After an exhaustive trail of Kinley water bottles, I am rather pleased to be back on my comfortable couch, especially since I missed it more than Bilbo Baggins missed his hobbit hole. Journeying has always been a pleasure, but I wanted a quiet, reflective one after that tiring semester at the university. I realized much later that it wasn’t going to be a trip of recreation and relaxation but rather of a cultural experience, something that excites and invigorates your senses. I wandered deep into my country’s cultural plethora which my urbanized mind had forgotten to cherish. My years in Bangalore numbed out a past of greenery, villages, thatched roofs and unsophisticated people. Something I was more than happy to re discover in these four days.
I set out from Bangalore’s Shantinagar Bus Stand to catch a late Volvo bus onto a grueling 12 hour journey across two states, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. After the comfortable dinner at the Anand Bhavan’s A2B restaurant(one of India’s leading food chains), which I was rather pleased to see since the embers of the need for comfortable travelling experiences had finally reached out transport services department, I boarded the bus to Vijaywada and flagged my journey off to a start.
The bus journey was rather uneventful (thankfully,I hate surprises during journeys) , all I remember is intermittent periods of sleep and movement. For someone for whom sleep comes sleepily it was a harsh one, where even after a continuous period of supposed relaxation I exited the bus stiff, sore and sleep deprived. But I was accompanied by a spirit of adventurism which kept me going.
Vijaywada was a bustling town, growing and throbbing. I don’t want to go to the extent of calling it a city, the ugly side of urbanization had reached it before it could promote itself as a self made, visionistic abode. This is of course deciphered from a moderate glimpse of it, so the conclusions are obviously not evidence ridden. The rest of my family, along with my uncle who’d also act as our tour guide for the next few days were already waiting for us at the bus station. The ‘dormitory’ we stayed in, was by all definitions living up to its state. It is then I realized the magnanimity of the adjustments that lay before me. Surprisingly I stayed rather cheerful through all this, taking up the disparity with a jump in the step and a smile on my face.
What I did like about the entire journey was the absolute closeness I felt to the essence of India. Every turn, every road had a string of attached eccentricity unique to this country. The bus journey on a very old, rickety and possibly unclean bus takes my point home.
Now this bus took me across Vijayawada to a bustling shrine tucked on the rolling edges of a hill, Manglagiri with a mythological story connected to it. Religious devotees throng from around the country to pour ‘Panakha’ or sugar syrup onto the idol, as a offering to the goddess Kanakadurga, an incarnation of the Indian demon goddess Durga or Kali. The fascinating part for me though, was the ride to the temple in an autorickshaw. As an Indian, they are usually commonplace vehicles for me, but these had an interesting modification to accommodate passengers at the ‘back’ too that is, they can face the oncoming traffic.
This ride brought out the child in me, as I waved my hands and feet around at the perplexed commuters behind our vehicle. My movements didn’t go unanswered, I got a lot of jubilant waves from wandering, playful children. Tired and worn out by the heat we returned to the bus stand, to board another bus to our next entrancing destination.
To be continued.
Maybe my atonement is death,
I will not seek resurrection but neither shall I drown
Hope fades with each breath,
But my head still craves the crown.
Deep are my ambitions,writhing, scalding they burn,
As I edge towards the end, each step freeing, liberation
Dowse them in the waters loud, I learn
If I jump, if I let go, farther I shall reach, my expiation.
The abyss stares into me, my darkness mirrored,
I see no light, no flashes of life lived and wasted
The echo of the night pounds in my head, severed
I free my arms, the albatross, and for a moment the gasp lasted.
An epiphany sears through my head, slices through the eternal exhaustion,
If I am consumed by the Acheron, the void inside is fed,
But how shall the void I leave behind be filled without me?
Sometime ago, my partner suddenly remarked that I had used the word “exactly” very similarly to a mutual friend of ours. She is a work friend and we have spent considerable amount of time together. We are debaters, which implies that deep, intelligent sound talk is our daily supper, we revel in it and we consume a lot of time talking. What struck me about this observation is that I have heard similar ones, so many times before. And I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I realised that I was an organic, living sponge, soaking in the idiosyncrasies of the people surrounding me. I have an innate capability of absorbing the personalities and capabilities of everyone around me. I do so in bits and pieces. A piece borrowed from here, a bit from there. Fragments of the whole.
