The World Is Calling Me

I seem to be in a new phase in my life. Or maybe I am in the same phase I was in a few years ago before I fell into period of low energy. It looks like I am on the cusp of something new, or maybe it is just a brand new illusion. Life is an illusion. It gives us hope, it takes away hope, it moves us to top and brings us to bottom. I am not quite sure what is happening right now, but it is a lot better than the past couple of years. I was depressed about a lot of things, but now hope and energy is flowing through me. Not everything is great though. Earlier, I used to be the King of the world on Mondays, a hopeless beggar on Tuesdays, a radiant sun on Wednesdays, the filth at the bottom of a worn-out boot on Thursdays, but now I am going through these mood swings on a single day. I am a giant to walk among men by Morning, a bit suicidal by noon, and back to my royal self by evening. I am not quite sure what is happening. Overall I seem to be battling my demons and winning, but they do come back and deliver nasty blows when I think of rejoicing my victories.

The World seems to be calling me back. “Hello, there! We could have so much fun! Why don’t you step right in? 🙂 🙂 🙂 ”

“But dear World, I know you and your tricks. You seduce me in, and right when I think I am stepping into a garden of roses, the green grass gives way to a deep chasm of darkness.”

“Hmmmm. That sounds like an accurate description,” mutters the World. “But tell me then, boy. Why are you falling for it?”

“I am not falling for it.”

“Really?” says the World with a hint of menace. “Then why do you go down when you’re supposed to be up?”

“That is a good question,” I say, suddenly brooding at the truth in World’s words.

“I know that”, says the World gleefully. “I always ask the right questions.”

“Don’t you want to rule me?” asks the World innocently. “Think about it! You can be a King and tower over the rest. This is your time!”

“Well…,” I say thoughtfully. “All that sounds nice and fine. I would love that. But…”

“But what?”

“But, you are laying a trap for me, aren’t you?” I ask.

The glee disappears from World’s face. “No, I am not. Just think about all the happiness that you can have. Don’t you want that?”

“Yes.”

“Then take my hand, come right in.”

I stand my ground.

“You need to take a decision now, my boy,” says the World impatiently. “Look at all that I have to offer. I can give you the greatness that you long for, vast riches, fame, love, and much more. There is nothing that I don’t have and you know it.”

“Yes, I am aware. I know what you are capable of.”

“Then what are you waiting for?” says the World impatiently.

“I don’t want to be part of this rat race,” I say.

“What if I give you something you want so badly?”

“Give it and I will see.”

“But what else are you going to do if you don’t want to be a part of me?” says the World.

“I don’t know,” I admit.

“You stand between what you want and the imaginary and think that somehow, magically, you will be happy,” smirks the World. “Am I wrong, little boy?”

“No,” comes out my voice feebly.

“Then come and take what you want.”

“You make it sound so easy,” I say. “I know for a fact that things are not easy.”

“You’re right. Life is not easy, life is unfair, I admit,” says the World. “But what else is there to do?”

“I don’t want pain.”

“You will find it even if you don’t take any action,” says the World. “I mean, aren’t you already experiencing some of it?”

The World is right. Unhappiness is banging at my gates and I am using all my energy to keep it out. I am strong right now and so I am able to fight with all my might, but I do know that one small little dent could take me down badly.

“So?”

“What do you want of me?” I ask, exasperated.

What is it that I should do to get out of this madness?

 

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Little Ralph and the street dog

Once Ralph went on a walk close to bed time. He was actually staying at his uncle’s house located at the ancient town of Bigfort. As he went through streets that were new to him, a big, mighty dog came out of nowhere. Both dog and Ralph regarded each other for a moment. Then slowly he bent forward and patted its head. The dog started wagging its tail. It then stood on its hind legs and placed its forelegs on his chest. Little Ralph didn’t expect that sudden move and backed off immediately. That dog was aggressively friendly. But only later something told him that it was wrong to move away. That dog was seeking love. It needed love so badly and it thought that he could give it. But it’s sudden movement scared him and turned him away. It’s been six or seven years since that incident, and Ralph still regrets not reciprocating that dog’s love. All it needed was love and he wasn’t able to give it. Ralph loves dogs and he often looks at the faces of the various street dogs that he comes across; some need love, some are content, some don’t care anymore, some want to please the humans around it, some are scared, and some are aggressive leaders of their streets. It’s amazing how dogs in general are beings of pure love and can exhibit human-like emotions. They are capable of showing so much love and they love being loved.

