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Random Thoughts

The World as I see it

We are all Writers


sr-1-18

One of my friends once said that every person has a story to tell; he or she is just waiting for the right person to share it with at the right time. Life is a journey, and each one of us starts alone on a solitary road, with an empty earthen pot on our head. As we walk on this road, it occasionally rains. These rains are what we call experiences. We collect some of them in our earthen pots. We collect them, preserve them but keep them to ourselves. And on the warm sunny days with clear blue skies, when we have all the time to introspect, water sometimes seeps out through the porous walls of the pot. That is when our fellow travelers can see a part of us. They know us through our stories. The stories that are shaped out of our experiences. These warm sunny days are when we reflect upon ourselves. These warm sunny days are when we tell our stories. These warm sunny days are when we write.

When on the topic of writing, I get reminded of the tens of times when tens of my friends have reminded me the most obvious fact — that I have not been writing lately; and that I SHOULD be writing. While their allegations are justified, it is not true that I haven’t thought of writing lately. And it was during one of these ‘thought’ sessions that this weird thought came to my mind that I have not been all that dormant these days. I have been writing. In fact, all of us are continuously writing. A researcher has been writing articles in journals, a reporter has been writing columns in the newspaper, a musician has been writing new music, a painter has been writing new paintings, a player is writing new milestones.

Writing is penning down stories and embedding emotions and experiences in them. This embedding need not always be in words. In fact, most of us don’t write words. Painters tell their stories through paintings, photographers by their photos, and dancers by their dance. Most people, however like their stories simply spoken to an individual. Everyone writes stories. Everyone shares their experiences. The only factor that changes is the people with whom the stories are shared.

The longer we walk on the road of life, the more water does our earthen pot collect. Water is heavy and so are the experiences. We all walk along until the pot is too heavy to carry. The pot then topples and eventually falls.. And all the water spills on the ever-thirsty sands; and all that remains are marks and a fading trail… Until we pick up another empty pot and embark on another journey again…

The Unending Game


Sea

As I stand on the sea-shore
With waves washing my feet
I drown into my pensive lanes
As I see them retreat

Million forms of the formless
And yet they are the same
Million colours of the colourless
Playing the same old game

Thousand waves that strike a day
Trying hard to gain some land
Endless efforts go in vain
Invincible stands the rule of sand

And then to roaring seas I ask
“What do you boast of all day
There is no song of glory to sing
You try in vain, the world does say”

Smiling at me the giant said
I seek no songs, no glories, no praise
All those are transient, they come and go
It is the joy that forever stays

Where is the joy you talk about
In this never ending game?
Never shall you gain an inch
The land shall forever be same

What do you think of the sand below
Lying beneath your innocent feet?
Weren’t they rocks, years ago
Smashed by the game of approach and retreat?

From rocks to stones to pebbles to sand
And all the snow in all the land
With stories untold, come to me
To loose themselves and merge with the grand

One day, to me, you too would come
As a part of this unending game
And so would everything under sun
But I shall still remain the same…

How many ages have passed?


mans hand using door knocker on wood effect upvc door cold calling household
So, ‘the festival’ has ended. Although the festive season in India is in full swing; ‘the festival’ of Bengal culminated yesterday with ‘Vijayadashami’ or ‘Dussehra’. So Shubho Bijaya and Happy Dussehra to all of you. BTW, is anyone still here?

Before I move on; it is my responsibility to tell you about my whereabouts during these days. Simply put I was busy doing effectively absolutely nothing. So let’s see what did I do in these months. Firstly I spent my birthday alone in a foreign land (Germany… to be precise) sitting lonely in a room as no-one knew about my birthday. No-one except probably a bird who used to sit on my window each day. I also wrote a 200 odd page document that contained nothing… well effectively nothing… although some people call it a ‘Project Report’ and were seemingly impressed by it.

