Evening Blues


Evenings in Gwalior are so peaceful. With a tinge of sadness, yes.

That is if you’re talking about my roof or the Fort. I’m back in the city after 2.5 months, sitting on my roof, watching the melancholy silence while the evening namaaz from afar pierces the motionless atmosphere.

October. So you’ve come finally. Thus passes the sleepy September. It’s that time of the year again… Preparations start for Diwali, THE festival of the year for many of us here, while Navratri and oncoming Dussehra adds festivity to the air. Yet, as I’m standing here on my roof, the lonely explosions of crackers exploding now and then somewhere far away leave a doleful echo on the horizon.

The evening itself seems to be an epitome of sadness. Only the approach of night gives one some hopes of warmheartedness with colorful homes shining like stars in the distant horizon heralding the festive season of Diwali (the first, amiable face of the winter).

But, it’s still evening yet. And sadness still hangs in the air. It seems to me that some of that sadness, wafting in the evening air since I was a child, has seeped into me as a result of overexposure to it. (I should have spent more time with friends rather than fooling around alone on the roof)

It has become an addiction, one which you know is like a ghost. It’ll come back to haunt you, no matter where you go, how much you change. And you can’t avoid it.

This evening…and this sadness…

Winter

Today I feel the arrival of winter. I feel the subtle change in the temperature of the wind.

Winter always comes gradually, very imperceptibly, to the unobservant. But to more keen eyes, winter’s arrival can be tracked down to a period of 4-5 days, when you can feel the air suddenly pricking on your forehead and earlobes, and a refreshing coolness caressing your body.
I’ve lived all my life observing seasons, and I always get a certain kind of peculiar feelings and sensations on observing season’s changes and peaking of a season.
For me, winter has always signified the arrival of a special spark in life. It feels like the arrival of cold (the mild one, not the toe-numbing cold of January) stirs and stimulates the soul and set the creative, positive and a special kind of life-force into motion within oneself. Somehow, the world seems to emerge fully out of the stupor of the unbearably long summers and seems fresh after bathing in the monsoons (and a brief humid season after that). This vivacity in the environment encourages simultaneously solitary introspection and warm and amiable gathering with friends and loved ones. I usually feel both of these feelings in equal amounts which makes winters all the more tantalizing and add charm to its enigmatic beauty.
I am a lover of winter’s beauty. Ever since my childhood. I still remember that used to be in my home in the months of October and November. The exotic aroma of the winter wind, the lonely (with lots of books) afternoon hours, the gregarious outings of evenings and finally, late hours of night spent alone on roof, responding to the strange calls of the heart which longed to be in nature’s lap.

National Bestsellers (read=load of crap)

What happened with me in last few months have kept me brimming with outrage over this new trend that has started in India. In my internship in Durgapur, West Bengal during the summer, I was a regular visitor at the Crosswords bookstore there. And I was appalled to see that nowadays all the major book retail chains across India have a special large section dedicated to “National Bestsellers”. And what do these ‘national bestsellers’ constitute? Pot-boilers, all stories invariably written about college life, romance, adolescent urges, crappy profs, booze, drugs, and ‘ye-dosti-hum-nahi-todenge’ stuff. Invariably, and without a single change, about these things. And what’s even worse, they are INVARIABLY (again) written by 20-somethings, who’ve completed their graduation(mostly engineers), or MBA and think they’ve ‘seen it all’ in their college life.
Damn! Chetan Bhagat has started a very horrific trend in India. I’ve seen some extremely rubbish novels in the National Bestseller section (one of them was named, Love Life and a Beer can) of Crosswords. Almost every damn graduate having grandiose dreams of being the next Chetan Bhagat, pours out his verbal diarrhea in novel form, and reputed publication houses like Rupa have gone on to the length of publishing ALL of these works. Most of them who think they’ve ‘been there, done that’, are those who’ve landed up good jobs after single-mindedly studying their way through 4 years of engineering without ever noticing a single girl or without ever getting high for a single time. Chetan Bhagat is one such prick.
Indian Publishing Industry and contemporary culture has gone to the dogs. The youth is not interested in what Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita Nair etc are writing. No, they are more interested in the rocka-rolla life from authors who’ve never lived it, and sms lingo.
I am an IITian like Chetan Bhagat (but more like the 5-pointers he wrote about rather than he himself), and when I tell somebody about my writing aspirations, the first question they ask is: “Oh, like Chetan Bhagat?” Oh, how much my blood boils then…..