But if I am all but fragments of someone else, as much as an unique combination as it may be, I am beginning to wonder, who am I? If I sift through all the contamination, the interfering and absorbed qualities, which are the ones that I have held truly from the beginning, which are the ones can I truly call, my own?
Maybe I am everybody and everybody is me.
I notice how a lot of people are densely unhappy about the people surrounding them, maybe too many or too less. I, too had an issue with objectivity when it comes to human beings, not able to distinguish between who actually deserves my attention and well, the others. I admire the options available for the answer to this puzzle but I think the one I chose is rather, selfish and prudent. But it does keep you happy. And if you play your cards right, it won’t affect your immediate social environment much too.
I have met far too many people I would care to at this age and it has been an exhaustive journey because I consider myself a selective extrovert, which if not misinterpreted means that I love being around people but they have to be the right ones. This usually puts me in a dilemma of how many I should actually cherish and how many I should just label, ‘acquaintances’. The answers to this are usually, ‘the people who make you happy’ or ‘the ones that clicked’ but these not just being vague, are generally wrong. I met this guy recently who I found likable in a matter of seconds, we had long funny conversations about things that didn’t really matter. By the conventional ideology, there was a possibility of him being a really good friend. But then the condescension started and frankly, I wondered why I got myself into this. The mountain that lay ahead of me begged me to traverse the idea that I had to choose to dispose or continue. I did have a good time after all but does that weigh heavily against the contempt and condescension?
That’s when it hit me.
I need to only keep people in my life who will or may have the potential to be valuable to me in the future.
The guy works for me and is freakishly talented, so I do know that letting him go will be a major setback to my organisation. So I kept him, talked and listened to drabs of uninteresting conversations because I know that my redemption is waiting as a favor.
I use this now on all the people I meet. How will you help me in the future? This bit of preempting is not only helpful, it aides greatly in taking away the guilt of having to be stuck with an absolutely disgusting and unnecessarily unhappy person. It is selfish I know, but actually it is very similar to the reason you won’t stand behind old people in queues. You stereotype. It is faster. I am going to call this “The contact friendship algorithm.” After all, you are how many contacts you have.
You are the sun and I, the moon,
You are big, bright and burn everything that dares,
I stand for everything graceful and peaceful,
You are needed, but I am just heeded,
Even if you have flaws they re never seen, but I display my scars with dignity,
There’s no life without you, but there’s no hope without me,
You never let anything come near you, burning it in its path,
I have let them know me, an open book, and understand me,
I let the stars shine with all their might even at the cost of mine, but you..you have to be the brightest in the sky,
You are the sun and I, the moon,
Now, would you still love me?
It seems deadbeat,me being around. I was so caught up molding my life into absolute finesse perfection, I forgot that I had a past that was far too stilled and shut away for my own convenience. This past is not a dark,sordid one where gray pictures of heinous crimes and misdoings get painted immediately if one chooses to bring up the topic of their ‘past’. I am afraid, it is quite conventional and frankly petty and yet I look upon it as something that altered the winds through my mislead sails to directions I had dare not implore then. I am here today, in the grandeur I would like to imagine myself, in the flair of importance and sophistication I extrude, only because I spent every waking moment of my life to carefully incise away my past and to project a happy exterior unburdened of what potentially defines me. Yes, my time that left me defines me more than the time that is with me right now.That is probably because my present is an effect of my past, in ways that many can’t imagine. That is the funny thing about time, either nothing changes, the paths we choose are repetitive, the destinations same and the journey deja vu-ed too much or, or everything changes with a result malignantly different from the cause. Everything did change for me, and the emotion that triggered the process was pure disgust, coupled with probably a few happy coincidences. My past has been a string of disappointments and ambitious claims of unearthly choices, of radical miracles and belief in belittling beliefs. I must say, running away from it has been presumably the most adequate fuel for any furtherment in my current life. I wanted to reach somewhere so far away from it, I transformed myself wholly in the process, to a point where my beginnings were marred beyond recognition. I look at myself in the mirror, trying to find that person, that person who couldn’t look at the same mirror without distaste and unbearable countenance, that person who shunned the world to seek homely refuge in worlds that will never be, that person who believed in miracles as the only righters of the wrongs and that person who shall die one day without a shred of human thought wavered due to it, and I can’t find her. I have finally lost that past and yet, I am rather unconvinced about the perfectionist agendas of my present. I do not know whether I kicked up a hornet’s nest doing so, bringing in complexities that the simplistic version of me was unaccepting of but I know this, that past did not quell the thirst in me to seek out the world and to take it by the horns and hence, as much as unhappy I am today, probably far worse than the petty things I worried about back then,I don’t think I’d ever want to go back.