After coming back home I spent effectively 2 months in one of the most ‘interesting’ endeavors of my life – preparing for PhD applications. It might seem interesting to you that it order to get a very good PhD position in ‘Physics’, the most important skill to master is ‘English’. You heard it right… English vocabulary is the key to succeed in Physics research… Not the laws, equations, theorems, diagrams, postulates or any other crap that you learnt in the last 5 years as a physics student… ONLY ENGLISH. Confused? So to put things straight, to get a successful PhD position in a reputed place in USA or Europe, you need to score extremely well in and English exam called GRE which requires you to know meanings of words which you would never use in a ‘sane, cultured society’. There were 1500 such words that I mugged up ‘in principle’; and needless to say, deleted from my memory the second I walked out of the exam hall. And this, my dear friends is called ‘system’.

Agaain, it goes without saying that thanks to my brilliant luck, my exam was scheduled yesterday – the last day of a 10 day long festival – and hence when my friends were enjoying the festival on the streets, I was sitting in my room improving my English. People buy new dress during the festivals, I couldn’t even mend my torn shoes this time. Although the reason for that is ‘laziness at its peak’.

And yes, there is one more thing that ‘we’ did as a nation. We reached mars. I guess you have heard a lot about that news, so I would just like to congratulate ISRO and my countrymen for the achievement. Although as a science student, I know that for future missions, a technological leap is needed (for the science enthusiasts; we need to perfect the cryogenic stage of GSLV to carry heavier payloads). I wish ISRO the best for that too.

So this was a random post, just to wake up my blog and to pay gratitude to my readers who have been following me. Especially the few of you who actually poked me time and again, informing me how they missed my blog. ‘Serious’ stuff comes in the following posts. Till then, take care.

The Left-Right Dilemma…


Left-or-Right

The most important question in life is: “What do you do when you when you are walking on a road and you see another person heading towards you on a collision path: Do you move to the left or to the right?” What do you think of the importance of the question? Worthless? Nah… its not worthless. Let me explain. In countries like India, people would mutually agree and move slightly to their respective lefts. In countries like Germany, people would move right. In both cases collision is avoided and life is good. The problem arises when people from India (where Left is right and Right is wrong) visit Germany (where Left is left and Right is right). What happens then is called the left-right dilemma.

What happens is that you being an Indian move too your left and he moves to his right; still making keeping you in the collision track. And when both of you come dangerously close to collision, both of you stop and you look at the person closely for the first time; you observe two features distinctively. His height and his built. And both of them make you feel so timid. Believe me 6 feet tall in India is a big deal but it is there that you realise how ‘large’ the world is! So all the pride is washed out and a 6 feet tall bamboo stick looks ‘up’ to a person – an act that is not common in his homeland. What comes next is worse. Some words are spoken – and there is no chance of you understanding ANYTHING of it. C’mon we learn 3 languages ‘by default’ how much more can a sane mind grasp? So after the few seconds of understanding nothing, the scared and confused you is left with 4 options – ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Sorry’ or ‘English Please’.

The trouble does not end here. The whole traffic system seems to be so ‘wrong sided’. Turning left is NOT always allowed as in India; turning right is. And the driving seat is on the left. So to communicate to a car which waits for you pedestrian as you watch in awe (yes… this NEVER happens in India), you look to the left of the car and not to the right.

And finally… How many times have I looked in the wrong direction while crossing the road. Now THAT is dangerous.

Sometimes I wonder… wouldn’t it be better if one nation would have colonised the whole world; the world would have been a much less confusing place to live in. :P

The Complete


पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते |

पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ||

Translated as

This is complete; that too is complete. What this completeness yields itself is complete.

And from this completeness; even if the complete is taken out, what remains is complete.

A verse from the Isha Upnishad which which has intrigued me since childhood. Not only due to the marvelous rhythm of the verse itself (which was the first reason to get attracted to it), but also due to the layers of meanings that one can derive out of it.

The first quarter beautifully states that “Not only this; but even that is complete… Everything around us is complete.” Complete in what sense? I feel it to be complete in manifestation. Complete in its identity. Complete in its reason to exist. What it also indicates is as all are complete; hence all are equal. How is it that everything is complete? It says, “What completeness yields is also complete.” It is a self propagating engine. And hence the source of all completeness, which is also complete, which we (probably naively) call the creator. And if the complete creator, creates us; we too are complete… We too are the manifestations of the same creator… so much so, that we are the creators in our own right.

