Friday, August 22, 2008


I am stuck here. Right at the centre of the rut. And there is no escape. When I am in my room, the walls close in on me. When I am outside, the shackles of the mind hold me dear to them. The rays do seep in once in a while, the sparks of the rain do drench me and do provide the succour but it never satiates. It leaves a taste in the mouth which asks for more.

Sometimes the notes of the octave in their myriad combinations is liberating and more often than not the visual graphics creates a tune never heard before nor felt and those are the only times when freedom exercises itself. The freedom of the soul - if there be one.

And I want to break free.

Would a prisoner serving a life sentence cherish his freedom or be afraid ? To face a world he has no idea of - where everything he knew, everything he stood for, everything which caused his existence no longer exists. The punishment lies in the freedom and not in the sentence. Yet it is the sentence we complain about.

The concept of freedom of being the chief objective of humans is a polished myth. Love is the greatest constraining factor. It limits you in ways unfathomable. So much so, that we do not even recognize it. Yet, all craves for it. And you want freedom ?

Maybe, freedom from love.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Its A Wonderful Life

If I say this out loud, the cynics would bay for my blood. The realist would refrain from making a categorical statement and would prefer to remain neutral. The optimist, would welcome it with open arms. The film (James Stewart,1946) sends out the message that he, who has friends, is not a failure.

Jay has this theory of quantifying the wealth in life by counting friends. For him, if you have eight friends whom you can call at any point of time in your life without any reservation and you are sure that they will respond, then it has been a life worth living. Now, dont ask me where he got the number 'eight' from. I can only attribute it to one of his idiosyncrasies. But the thought sticks on.

The first time I heard it, I immediately made a mental calculation and was quite satisfied then. That was 10 years back. Today, the calculations have become a bit difficult. The numbers have surely dwindled. But still I can make eight. Just barely so. The worrying aspect is, from here on, subtraction is imminent and addition unlikely.

Those that are here today - might not remain tomorrow. Actually will not. Many of whom I had counted had only flattered to deceive. Some did but without flattering. Some stayed, when I never even counted them. While some were there from the beginning even when I could not count and in all probability, barring the refreshing calamities of life, will be there even after I am gone. IF they can outlive me, that is!

I was always passionate about friendship. Far too much and I realize that now. As usual, mother had warned me of the possible consequences of doing that and as always I had totally disregarded her sermons. Yet like many other things, I remembered it and it seemed to me even at that time that she could turn out to be right. As she puts it "mothers are always right". (Her sample set consists ONLY of incidents where she has been proved right!)

I do not regret the time I spent on them. But I do feel, that I ought to have been a bit more selfish. A little more demanding on myself. It pays well to think for yourself. How I wish I had known Adam Smith and his theory of the invisible hand.

Monday, August 04, 2008

We'll always have Paris !

When was the first time the heart broke ? Really, really the first time. Do we distinctly remember the incident ? And in course of time when wisdom is supposed to claw its way into our lives, are we, in our acquired rationality, able to justify the actions of the perpetrator and forgive him for it ? Would it unconditionally qualify as the first time when our idea about life takes a beating - when for the first time we are exposed to the unshakeable truth that in life, the colour grey is the most significant ? Much more than both black or white.

I was reading Kundera's 'Ignorance' some time back and was enthralled by its stunning simplicity and its success at emphatically analyzing the effects of what we have gone through in our lives on what and how we would react in circumstances which are vaguely similar, in future. Ignorance asks some unforgettable questions - which linger on even after you have finished with it.

I am not sure how significant those questions would be when one is seeped in happiness, when one is satisfied or content with one's life. In general, satisfaction has seldom asked questions, has rarely stimulated minds and consequently, very rarely created masterpieces.

So, in my opinion, 'Ignorance' would fail to elicit the kind of response it should, for you. And if it does, rejoice in the thought that you are still alive, that you still have not forgotten to feel and that you will have a semblance of honesty when you say "I understand".

When we choose or start to like someone for the 2nd time or rather, the first time after an unsuccessful attempt, we do measure him/her against the first one. To what extent ? And in doing so, are we just living with our past and see a reflection of that in the present? If that is to be true - where is the sanctity of integrity ?

The instinctive response to this by invariably almost all, would be one of incredulity. You will not even try to accept the truth, even if you accept to give it a thought. Since, most of our lives we hardly realize why we are alive, we try to convince ourselves without much effort that we live for someone else because we are in love - the truth could be much more naked, much more disturbing.

We live because we feel that we are living with those whom we wanted to live with and could not. Till possibly the time, our emotions and sensibilities are so stamped upon, so full of our present that we have all but lost touch of our past. And if you have lost touch with your past, I am not sure how far ahead you will progress in the future.

It is tough to really let go, to forget. The beauty of the human mind is that somehow or the other our perspective lets us shift our frailties by that much to make us feel we really have. And what we had was nothing as compared to what we have now.

So here is to "We'll always have Paris!" (Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942)