 Sometimes, Ralph feels like that dog that he left behind in that dark street — a dog who seeks love, but doesn’t know how to show it, nor does it know how to handle the love that it receives. 

On Existence

I stood there and watched as an old man struggle to walk under the hot sun. He was carrying a heavy basket on his head and he looked he might fall down any minute. He looked tired and hungry. And as I watched, he stumbled and went down heavily. The clay dolls he was carrying shattered into a million pieces. Blood oozed from his head as he lay there and twitched. He needed help. If only I could go there and give him some water from the bottle that I was carrying, his life could have been prolonged enough until help arrived. But I stood there motionless. After a few minutes of moaning and twitching, his life passed away. I continued my walk. 

Now please don’t judge me. You don’t know who I am. What if I am already dead? What if that it was me, the Divine Death (oh yes, death is divine) who came in the form of a pickpocket who robbed that old man’s breakfast money, that very morning, to make him tired and hungry so that I could dispose off his fragile shell easily later in the day? 

Or what if I am God? 

But no, I am none of the above. I am just a puppet. Just like you. And I was only being myself. Is that wrong? Aren’t we all puppets? 

This Paradoxical World

The former actress and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalitha, ruled this wonderful state for more than 15 years, before her untimely and mysterious death a few months ago on 6th December, 2016. A lot of people in Tamil Nadu love her and that is why she was elected over four times. She was a queen and an iron lady who bowed to know one. She kept the right-wing fanatics at bay and cemented her position as the “supreme leader.”

She sounds cool, doesn’t she? She was cool….. except for the fact that she was also corrupt and she allowed corrupt people to flourish under her rule. Of course, prior to her rule the corruption was at a grander scale. So I guess we, the people of Tamil Nadu, should be happy that corruption happened at a lesser scale during her rule. I never voted for her party when she was alive and I never will vote in the future. The woman was corrupt. But I cried like a child when she passed away. I sat in front of the TV for a whole day and watched her funeral procession, her body being lowered into her grave, all her old speeches, and I cried and cried and cried. I even sat with my grandmother, who was her big fan, and watched Jayalalitha’s old movies and songs from the 1960s and 70s. In fact, I just discovered a Facebook page in dedication to her and my eyes were filled with tears when I went through her photos and her quotes. I don’t quite understand this. What is this new-found love that I have for this lady? I agree that I did have a soft corner for her even when she was alive because I always admired her boldness, and her leadership qualities. But still, how come my eyes moisten when I think about her even now?

My mind goes back to the Facebook post that I wrote a few weeks after the lady’s death. I wrote that what happened was for the good of this state’s people. I believe that the two cyclones that damaged this state in 2015 and 16, and this death has united the people more than ever. This unity led to the popular Jallikattu uprising. If those two cyclones and Jayalalitha’s death hadn’t happened, the Jallikattu protests would never have occurred. People learned how to use Facebook and Whatsapp to unite when those cyclones struck, and the protests were organised from the lessons that were learned. And the “Iron Lady” of Tamil Nadu would have crushed those protests if she had been alive. “Not on my watch,” she would have said. But then, people wouldn’t have protested in the first place if she was alive. We took matter into our own hands because we have this feeling of insecurity after her death. There is this great power struggle happening to consolidate power, and the dormant right-wing fanatics have started wagging their tails in her absence. All this makes us even more insecure. We have always been having this feeling of insecurity about the safety of our language and culture and this feeling has only been heightened now. But I believe everything is interconnected. All of this happened for  a reason.

What is it that is happening to us humans? I am not sure. Ours is a strange existence with a paradoxical history and we have tried to comprehend it  by giving it various meanings. But what is the truth behind it all? Only time will tell. But there is no guarantee that we will live to see it.