The last part is the most fascinating. “Even if complete is taken out from the complete, what remains is complete.” Completeness is unharmed, indestructible. Howsoever large part of it do you try to carve out; the complete still remains complete. Whatever you do to the creator, the creator remains unaltered.

I can’t help but bring out the parallel with the concept of infinity. In science and mathematics, whatever you add or subtract to infinity, it remains unaltered.

Irrespective of truth and validity of mythology, the fact remains that some brilliant minds could think and perceive of these ideas thousands of years ago and moreover put them in such beautiful poetic forms. Respect is a small word for them…

Why do you weep?


weeping eyes

You weep in pain; you weep in grief. You weep in joy; you weep in relief. You weep in prayers, while talking to god. You weep when alone, of your own accord. But why mother? Why do you weep?

You think I don’t understand? Each pearl that tickles down your cheek has a world of emotions in it. When you weep in pain; each tear cries out loud, seeking the help you never ask for. It seeks the care you never receive. The one kiss, the one hug, the one touch that makes you forget your pain; that one look is all it seeks. When you weep in grief, dear mother; the tear hides the fear you never share, the thoughts that should never come true; the stories that better remain untold. And when in the evening prayers, in the dim light of the golden flame, when you converse with the god, sometimes water spills out of your brimming eyes. You think you can hide them? Nah… I see them all. And along with that, I see the millions of wishes you make, and yet none for yourself. You crave for success, for glory, for fame, for well being; yet none for yourself. Don’t I know for whom do you pray? I know it well… I know it all.

Do you know, mother, that tens of thousands of miles away, a heart sees each of your tears trickle? Do you know what it is to see it all, understand it all, feel it all and yet never respond? I think you know. For sure you know; else you won’t be my mother. I guess some feelings are best left unexpressed, some emotions are best untold; some words are best unspoken. Some feelings, emotions and words belong to the heart; and when hearts talk, not a single sound is made.

I promise mother, I will return. The person for whom you wept would return. And on my return, I promise to make you cry again. But this time the tears would be that of glory and pride. Your eyes would would brim with joys unbound and each tear would showcase a story of sacrifice and success to the world.

I will tell you why you weep. When the one who creates, needs to be created, he comes into your womb. When the one who feeds, needs to be fed, he is fed by you hands. When the one who gives shelter, seeks shelter for himself, he comes to your lap. Likewise, when the one who quenches thirst, is thirsty himself, he comes into your eyes.

And that is precisely why you weep…

जिसके गर्भ से सृजनकर्ता का सृजन है होता
जिसके आँचल सिर छिपाए कृष्ण भी है सोता
जिसके हाथों अन्नपूर्णा की क्षुदा है मिटती
उसकी आँखों में ही आकर जल की प्यास भी मिटती।

काल एक पल को थम जाए


Mahabharat

कठिन समय है. श्यामल बादल फिर आकाश में छाये;
उग्र वेग से पवन है बहता, सूरज दीख न पाये |
घोर ध्वनि में गर्जन करते, मेघ धरती को घेरे;
अनंत निशा में डूबी पृथ्वी, खो गए हैं सवेरे |

पर है यह संकेत कि निकट भविष्य में, भीषण युद्ध निश्चित है;
घोर तिमिर पर अखंड प्रकाश की, विजय पुनः निश्चित है |
रक्त की प्यासी काली माँ का, उन्मत्त नर्तन निश्चित है;
दानव-दल-वध करने दुर्गा का अवतरण निश्चित है |

तो हो जाए यह अंतिम रण,
जिसमें करने जीवन अर्पण;
हैं वीर खड़े उकसाए से,
न किंचित भी घबराये से |

फिर गांडीव की हो टंकार.
फिर पाञ्चजन्य की हो हुंकार;
फिर से सुन शत्रु की ललकार,
उबल उठे फिर रक्त की धार |

तीरों से तीर फिर टकराएं,
खडग-त्रिशूल फिर लड़ जाएँ;
पौरुष का ऐसा प्रदर्शन हो,
कि काल एक पल को थम जाए |

The Sea of People


population

What’s the population of your city?”

