I haven’t written for a while. Primarily because I’m preoccupied. That’s not such a bad thing, except that it squeezes you out of space for yourself at times. This blog is my own space and so I’ve neglected it without as much of a second thought. Just like I neglect other vital things sometimes: like food, sleep and happiness. I don’t regret not having happiness sometimes as much I do food and sleep. A hog’s mind space for example, could be flooded with butter chicken, white sauce and pasta or chocolate and the line between happiness and food would blur into inch thick aromas that waft across the room teasing the olfactory senses.
This place has its own peculiar style… NDTV has started a massive campaign in support of Jessica Lal, while Rajdeep tantalisingly holds the ‘Amar Singh Story’ CD out to CNN-IBN audiences. Then there’s the railway budget and the ironically snide comments about the lowered AC fares being a ‘people popular budget’, as though being ‘people-friendly’ was a crime. The only hint at something equally strange though remarkably positive are the convictions in the Best Bakery case. It is sad though how all the manufactured anger and analysis managed by news channels these days steers clear of the fact that Gujarat 2002 was a pogrom and no less. Contradictions.
Its hot too. Very hot. I know I claim to like sultry climes. I do actually. Sultry– not hot! My favourite vegetable (the ladyfinger) will soon disappear off stands and I will in a couple of months start further academic pursuits at another trouble ridden Indian institution. I ought to be concentrating my efforts on applications to study abroad, but somehow I don’t quite have the heart to any more. Its almost like they speak a different language, a language that I will never learn. I have trouble recognizing their criteria for ‘academic excellence’. I have trouble understanding their warped sense of priority that seems to define the education system to their minds. The trouble, which really is most of my problem– is how a system that churns out the ‘greats’ is incapable of looking unto itself.
What can I say to a scholarship committee that tells me that they don’t think that the “climate for my ‘thesis’ question and research interests is quite right, yet” ? How does one react to “you are only a graduate… we rank people with multiple degrees higher, it really has nothing to do with intelligence” ? At one point I used to feel the burning desire to burn these people up, I saw a point in fighting the system. All that has now been replaced by a cold, watchful understanding. An acceptance perhaps of a divine will, that I am destined in some sense to study, live and die here. That my knowledge of other lands shall remain limited to books and the movies.
This cross posting business, on my WordPress blog and this one is a strange parallel to my life. Almost like another universe. One world is slow and crowded like this blog, popular and nasty at the same time. The other is virgin, fresh and new, yet, inexorably heading to the same future that was once this blog’s past. And I am like the tale, the tale that binds the two. The one who has to keep up all the writing despite the lack of spirit or will, because I do. Why? No answer. I just have to.
There is beauty too. Black skies with millions of stars like the gleaming pin points on the party goer’s complicated hairstyle. The soft wind that whips across the silent gleaming waters grayish, green and now brilliantly blue. Some part of me feels sick and lonesome, like the half finished scroll from the poet’s heart. The first few lines were beautiful, then somewhere half-way the lines became meaningless strings of words, and still they went on because the slender fingers liked the way the quill felt. There was a quiet power to it, raw, un-fashioned and it was the poet’s to shape or to throw away. It was the inspiration that was dwindling. And then it died.
Yes I have a memory. It churns and it worries. It smells faintly of turpentine, of leaves, of a shaken Black Russian followed by Vodka- lime and ice, of the charred end of a Navy Cut and of freshly brewed coffee. It rings of laughter, the singing of a lark, the groaning of a courageous old man, the love of a beautiful woman and the ambition of all that she wanted to be. It speaks of the becoming of a lost little boy, the blood thirsty anger of the band of the red , the spirit of the same little boy who grew up and earns on the street and studies by twilight in the hope of a better tomorrow, and the light of a million dazzling candles that slowly melt their way down to oblivion.
Mine is the night of stories, the quiet rising of that wave of diffidence that finds its way through the mists of time, the vein that carries the imprints of many a day and many a lives. I am alone in this battle. Alone in this joy. Alone. It is a powerful word that– because behind that loneliness is the strength of all those people that I am, have been and will at one time become.