“Bad choices make good stories.”
These little things are what separates every human being from another and these little things are what defines me as a person.
- I am extremely patriotic, and my country means a lot to me.
- I am a sucker for cookies.
- I hate ginger and hence,psychosomaticaly allergic to it.
- I am an education enthusiast and believe that education systems need to transform.
- Encyclopedias are my favorite books. Coming close are fiction thrillers.
- Extremely curly haired people put me off.
- As much as I hate to admit it, I am a control freak.
- If somebody asks me about my favorite team or player in a sport, I don’t usually have one. Except in tennis.
- Movies with twisted or intricate plots are my favorite and an occasional inspirational or soul wrenching movie appeals to me too.
- Language has been the center of great interest for me. Everything related to it amazes and excites me.
- I hate the SMS lingo. I find it disgusting and a complete ruin of language system.
- Polite and etiquette following people are my favorite kind.
- I have an innate obsession to capitalize the first letter of the word after a full stop or exclamation or question mark.
- I can do a wide variety of accents, from British to Italian to Chinese.
- French is my favorite European language because of the way it rolls off your tongue.
- I absolutely hate working under people and prefer leading and making my own decisions.
- The above quality is completely repelled by the fact that I am extremely indecisive.
- Driving upward on slopes stresses me.
- Fringes and short hair are the hairstyles I consider the most appealing and long hair on men is a complete no no.
- Wit,humor and a conscience are the only things I look for in a guy.
- I don’t believe in marriage and religion and I am pro adoption.
- Charity and volunteering would have been my career options if I wasn’t so ambitious.
- My life goal is to write a soul stirring, attention grasping bestseller.
- I can’t handle pressure.
- I just realized 25 points weren’t enough to define me.
A lot of people may share the same qualities but the combinations run into millions. This is the proof that as much as conforming that human existence looks like, uniqueness is an inherent quality we gain just by living.
To my immense pleasure, I have found evidence that the world does not just harbour only ignorant literates(ah the oxymoron) or denigrating illiterates, but there are few, as low in number as it may be, an arcane group of people who do worry about our degenerating existence and what is to become of it. The evidence is not glaring enough, but if one does look keenly,with desperation of similar company being the driving force, these people thrive everywhere with voices too meek but thoughts disparagingly loud. if you are one of those, with a conscience clearer than whether to send that request or to accept that gift,if you believe that mankind is on a downward slope of destruction and will continue so until people attain the sense of being involved in or realise the work of something bigger than themselves and their shrewd little problems, then to you, to you I lay my sword and give you my hand for we shall fight as friends and then the darkness shall fall.
“In the courtroom of conscience, there’s always a case in progress.”
I always liked the concept of a community. A group of perpetually different people linked together by one common passion. The best part however, is when you figure out that you have more in common than the singular entity that brought us together. But communities disintegrate just how civilizations cease to exist. I believe the it’s called, ‘moving on’. The main reason for it is that we forget to cherish. We forget the good times, fixate on the bad ones and simply end up prioritizing the community differently. We must remember that communities are important. Even if you think you’re a loner, you will still belong to a community of loners.
“The day we forget that everyone belongs somewhere, it is then we truly become alone.”
I can understand atheists. Atleast their innate need to refute the very foundations of religion and its sub-structures. But what they refuse to see (apart from the pride of separating themselves from what seems to be a dominant consensus) is that religion is a huge phenomena only because people want and absolutely crave to have faith. Everyone wants that quiet reassurance from ourselves that we have someone looking over us. As long as people BELIEVE, there will be god and hence there will be religion.
” The god I seek is within me.”
-Kabir Das, poet and philosopher.