothing,
an end that guarantees one thing for sure- separation.
Now which should satisfy me more....
ambiguity,
or certainty??
Usually it is certainty that I embrace,
for I can live with pain but not with doubt.
But this time it is this very same doubt that bears the seeds of hope.

Either prospect is morbid,
I can't choose one over the other,
I don't want to.
But the problem this time is,
that I have to live with both.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

dancing away to glory ....

Destiny always has the last word. Not that I regret it completely. In fact, parts of what it says have been rather joyful. But not entirely of course. One can't expect affairs to be just the way we would like it. And I have had my share of disappointments too. But one of them was particularly overwhelming. Dance...

I had gone to watch a programme today.Little did I know that my dance school was going to perform. As I watched the troup and my teacher dance away to glory, a glow emanating from them, I was flooded by a strange feeling of loss. At once I found my eyes brimming with burning hot tears which started rolling down my cheeks despite my best efforts to hold them back. The troup of which I had once been an integral part, the very production to the concept of which I had made some significant contribution, the people of my institution who still want me to rejoin the classes, all smiling at me from the stage, as if beckoning at me to join them in the revelry at once.....I bit my lips to stop myself from releasing a long-stifled sob.

After the show, I went backstage to meet my teacher, to bid her goodbye, to apologise for wasting whatever little amount of aptitude I once possessed. And as I wept my apologies, I found her holding me, telling me that life at Stephens will be wonderful. At that moment, I felt so guilty for leaving her here, for betraying her, for having led he to believe for these two years that I'll be back after my boards.

Strange isn't it...considering that I had abandoned dance two years ago? At that point of time it had hurt tremendously...it was sheer amputation for me, to hack away one of my limbs from my person. I had decided then that I would never dance again in my life, and despite attending dance shows, I had steeled myself against all urges of the heart that might have led to a waning of my resolve. Yet just three months back I had received an invitation from my teacher to attend her new production for which, she claimed, to be grateful to ME! To make matters even more embarrassing for me she had printed my name in bold letters in the programme brochure acknowledging unabashedly that I had some hand in the formation of the concept. I had changed my strategy then. Such amark of unconditional love, if taken for granted, would haunt me for the rest of my life. I decided to rejoin dance from July

And then Stephens happened. And the mirage of Success is drawing me away from my limb, which, though no longer a part of my being, writhes in pain. I love dancing, I love my teacher, I have always loved them and always will.

Destiny indeed has its way. I am off at last...probably dance was never meant for me. Hearing the call of some mysterious far-fetched glory, I am refusing this love, turning my face away from the pain. But is it worth it? Should I really be dancing away to glory, such an uncertain ambiguous one at that? Freewill is not my card any more, it is determinism that is dealing the hand now.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reading "1984"

A deathly hush shrouding the mind,
A fierce uproar drowning the streets,
A curious paradox creates a din in the ear.
That's what 1984 could have been.

The Party with the Power is God.
To them:
"Ignorance is strength",
"Freedom is slavery",
"War is peace".
And in this kingdom of paradoxes
It is Power that reigns supreme.
The Party is God.
God is Power.

"Power is never the means, it is the end"
Torture is the goal of itself,
Obedience, too weak a proof of true control.
So, make them suffer,
Wrench them dry of all things human,
Because, to be human is prehistoric.
And when they do come round to obey the Party,
Punish them for what they dared decades ago:
Vapourize them: for they never existed.
Doublethink, Thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Room 101,
Let these be the instruments of fear,
The weapons against rebels,
The propaganda during the Hate Weeks,
The ill-boding sceptre of Power.

To live in 1984 is to procreate for the State
And not out of Love,
For Love never existed.
To breathe in 1984 is to obey the telescreen
And respond meekly as though to the gaoler.
To exist in 1984 is to love Big Brother-
A man who never existed and never will.
To know 1984 is to know
What a curse Power can be.
Yes, it is a curse that rings the knell for all.
To possess Power is to savour cruelty.
To exercise Power is to cherish the bloodbath.
Power is an oxymoron, an enigma,
A desirable drug, the most addictive one.

And as this terrifying vision engulfs me,
I am jerked back from the nightmare:
Love still exists, for my sister is in love....!
Oh! to know that Love exists..
To know that the deadly Party is yet to be born!
Let our own dear God be the only Omnipotent we ever encounter.
We, the mortals, the ordinary, do not need Power.
Only too weak are we to bear this brunt.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