 

The Paradoxical Paradox (or I just realised I like the word paradox):

In Tamil, there is a saying — “Yellam Nanmaikkey!” This could be roughly translated as: Everything that happens is for good or Everything happens for a good reason. Or something like that. This leads us to some very interesting questions and thoughts. I mean, think about  all the tragedies that have happened on this planet so far. Are you telling me that all of that happened for good? I am not an atheist, so this allows me to think further about this question. Of course, we are yet to understand the human mind completely, we can neither understand God’s mind nor his plans. Do we even possess the kind of mind that it takes to understand God’s mind? No. We can only guess. So what is it that I am guessing here?

I think that that saying is true, everything that happens is for a good reason. This is going to offend a lot of people. Maybe even the British occupation of India happened for a good reason? It did result in the death of a lot of people, our wealth being plundered, and other injustices, but still, maybe it is for the good. What about the horrendous caste system? That too happened for the good? The caste system has caused and is still causing a lot of injustices in this country. It should never have happened, and if I could travel back in time I would travel back to stop it from happening. But, what good has the caste system caused in this society? I could think of nothing. A lot of people in India have managed to preserve their “pure” blood lines. Is that any good? I don’t know. The holocaust happened for a good reason too? The US butchering the middle east in the name of freedom and democracy is good too? If we want to believe that “Everything that happens is for good,” then we should also be ready to believe that all these injustices happened for a good reason as well. Maybe we will see the good at a later point in time. Will we? Or maybe we never will, but our grandchildren will see it one day, I guess. Life is so unfair, isn’t it? I don’t understand life, I don’t even understand myself at times. Things seem so strange, and meaningless.

What you should do

What does this mean? Does this mean that you should sit back and watch as life unfolds? Should you silently observe God’s plans regardless of how cruel the events are? Of course, we think it is cruel, but it happens for a good reason, I am sure (I guess). But still…… it doesn’t feel right, does it? I think we should fight back. We should fight against all injustices even if that means us losing our lives. Aren’t we just little dust motes stuck to this bigger dust mote called Earth flinging around recklessly in this dark vacuum? I think at the end of the day, us fighting against all injustices is also part of God’s plan.

 

Pointillism

Through a series of events, that started on a Piewdiepie YouTube video on this Friday night (day before yesterday), I ended up visiting a website. I bookmarked the site and visited it again yesterday, and as I browsed through this site I came across the word Pointillism for the first time in my life. Pointillism is a kind of art technique in which the artist creates images through a series of dots. That Piewdiepie video had absolutely nothing to do with Pointillism or any kind of art. Even the website had nothing to do with art, but just referenced this form of art as an example for something.

Today, just a few hours back, I was casually flipping through the pages of The Times of India and I learnt through an article that a rock art, 38,000 years old — the oldest rock art discovered till date — has images carved using the technique of Pointillism!  It was found in France, and until this discovery it was thought that Pointillism had its origin in the 19th century! Here’s a link to that. Wow! I felt a bit strange when I read this today. Why do these kind of strange coincidences happen in life? It is said that there are no coincidences and that everything happens for a reason. If that is the case, why did this little “insignificant” coincidence happened in my life? Obviously this is a major discovery for the person who did this, it is a major discovery for rock-art enthusiasts, archaeologists, and maybe many other art enthusiasts. But for me, personally, this is insignificant. Maybe I should just dismiss it and move on with my life, or maybe I should think that life is telling me something and I should try my hand at Pointillism, or maybe, it was me who made this art in a previous life and life is having a little fun with me. I don’t know.

Life is strange.

“About Me”

I once had an About-me page on this blog. It spanned over 10 points about my likes and dislikes and I tried to explain what kind of a person I am and I hoped it sounded “cool”. I still remember what drove me to write that — it was another About-me page that I had read on a blog and I thought that it was totally awesome. That page had two sections, a shorter introduction and a longer introduction and I loved how that blogger described  himself. This was about five or six years ago. But after a couple of years, I took down that page because I thought I sounded a bit narcissistic and egotistic. I still love reading About-me pages and those little Twitter statuses. I wish I was someone and I could describe myself perfectly like so many others. Now this leads me to the question, “Who am I?”

