Tuesday, March 8, 2016

An enemy named life

Life can be very cruel at times. 
You won't even get a chance to review everything.
What happened and when. 
Within a blink, things will change, leaving you frustrated about your choices. 
There will be no straight answer. 
There will be no one to hold on to.
If that happens to you, it's perfectly alright. 
Keep walking. 
Keep trying. 
Keep breathing.
You never know what's in store for you unless you take that final step. 
We should never let our situation get the better of us.
No matter what conspired. 
We should stay positive no matter what takes place.
Or didn't. 
The moment we begin to pity ourselves,
The moment we begin to turn negative,
The moment we begin to give up,
Life wins.
And we can't let that happen!

Blinded by tears

I woke up to a heavy cry and found my brother distraught. On enquiry, it became known that he had deleted a file on his laptop by mistake. A file he had taken more than a day to complete and without any backup in place. The worst part was he was to deliver a paper based on this file a day later. His grief was palpable. The redness of his face and eyes was justified. What wasn't justified was the stress he was under at that time. I tried to console him by saying that it's OK although i knew it wasn't. Especially for a guy from the world of academics whose world is occupied by research, research and more research. Tears were escaping his eyes by the time i got up and gauged the situation. I calmly asked him to keep looking in all the folders. He might have saved a copy somewhere. At least that's what i hoped for. After a good 10 minutes of frantic search, he found a copy in the Downloads folders. The relief on his face is best left undescribed. If there is one thing i can take away from this episode, it's how our misery often doesn't let us look at the solution. That's the power of grief. Like a Black Hole, it sucks us in and destroys our common sense. We are so panicky that we never get to check the Downloads folder. In case if you're wondering how the file got there, i'd say in the same way he ended up deleting the entire file by mistake.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Case study: Biswa

We've effectively penetrated March and if there's one thing that i miss about 2015, it has to be Biswa Kalyan Rath's YouTube videos. He used to post one every mid-week last year. Not anymore. I guess he has moved on to greater things in life, especially when we all know that humour is the greatest thing ever. Anyway, there is a fledging rise of stand-up comedians in our country. Particularly those who can hold their forte in English. Yes, yes, those dropping in a few BCs and MCs and end up getting the maximum laughs for the same. Do gaali, chaar taali indeed. And that's exactly what sets Biswa apart. He doesn't have to depend on any formulae. His flow of comedy is unpredictable. The topics he picks and words he use are in tune with the aam janta. The most admirable bit about him is his personality on stage. He is not at all trying to be cool. The air of superiority is blatantly missing. Which is why his regular posture—standing straight with shoulders slightly pushed back and one palm usually touching his chest—doesn't threaten the audience. On the other hand, his mannerism engages you. His mundane observations about pomegranate and banana and Oriya and extroverts make you want to hi-five him instead of his face. Which isn't the case with most stand-up comics who automatically assume that they are smarter than the crowd. I'm pretty sure Biswa's masterpiece is yet to come and maybe that's why he isn't posting anything. 

PS. In related news, i'm waiting broooooooooo....


Now that a bazillion Internet memes have subsided and a thousand lame jokes have died a natural death, i think it's the appropriate time to appreciate Leonardo DiCaprio's debut Oscar win. For someone who'd spent his entire life in front of the camera, that golden baldie must mean a lot to him. He was 19 when he earned his first nod back in 1993 for What's Eating Gilbert Grape (notice how the title didn't have a question mark; maybe because the film was an answer). Martin Scorsese watched this film even before the nominations were announced and noticed the young talent. They bumped into each other later and according to a story, the legendary filmmaker patted DiCaprio's back asking him to keep up the good work. They were to team up within a decade for Gangs of New York (2002) and have been teaming up again and again since. In this bargain, both of them ended up making brilliant films. Out of DiCaprio's five nominations for Best Actor, two came from Scorsese's films. Which makes you wonder whether 23 years is a really long wait. After all, Al Pacino bagged his first Oscar (and so far his last) on his seventh nomination. He hasn't been nominated in over two decades now. And that's also where my worry for DiCaprio lies. Once you've got the baby, will you continue to strive for perfection? Ennio Morricone would be excused because he's 87 and the music composer finally won his first Oscar this year after scoring 500 film credits and six nominations. DiCaprio, at 41, can't afford to be excused. 

And for what?

Career is a bullshit word. Yes, that's what it is. A term coined by those who want to keep you in line. so that you don't stray and create a jam on the ladder. The rules are already in place and you don't have a say in any of them. You follow the order. You're part of a rat race to prove your salt whether you like it or not. Every time you stumble upon a phase where you're asking yourself "what the fuck am i doing with my life?" a voice will console you with the C-word. The bigger question is, what's the point of a struggle where a major part of your life turned miserable? You didn't sleep well and were always under stress. You thrived on junk food and sugarcoated water, neglecting the purer joys of life. And for what? Financial security so that you could practice the greatest religion of all time: Consumerism? By the time we find the answers, we'll be dealing with two C-words. 

Far and white

The other day, i mentioned to someone that a person's success shouldn't be measured by the number of zeroes in their salaries but the number of countries they've been to. Although the logic might be skewed here, my point was, what's the use of making money—considering it the SI unit of success nowadays—when you're stuck in one city for ages? My parents, throughout their lives, have shuttled between two states. Maharashtra and Karnataka. Between Mumbai and Manipal. That's all. They haven't been to any other place and they aren't to be blamed either. Both their sons' lack of success and inconsiderate attitude are the culprit. Speaking for myself, i've been to two international cities. Bangkok (Thailand) for intellectual masturbation as i was invited to a conference on freedom of speech on Internet and Tissamaharama (Sri Lanka) to report on the largest ever Bollywood film set (Bombay Velvet) outside of India. Compare these feats to two of my colleagues. One's an American of Dutch origin and has stayed in over 20 countries so far. And another is a Kiwi of Ukrainian descent with residency in over 10 countries. They didn't visit these countries as tourists but stayed there for months and in some cases, years, for different reasons. That alone makes them a global citizen, not just a traveler. 

Inside out

They say you should love yourself more. Respect yourself more. See yourself in the brighter light more. Be confident and such. Why so? So that you don't get swallowed by the ocean of self-pity and loathing. Fair enough. But what they often forget to mention is the limit. Or for how long are we supposed to do that? The way i look at things today, the problem isn't our lack of love for ourselves but for others. We love ourselves more than enough. And this applies not just to the ones who take solace in the fact that mirrors exist. It has nothing to do with narcissism. The mere fact that we are able to forgive ourselves for the millions of mistakes that we commit while even one error from others rile us up is a sign of misplaced priority. If you ask me, we can find in others what we aren't able to find in ourselves. Love, included.