This innocent looking question seemingly becomes one of the most frequently asked question in ‘foreign lands’. And if you are live in the west ask this question to an Indian, well I, being an Indian can guarantee you that situation will become humorously awkward in in a few moments. Why? Two reasons… Firstly, we generally don’t remember the population statistics of our cities. On the contrary I (including my friends) find it weird that people in the west actually remember their city’s population. So the most common answer that you would get any of the facial expressions expressing shock and confusion, a strange look, five seconds of pin-drop silence followed by a hesitant ‘quite large’. And I am telling you, he is being modest. Secondly if you meet an exceptional statics-crammer or a person who has faced this situation earlier and learnt from it; well then his answer will most probably blow your mind out. Believe me! Me and my friends have been asked this question many number of times in our short foreign tours and… there have been no exceptions… ‘Shock’ is the only word that can describe the situation of the person who asked the question.

Example required? OK… I am from Kolkata. And the population of Kolkata is… well infinite. No… probably ‘more than infinite’ is a better approximation. You may object to this claim and open up Wikipedia and say that it is ‘ONLY… 14 MILLION’… and then after a gulp, still defend your pride by saying… “Well that’s still not infinite.”

To that I would only say, “What matters is the feeling… Come to Kolkata and you would realise what I mean.” Upon that… it is not the population what matters is the population density. And you CANNOT beat my city on that. People seem to be crammed up in this city. Open up the list of densest cities in the world and you will find 5 out out of the top ten cities to be Indian. What is more surprising is that ALL of these cities are practically in Kolkata. Beat that if you can!

And if you really want to see the population miracle of the city; board the local trains. It would be an astounding experience for the newcomer to realise the various weird angles at which our human bodies can bend when crammed for space. And if you are a young boy; you might very well try hanging out from the doors of a running train. I have tried it (or have been forced to try it) several number of times and trust me… you can never get bored (my parents are not reading the post, right? :P ). And if that was not enough, your self-esteem will surely get a severe blow once you see a vendor with a huge basket on his head moving smoothly through a compartment which you thought could not accommodate a single more soul.

But all of this said, Kolkata is a city of its own kind. The cheapest, the vibrant and the nostalgic. quoting from my earlier post. There is something in the city which always captures your imagination. There is something in the city that it has produced so many greats in the world. There is something in the city that I just want to be a tiny drop in the sea of people… forever…

Through the Aroma of Your Pages


download (2)

Through my brief journey with words, I have realised the immense power they posses. The journey through written words is a journey not only through words said; but through the entire stories that each word hides. Those words take you to a new world. A world where you loose the identity of you, and become the person whose words are being read. To share his sorrows and tears and pain; you share his smiles and joy and pride. A journey though ones work is a journey through oneself. Its an attempt to stand in his shoes and look at the world in a way that he does…

 

Presenting an outcome of one such experience as I become the writer whose blog I have been following since… well a long time. And writing a piece pretending to be her in my own way….

———————————————————————————————–

Dear Diary

An year and counting… and the turmoil doesn’t seem to end. As I flip though your pages, I realise how long it has been. And in this long year and a half, how much has changed and yet remained the same. This city with which I had a love-hate relationship seems to attract and repel more strongly than ever. The desire to get out of the city has transformed into an unknown love in recent times. And now when time has come to say goodbye, the memories seem to cling to me even more. Memories of friends; memories of beaches; memories of giggles and laughter and smiles; memories of silence and tears and cries…

All these four years I thought I lived in this city. But now I seem to realise that somehow this city lives in me. And the day I leave this city forever; it seems the city within me too would depart. The city will leave with its local trains, the city will leave with its winter rains; the city will leave with its sea-shore breeze, the city will leave… silently… probably with ease. And so will the present become my past; and will stay in my heart till the memories last.

And you know what? As I leave this known, beloved past; I delve into the an unknown future. Changes are always like that I guess. But changes were never so hard… you know. May be it is a treasure of joys, but as of now, it seems uncertain. Fear… yes fear surrounds me as I jump across the trench. What if I fall?