A question that I have been asking myself eternally. I was thinking about this just yesterday and my impish mind immediately gave an answer — “He who cannot be described!” You know, like You-know-who. Pretty cool, right? Except, I am still unsatisfied with this answer, and yes, there is a bit of egotism even in this. At least even if I had some talents, I could label myself as a “pianist” or a “Kung-Fu master” or a “programmer” or a “writer”. I wish I had all these talents, but I don’t. I am a talent-less lump of a being. But, but, what is the need to label oneself? I don’t know, it just feels good to know who we are. It feels good to have a purpose or a role to play in life. I hate groping around in the dark and I wish I could categorise myself under some banner that I could proudly stand under.

But this doesn’t mean that people should be labeled like commodities and treated and judged as such. I have come across such people who refer to others as “Cancerians” (is that even a word?) or “Leos” or “Liberals” and the list goes on and on. I get irritated when people do this, and some people ask to be referred this way which is even more pathetic. “Liberal” reads a Twitter status.  This is just pure madness.

I am neither a conservative, nor a liberal. I don’t have rigid views as I understand that each situation is different and so our rigid views cannot be a solution to all situations. One size does not fit all. What this world requires is common sense. I understand that I need to be a capitalist in one situation, and a communist in another. I will be a liberal in one situation and a conservative in another.

Please do not confuse this with adapting to different situations; I am not talking about adaptability. I am talking about having common sense.

All of this is delusion, all of this is pure madness, and the problem with labeling oneself is that it adds to this delusion. How much more deluded do you want to be? This is literally inviting delusion inside of us. Even atheists sound so religious in their belief of non-existence of God.

Hold on a second, hold on a second, let me think about myself before I continue with this rant. What are the labels have I given myself or I have acquired naturally through my birth? I am an Indian, a proud Tamil, and……. can’t really think of anything else…my mind just prompted me to add Raja Yogi and Kriya Yogi, but I think that would be an insult to all the great Yogis who lived before me and are living right now. Let’s dissect this for a moment — Indian and Tamil.

I have a sense of loyalty to this country that I live in and I take pride in being a Tamil. Is there anything wrong in this?It would be wrong if I think people from other countries/states or people from other races or people who speak different languages are inferior to me. I don’t think that. Some people may say that a country is an artificial man-made entity and so there is no point in being patriotic. I completely disagree to this as it is this man-made entity that protects us from the barbarians out there. If you live in one of those villages that is located near the India-Pakistan border and if you rely on the Indian military for your protection, I am 100% sure that you would be more patriotic, but since you are able to sit in your comfy chair, inside your cozy home, you make such mindless comments. All your reasoning, and all your philosophies and principles and labels will only work with people like me. Why don’t you go to Libya and proudly unfurl your banner and appeal to the poor misguided ISIS souls with all your individualistic charm? I am sure it will work out and the world will be a better place for all of us. Please do us this favour. The world counts on you. And don’t forget that selfie.

So, is it wrong to call oneself a pianist if one is good at the piano? Not at all. All I am saying is, just don’t go too overboard with it. Don’t become one with the piano and think that guitarists are part of the problem. Do not constrain yourself under any category.  Don’t be this or don’t be that. Human beings are more than just labels.

A special note to people who label themselves as vegans, atheists, and nihilists:

***** start of note *****

Don’t be a condescending prick.

***** end of note *****

Slackware Linux!

I first started using Linux in 2011 and ever since I learned about Slackware Linux I always wanted to try it. But Slackware Linux is for advanced users, they said, and so I thought I would give it a try later when I become advanced. Well, the year is 2017 and I still don’t consider myself to be advanced, but Slackware suddenly started to tempt me. I watched a few videos on Youtube and today I finally took the plunge! (actually it is 1 AM right now and I installed the thing somewhere around 11 PM yesterday).

Ubuntu is just for the curious amongst us. But Slackware is the doorway to Linux madness.

First you descend down  Slackware, then you grope around the endless dark tunnels of Gentoo Linux, and finally LFS (Linux From Scratch) entices you and ensnares you.

Boy am I looking forward to LFS! I just spent the last 15 minutes installing Gedit, a simple notepad like program, in my machine. But it was fun and completely worth it.

I am now a Slacker! 🙂