Addictive nostalgia and vicarious living

Going back to Kanpur. Last few days of (unofficial)college life left. Now the definitive end is here. Even the stretch of one year comes to an end.

Not going to talk about the end, it’s still not here, and we’re not at all for killing the goose before it’s cooked fully.

Today is for the strange vicarious feeling, which i often feel, and which forms the backdrop of all my experience. It’s very difficult to define this feeling. Let me try.

It’s part nostalgia for the past, part anticipation for the future, part daydreaming, part romanticizing the present, part vicarious living, part idealization, part idolization of the others, part distorted self-image, part living in a semi-real reality in one’s own mind.
Yes, that’s much of what it is.

Is it good? It sure feels good at times. But that’s where the deception lies. It’s only felt when it feels good. When it’s bad, you aren’t aware of this addictive habit of yours, but it’s working in your subconscious. It’s like opium, dulling you into the most romantic of reveries, at the cost of this life of yours. It’s a very crude analogy, I admit, and can’t be applied thoroughly. But the deception is pretty much explained by this. The cons of this thing are much more real than the elusive, theoretical pros of it. Everywhere I see, people living in their half-formed dreams, living in a half-real world, unable to grasp the fullness of the reality around them, the ‘reality’ inside themselves, and living in a limbo, which is neither this world, nor the world inside them. And though it might feel like heaven to the imaginative and conscious one, it’s a slippery heaven nonetheless, so much the slipperier for your mental faculties. And they lose to the reality outside of them, and are unable to do full justice to the vision, the lofty reality inside of them. That’s the danger of this addictive reverie.

Now to the theoretical pros of it. It all depends upon how much control you have on yourself. Control comes from knowledge and realization. The one who knows the nature of reality, inside and outside, and of the other-worldly, devious path, which lies between them, knows how to tread it, to facilitate the integration of the two realities. The one who knows, controls the path. He is the master of his dreams, visions and imagination, not their slave. But it’s insanely difficult to attain it. Most people who fall prey to this strange no-man’s land never get to master it. Those who never experience it, never get to experience the inner reality(though I won’t be fully sure, but from where I’m seeing it, it’s the key to connecting the two realities). Others are content with controlling the outer reality, based on flimsy principles of money, power, fame and (misunderstood)love.

I’m often reminded of Buddha. Since long before, I’ve often pictured, and discussed it with my friends as such, the path of knowledge as the path of sorrow. The path is full of sorrow from beginning to the end. True happiness lies only at the two ends. The one end, from which we start, the end of complete ignorance. And the other end, the end of complete knowledge. And at that other end, I can only imagine one person, Buddha. And all those who walk the path of knowledge are destined for sorrow, unless and until they complete their journey.
But that’s a story for another day…

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Letting Go

I love Friends, the show. Not that I love everybody in it. A few characteristics are extremely annoying(which is good, and deliberate, that’s why they are there), like Rachel’s popular-schoolgirl-snobbish mentality, and Monica’s obsession with controlling her life.

Ironically, as it has dawned on me in recent past, I’m a control freak too(not a popular-schoolgirl-snob, could not be even if I wanted to). And, there are many frightening similarities with Monica. Not-so-successful handling of the career, lopsided handling of separate aspects of life, some sensibly, others emotionally, and ordering close people what to do, what to think and how to behave when around.

For a long time since it started, I was under the illusion that I’m the right one(the self-righteous disease of pseudo-intellectuals) and I am getting other people’s perspective but they can’t seem to get mine, and it’s their problem and not mine and so I need to call them on their faults. This self-righteousness, coupled with a need for approval and low self-esteem, slid imperceptibly into a need for control, a need to control the surroundings, people’s behavior around me, and their thoughts and opinions about my life and actions. This led to touchiness, distorted social perspective and behavior, furthermore aggravated controlling behavior and a perpetual state of sulkiness.

It was only recently, that I was called on this behavior of mine. Initially I was stumped. How could I, such a sensitive, righteous, moral and inherently right person, be a control freak? I, who is all for individualism and personal freedom, can’t be like this. But I am. And the argument, that I know what they should do and how they should behave because i am more intelligent, holds no weight in an individualistic and free environment. Even if you’re right, which you have no way of knowing absolutely, it won’t make any difference to the fact they are and will act and think the way they want to, either stupidly or intelligently, whether you like or not. You just have to deal with this fact, gulp down the discomfort, and move on.

The last line is what I’m trying to do nowadays. It is very hard to remove the pseudo-intellectual bug within oneself, it takes hell lot of self-mastery and detachment.

Just let go. The more you try to control, the more you are controlled.

Let go, and be free.

Time and Again…

There is never enough time.

I have acquired a bad habit over time. The habit of rushing over everything, at least anything that requires effort, or is worth the time. This habit gives rise to a disconcerting feeling of never having enough time, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and I never have enough time for important things. First of all, I never get down to do them, avoiding them as much as possible. When confronted with the task somehow or the other, I tend to rush through the damn thing, only doing just enough for it to qualify as a day’s work, to be able to be held off till the next inevitable confrontation, and again resuming the gargantuan task of avoiding all the important things and lazing around. This thing gives rise to the perpetual disconcerting feeling that I’m missing out of something important, overlooking, forgetting or avoiding something important, which should have been done by now, or whose deadline has passed. Somehow I’ve been lucky too many times already, but it’s not going to save me every time.