O Bondhu aamar

I am known for the weirdness of my dreams...my dreams feature everyone from my mother to Sigmund Freud, from the porter to Will Smith, from the gateman at Gyan Manch to the salesperson at Pantaloons. My dreams have an abnormally long range of setting, from school, to market, to home, to Park Street, to the grand mansions shown in the T.V. serials. Never before have I felt the urge of putting down my dream on pen and paper, to be more specific, of recording my dream.
I was sleeping peacefully in my room when suddenly the hammering noise woke me up. My neighbour was getting some renovation done and the intelligent mechanic had chosen te peaceful afternoon to do the sole wall that my room shares with her flat. indignant and annoyed, I had thrust my pillow on my ear and had tried to resume my siesta.Thank Heavens I did, because, it was in this slumbery state that I had the most intriguing dream of my life.....
"I was scribbling in my red leatherbound diarya (looking painfully like my theory copy)when suddenly a tune drifted in:Bhenge more ghorer chaabi niye jabi ke amare... a Baul! I ran to my verandah, by then the baul had crossed my house and was dreamily dancing away. As I looked at him sadly with a strange craving in my heart to join him at once, He made a curious little comeback with a happy little dance (strongly reminiscent of a jig) and started dancing in front of the entrance of the house opposite ours....the same clarion call rang again, and the reiteration only made the yearning in my heart grow..bhenge more ghorer chabi niye jabi ke amare, o bondhu aamar. Na peye tomar dekha eka eka din j amar kate na re....I am an emotional person by nature so I scrambled downstairs without waiting for the elevator and stood at the entrance of my house, my face streaming with tears...tears of happiness, of loss, of separation, of anticipation. As the baul danced away, my dream gradually faded like the slow fadeout at the end of a film....I woke up."
For whom do these bauls leave home? In the anticipation of which joy do they find peace even amidst the squalour of their simple lives on roads? From where do they imbibe the energy to dance round and round in the sheer of the act? And this baul, why did he have such an effect on me? I have encountered innumerable gypsies in my life, never has one had such an impact on me. I am reminded of a childhood poem :The Princess and the Gypsies. In the poem the Princess, tired of her cocooned life pleadsthe gypsies to take her along. But the hard life scares her and as the gypsies walk away making merry, she cries:"my heart, it broke in half". I can recall yet another poem called Poetry of Departures by Larkin, where the poet wants to "swagger the nut-strewn ways" and be "free at last". But the poem ends with an anti-heroic climax as he refrains from leaving the equanimity of the present life that he leads, he calls it a "deliberate step backwards". But which way does life go? "Dust thou art to dust returnest": is that what life truly is all about? Because if that is the case, then trying to return to the caressing joyful cradle from where we leapt onto this world, calling back the divine innocent joy of childhood, attempting a union with One who had created us all, is not a step backward...since life is a circle. The bauls have embraced this gospel from Genesis....their efforts to return to "bondhu" to the eternal Friend portrays this belief....
I feel I have held myself back for a long time waiting for the Friend: "shomukhe oi heri path tomar ki roth pouchhobe na more duyare...."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I did a strange thing today, something that I have never done before: I completed my shopping from the first shop that I entered. Something seemed to tell me that I if I keep looking for "the best", I will keep looking forever. My parents have often told me, that they know what's the best for me. In youthful anger I keep defending the superiority of my knowledge and choice over theirs. However, today, I was startled into reality. How can anyone know what's best....because noone, mark my words, NOONE has ever savoured everything to draw a comparison.....leave alone the possibility of being in a position to claim the unquestionable superiority of something, or someone, or some plan over everything else.

And as I write this, I am being reminded of a rather striking dialogue from a very cliched film: the bride was asking a stranger how could someone be so sure of his/her choice during marriage, what if he/she found their true soulmate later in life...the stranger had replied "nahi dhundogi, toh nahi milega","if you dont search for someone who is different, you will not find yout soulmate in someone different". I had watched the film the day my class ten boards had got over, which was two years back. The film and images are now but a blurred panorama in my head, but the dialogue still lingers. It depends on us when we want our search to b dammed...else it'll flood our lives with sceptic inconvenience and discontentment.

Someone had said "I get up in the morning and I have two choices: either to be happy or to be sad. I choose to be happy." It depends on us whether we WANT to be satisfied now....sometimes it's essential to be dissatisfied, in order to nurture an ambition, an aspiration; but is it not much better to feel happy and be satisfied at times? Satisfaction breeds peace; it's your choice: peace, or somnolent agitation? Which would you choose?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

For my brother: "INTEGRITY"

My brother had asked me to send him a mail explaining my notion of the term "integrity". As usual, I didnt bother. Today, I was advised to keep my blog updated, to blog regularly. Lack of activities breeds utter nonchalance. Lack of thoughts breeds unconscious incoherence. Keenly aware of the nonchalance and incoherence in my words, I had stopped blogging. But today, yes today, I do have something to write on. Get ready for some incoherent ramblings, because I don't know WHAT exactly IS my notion of integrity. I'll discover it now as I write, and if you want you can come along too.
What are the words that flash in our minds when we hear the term? Truth, Loyalty, Dedication, Fidelity, Interest....but surprisingly enough I cannot, by any means, confine the bounds of this abstraction called "integrity" within the narrow limits of any single word from the above list. Yes, Truth is essential to it, but so is Loyalty. But WHAT do we mean by Dedication...how much Interest can it actually take to make way for Dedication? And Fidelity is a highly debatable topic, because at the end of the day, is it truth that matters more or does loyalty assume a superior stand...because, now that I come to think of it, Fidelity implies both! Slightly out of the context, but I had heard these two quotes which I am tempted to put down here. The first one says,"History is a sacred kind of writing because ruth is essential to it."; and the other says,"fidelity is the primary merit of history". Therefore must I think that Loyalty assumes a lower status in the pyramid that defines "integrity"? But what is at the top, the peak...what distinct element sits perched up at the very apex?
At the very top, the very point where everything merge, the tip where we see the various facets meet, is where resides the most essential element of all, Faith. Faith is what reigns supreme. Note, I say Faith, not trust. Trust is ephemeral, and irreparable once broken. But Faith, it lingers on... Faith in life, in the course that life has taken. Natural pessimists have only one abstraction to fall back on:Faith.
And what lies at the base...the very bottom, upon which rests this pyramid? Hope...the sand that slips and trickles but can never be exhausted. The pyramid is reputed for its volatility, for its instabilty, but on its immortality not a question can be raised. And THAT is Faith, that is Hope: the unwavering and the elusive unite to form the eternal, Integrity.
So finally, where did we arrive? Did we reach a definiton? But wait, "integrity"cannot be defined...it is a collection, a rich compilation well-known for its opulence. And that is what integrity means...the entire pyramid may be called integrity...being an integral part of it is the very nature of all its elements. Integrity satisfies the appetite of Gestaltists the best..."the whole is greater than the sum of its parts".
Oh, to think that I told my audience at an electionspeech that they could trust me because of my integrity....! I wonder how they ever believed me...