But again… I can’t stay here. Agreed the city gave me friends, stature and identity; But how can I forget that this city… this city of past, snatched away me from myself. He, who was my soul mate, my love has been captured by the city to be a part of past. The more I stay in this sea of memories the deeper shall I drown, it is hence the time I jump off and leave the town…

Oh I hate you, you diary… I envy you so much. You weaken me… Who says you are a true friend? You are evil… Every time I flip through your pages, I find myself trapped in memories. Memories sweet and sour, experiences good and bad… And you know what the problem is? You don’t help. You just show the memories… And then what happens? The moments of pains and tears are re-lived; and the moments of joys and smiles are missed. How the hell does it help?

Thousands of words remain unsaid. Probably I shall share some other day. But I know dear diary, you know them already… After all you are the witness of my past. And each part of me is trapped within the aroma of your pages.

Having Lost My Powers… I Write


nostalgia

There was a time… There was a time when world around was simpler and more beautiful. Unfortunately, it seems that the world has changed while remaining static. There was a time when I was in Kindergarten and cried the hell out during an exam just because I just ‘didn’t feel like’ writing the exam. I forced the teachers to call my mother (our home was a two minutes walk away). As she stood outside the class, I forced her to come inside in the exam time, held her hand tight and said…

Haan… Likhiye… Likhiye na… Main bol raha hoon, aap likhiye… (Ya… Write… Write no… Write as I say)”

Tum likho na… Exam hai… main kaise likhoongi? (You write… It’s an exam dear… I am not supposed to write in the exam)”

Uff!! Mera haath dard kar raha hai… Aap likhiye… Likhiye… A… P… P… L… E… Likhiye na… Dekh kya rahe hain? (Uff! My hands are aching… You write… Write… A… P… P… L… E… Write no… Why are you looking at me?)”

Those were some moments that shall be cherished forever. Once I declared that elephant is a bird… Well not my fault… An animated cartoon series showed a flying elephant… and as we all know… ‘Anything that flies is a bird’ and so elephant – which flew – was a bird… Simple! :)

Another instance which I remember was when our school teachers gave us homework to ‘write all the English alphabets five times each without looking (bina dekhe)‘. Now the ‘without looking’ meant not to turn overleaf where the alphabets were already written (as classwork) and write them out of memory. But being a very ‘obedient’ kid in the class, I took the words ‘without looking’ literally and there you go… I sit on my bed, with my eyes towards the ceiling, probably closed, trying to write the English alphabets five times each in my ‘four-lined note book’ (I hope you remember them… Don’t you?)

And today in my hostel room, I recall those memories. Golden days. Days which define a natural, carefree, unrestricted life. One in which words like personal, private, ego, deceit and dishonesty don’t crop up. There was nothing to hide back then. When happy, we would laugh our hearts out, when sad we would cry as if hell has broken loose, and when angry we would swear never to talk to that person again at his face.

Those were the days… Today when happy, we no longer laugh, we are grown-ups, we smile; when sad, we no longer cry aloud, we are grown-ups, we sob silently inside a pillow; and when angry at someone, we no longer shout off at his face, we are grown-ups, we remain silent, let the anger grow and ultimately seek revenge.

Oh we do a lot more as grown-ups. We start having our personal lives (oh god… I hate this word so badly). We make a point not to intrude into ones personal space (you see, the same thing has two names) and get outraged if someone breaches our privacy (now it has three names).

But yet in this grown-up world we try to preserve our childhood via friends. Well my definition of friends is a very strict one… Friends… a group of people where ‘good morning’ or any general salutation is replaced by… well… you know what. A group of people who fight so hard that they forget that they are friends. A group of people who care about each other in ways unspeakable, who share joys in ways indescribable, who share tears in ways inaudible.

I have always been extremely selective about friends. But yes, I do make friends, the real good friends. But sometimes… just sometimes big words like ‘personal space’, ‘personal life’, ‘privacy’ seem to mist the transparent air around. Those times, I seem to loose my childhood, I seem to loose my power to make friends – real friends; and in those times I write…

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