Shortage of time is not the problem. I have no shortage of time, not until now. Time has been in abundance, probably too much abundance for my own good. The problem is my thinking. If you are doing something important, worth doing, or something you like or are good at, give it time. Give it time at the expense of other things, if need be. Basically, just don’t think about time when doing those things. Think of the work only. Just like when you watch 9gag. You’re ready to read on till the last gag you had read weeks ago, even if it take hundreds of gags, and an hour or so of your time. This is the dedication required (sarcasm intended). You stop thinking about the work in context of time. You think about the work, and not the time.

This is the only way to produce good work, be it good learning, good knowledge, good professional work, or (most importantly) good art.

So we can modify the first sentence now. There is always enough time. What’s lacking maybe is dedication and passion.

Heaviness

All the good things, enjoyable things; the more worthwhile they become over time, the less enjoyable and spontaneous they become. I’m not sure what other people feel on this thing, but slow decline in spontaneity has been a consistent characteristic of everything I’ve enjoyed since my childhood, be it chess, reading or anything else.

With time and greater amount of proficiency and seriousness in the pursuit, the spontaneity decreases, the stakes become higher, or, the stakes which were not there before start to appear in the picture, as you struggle to attach a meaning to the thing which is so important in your life as to picture somewhere in the whole scenario and the purpose of your life(whatever you’ve pictured that to be). The decline in spontaneity and the unconscious search to find(or contrive) a purpose starts killing the fun and enjoyment part slowly, and a heaviness comes in the pursuit.

I read more books nowadays than ever before. But the pursuit today with filled with a heaviness, coming from a sense of purpose I’ve somehow attached to it, markedly different from the carefree school days. I think a lot before picking up any book, weighing all pros and cons of investing my time in that book, and till the time I start reading it, the interest has gone down significantly. Compared to this, I used to pick up books at random in school days, read them with an omnivorous curiosity, and never once looked at the size of the book. Adam Bede, David Copperfield, Sketches by Boz, other Victorian novels, were read with no concern whatsoever for the size and readability of the book, and their relevance and connection to modern times. I had those books, and I had to read them, and that was it. This heaviness, although attaching a purpose to it, ironically makes the pursuit somewhat meaningless simultaneously.

Stargazer

These are lonely summer nights
Dying embers of a burning day
As I twist and turn, sleepless and silent
Looking for light, looking for a way

The sky stretch vast above me
Sombre silence after the storm
Stars look with mute empathy
As I struggle to find my poem

My friends of yore, the stars
They seem so far away tonight
Helpless and distant, and I feel
The hollowness after the fight

Meanings are lost, pasts blurred
A shadow of me, without me
Signs lead to nowhere now
What does it mean, to be?

Hot and sleepless nights
Stars stay the night with me
As I struggle to find my poem
Myself, and the meaning to be

The Blog is Dead. Long Live the Blog!

In every beginning lies the inevitability of an end, and in every end the seeds of a new beginning.

This first part is pessimistic, and latter one optimistic. That’s how it is used. In the end, it’s all the same. The end, the beginning(interesting to note here that this was the title i used for the first sketch i wrote. Hmm, the phrase added to #obsessions.); it’s all the same in face of cosmic indifference.

It has been more than four months since I blogged last. This was not a break, premeditated or unpremeditated. It was an end. I had lost the desire to blog in the same way I used to have. It had been deteriorating for a long time, but it completely disappeared in the days after December despite the fact that the last blog-post was an inspired one and I liked it myself. The two years of blogging had come to an end. I would never blog the same way again.

It was a vigorous start, the joy of discovering an expression of medium, the hunger of page views, comments, likes and acknowledgement. The last one remains, but its manifestation in the form of the other kinds of hunger has disappeared. With time, disillusionment crept in, with the state of affairs in blogosphere, even though i consistently got to know new awesome people, and underlying futility of the exercise in a social context(a highly debatable point, said in context of certain type of subjects, and not for inherently social kind of blogging, which I don’t like anyways). But this was not the final or the decisive strike. The coup-de-grace came from within. In the last one year, there was a mental drainage of enthusiasm, energy and active positivism. Personal issues sparked it, laziness and procrastination fanned it into a fire which consumed everything. The desire kept getting eroded, and achieved an ironic end, when after completing my courses and placements in December, becoming completely free to blog/write/whatever as I please, I completely lost the desire. A point needs to be emphasized  The desire, lost mainly because of procrastination, was not the most harming aspect. I had been battling procrastination since forever, but still managed to write something from time to time. The thing that hurt most was, I had nothing to write. I had absolutely nothing to write. The mental drainage has drained all the fertility from the soil of my mind, and all the seeds lay there hopelessly, amorphous, in a void, without any shape or voice, without any germination and budding of creative crop. My mind has stopped working(said with all the emphasis possible). I need to kick it back into action.

…Which is the main goal of this new beginning. For a new beginning it is, no continuation of the old story after a break. No. A new beginning. The old one died from creative and emotional exhaustion. A new blog with a new goal, a personal one, and simple- to write what i think, and to start a positive loop in the process. Nothing more.

I want to beat the shit out of this desire of acknowledgement of mine. For what good is such a desire, in the absence of work, commitment, energy, force and determination, and above all, concentrated action. A new beginning is needed. An end is needed, most of all.

The old has to die, for the new to be born.