(An interesting story regarding this post: When this was first drafted, it was not even a blog-post. It was a comment :D. You can find it here. The blogpost by Sampada got me so worked up (as I had this thing going on in my mind for quite a while) that my comment got a bit ‘too’ long ;). Now as I looked at it again, I thought why not share it here on my space :). I could’ve made some more changes, and expanded it, but i guess i’m too lazy to do that )

याद आई मेरी ज़बान

आज भी याद है, वो बीते दिन
जब उम्र का उफान था, कवि हुआ करते थे
सामने बैठी सहपाठिनी को
मधुशाला का प्रेम-रस पिलाया करते थे

होश आया ज़िन्दगी का
जब आया हाथ में झोला, और पाँव में छाले
तब हिंदी अखबार की नौकरी ने किये
अँधेरी ज़िन्दगी में उजाले

अंग्रेजी तो बचपन से ही कमज़ोर थी
ज़िन्दगी में ज्यादा आगे ना बढ़ पाए
पर उन रातों के कविता-प्रसंग और चाय की चुस्कियां
का मज़ा शायद ही किसी और चीज़ में आये

कितने देस देखे, कितने देखे भेस
पर याराना तो हिंदी से ही हमेशा
उस बोली की गन्ने सी मिठास
उसमे है साकी के प्याले का नशा
______________________________

आप सभी को हिंदी दिवस की शुभकामनायें 🙂

There are no wrong choices, there’s only the fear of making the wrong choices.

I find limiting my choices to be an opportunity to let go of the worries about making the wrong choices, and to focus on enjoying the choices I do make. As I’ve explored scarcity, I’ve been left with this one truth: every path I take is perfect.

Leo Babauta (Zen Habits)

Sweetest Success

The success that comes after a long, hard road of failures is always the sweetest form of success. And it is definitely worth much much more than all the failures you’ve encountered in the way.

And when you’re on your path, with seemingly insurmountable obstacles ahead, be sure that a great success awaits you. Nobody can deny you that. Just don’t stop. Keep going. Keep going.

Randomness

Randomness is one concept we never pay attention to. Most of the time we are doing things we had no idea we would be doing, or more interestingly, we have no idea we are doing AT the time of doing them. Yet that is not what is randomness. We are doing other things in our mind at those moments, and the inefficacy resulting in our inability to perform those same tasks in reality is making us doing those so called random activities.

That is not what I associate with randomness. What I associate with randomness is a state, in which your mind is completely empty, I mean literally empty on the conscious front, and you are blankly gazing into empty space in front of you. No, not the table or your laptop in front of you, the empty space beyond that. Your mind has gone to sleep and you are existing in a suspended state of consciousness. That is what I call randomness. I get into that mode often, quite inexplicably. Obviously there must be some reasons, whether scientific or simple common sense, that must be behind it, but I didn’t care to think about that that much. Whatever the reason, whenever I go into such a state of suspended consciousness, there’s this sweet emptiness that pervades your mind for that period of time. At that time, you’re not thinking, you’re just floating into a frozen moment in the universe that is your mind.

Often I’ve found out that when I come from such a state of randomness, I feel good about myself. I feel as if I have for an instant touched myself from the inside, and I’m not still not a robot who has everything he has to do already fed in it, and everything is going on according to that. Seriously, when you come to think about it, constantly thinking on a conscious level is also a kind of automated response, a response we have got so used to that we do not notice that it is a degeneration into a lower level of consciousness, a computerized mindset, with all programs, goals, desires, emotions, thought patterns, already fed in, and we are just working endlessly according to that, without looking beyond the our code.

Whenever I come out of that randomness, I feel conscious thinking is not the only level of thinking which exists, which is what all of us are prone to think who are on a constantly ‘ON’ mode. Yes, the ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ mode. We think there are only two modes of mind- the ‘ON’ mode, our conscious thinking, and the ‘OFF’ mode, where we do not think at all, or we think on an obviously wrong path. But we are so used to this pattern that we do not care to find out that the ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ switches are not on your mind, but on a very limited part of your brain- the conscious brain. Your brain is such a vast ocean, much of it still remains untapped.

Randomness. I like this world. Not chaos. But randomness. It shows that the order of this world is not the be-all, end-all thing. It is the mind who made it. And this forced order is not its best creation. It can also work on a higher level, the level which connects it on a deeper level with itself, but it has lost the knowledge of that level in the surfeit of the knowledge that it keeps accumulating, without any worth, in its daily life. And adding more knowledge.

Randomness is your last thread connection with yourself.