Sounds of Life

Rattling roofs, splashing water,

Croaking frogs, crickety crickets,

Buzzing phone, whirling ceiling fan,

Distant news reader, chirping birds,

Clacking keyboard, snoozing reminders,

Random voices, deluging conferences,

Humming notifications, pouring raindrops,

Creaking chair, and a fading music.

Alone with You

The breezy walkway that leads up to you,

The fine grains of sand that crumble under my feet,

The stone-laid pavement that’s still warm from the afternoon Sun,

And the shimmering light that beckons me to your door.

Those are my memories of a past with you,

The days of love and the days of despair,

The days when I rush to you for a word of solace,

When all you’d do is the incessant smile,

Without a blink, without a thought, without a word.

I look around for the cues you leave,

The silent chat and the momentary pause,

And in a quick swirl, I turn around,

Walk away like I wouldn’t return,

But between you and me, I never leave.

When the crowd is gone and the sky is dark,

It’s just you and me, over and again.

From the darkest of the night,

To the brightest of the Sun,

It’s just you and me, over and again.

Lessons in Forgetting

Kavitha kurikkuvan kaminiyayi, omanikkan ente makalayi,

Valsalyamekuvan ammayayi, nervazhikattunna thozhiyayi,

Pinneyen jeevante spandanam polum nin

Swararaga layabhava thalamayi. Arinjathalle nee arinjathalle…

Ninakkai… Aadyamai… Ormakkai.. . iniyoru sneha geetham!

I was probably 10-12 years old when East Coast Vijayan released his music album series – Ninakkai, Aadyamai, Ormakkai, Swantham (For you, For the first time, For remembrance, Yours truly). Music albums had only started being a ‘thing’ then, atleast in Malayalam. Despite how long it has been, I find myself humming these lines quite randomly even today. The image of the hero and heroine of the album and their poetic love have made a very deep memory in my mind. Though I’ve relished many other romantic poems and versatile lyricists, East Coast Vijayan and his trio series pop out of nowhere every time. Being the first has such lasting impressions. It is just not about music for me. I seem to remember an unnecessary load of things from the past that I just can’t get rid of. I remember my first (and only) dentist, first hospitalisation, first time of hearing about someone’s death, first burn, first conversation with my longest standing friend (it has been 24 years), first news of heartbreak (I very clearly remember how my mom broke the news to me – that I won’t be the only apple of their eyes – that’s 20 years again). Just too many of first time memories – all well before I was 10 or 12. There’s nothing really wrong about remembering things. I remember the good and the bad equally – from random conversations to life altering moments. But I wish a part of it just fades away. I don’t want to feel the pang of nostalgia every time I hear a music, see a person, be at a place or notice the date. Ah dates – don’t even get me started! You remember your birthday. Family’s. Friends’. Significant other’s. Some anniversaries. Some deaths. Maybe some more. Do you remember the birthday of a colleague you worked with barely for a year? Do you remember the anniversary of your distant cousin? Death anniversary of a relative you never really knew? Naming ceremony of your neice? Birthdays of classmates whose faces you’ve forgotten? Well, I do. And that is such a painful experience. You remember it’s special for someone today, but you don’t even care about it sometimes. It is an ugly reminder of some memories from the past and some people you’ve lost on the way. It’s just a memory of your memories.

By no means does this mean that I’ve a stellar memory. I forget routine stuff like a normal person. I can’t find a book I read and cherished just a year ago. I misplaced the title ‘Lessons in Forgetting’ by Anita Nair and it’s frustrating!

No News

Around a century before, on an April 18th, there was no news to publish and the media just played music. That’s what Uber Facts told me. Not sure if that’s true, but I wish it were. What a blissful day na! Like today, so blank, so routine, so normal. Just another day filled with no thoughts but plain moribund existence. So yes, it is a no blog day.

*Slow Doordarshan music playing in the background *

No Comments

How do you use your social media? Do you regret using it too much? Do you feel like you aren’t using it enough? I am not sure if these are thoughts everyone would relate to. People don’t deeply think about their social media usage patterns. Duh, that’s such a pointless exercise! But then, there could be a select few like me who just can’t stop overthinking. Lately, I’ve been analysing how I use this medium. Well, I’m not particularly bothered by the extent of usage because I’m on very select platforms only. What got me thinking was the abundance of content around me. I’m fairly active on Twitter, but there is no mention about any political affiliation, any social issue or any other ‘trending’ discussions in my profile. It is a quite space for myself, where I share my musings, my tiny random thoughts and follow things that are of importance to me. Not ‘tweeting’ about something doesn’t mean I’m in support of it, or I’m against it, or worst yet, that I’m ignorant about it. By ‘I’, I mean a tiny set of people who don’t comment about every single thing around us, but still live a full social life. There’s this one particular Twitter handle I’ve been following for some years. It was a contact through a Tech conference and I see regular updates from that person on tech alone. And once in a while about personal life, but never about the ‘alarming’ social issues. That has been my happiest part of the Twitter feed ever since. It feels good to have fresh thoughts to relish, breaking the monotony. I am not very vocal about my political opinions generally. It is not because I don’t have a stand, but because enough and more being discussed already. The deluge of opinions and comments about everything under the Sun (of course, above it too) – it is causing a rampage in the cyber space. Each one of us have our rights to express, I agree. But do we have to execute it as a duty shoved onto us? Too many are speaking, yet too less is heard. Listening is so underrated after all.

Monotony

As I close my eyes today,

One more night steps in,

And one more day fades away.

As I let the darkness crawl on me,

One other memory hangs in there,

Eating a part of my soul, a part of myself.

As I struggle to die a short death,

One after the other, my eyes wake up,

Imagine and weave stories of horror.

As I lie there, the rooms close in,

One more nail on the coffin of my sleep,

Once again I welcome the drowsy Sun.

As I embrace the warmth and the shine,

One another time I feel defeated,

Under the spinning wheel, crushed, mauled.

Lackadaisical days

I am tired all the time. When I say tired, I am not tired to go out and buy grocery for the house, or offer a helping hand in the kitchen, or help someone fix something that involves mental or physical strain. But again, I’d do all of these just because someone else wants it of me. I am tired to move a muscle for myself. I am tired when it comes to official responsibilities. I am tired when it’s about working on personal growth. I am tired when it comes to taking one step that can make ‘my’ life better. I am still doing all of these tasks too. I perform well officially, I joined swimming classes, I work on some ‘me’ time – but all of these come with a baggage of an afterthought – do I really have to do this. That part of the question is where I get stuck. I am often lost as to why I am doing something for myself. I just don’t see the point at times. I love writing. It feels like some kinda elevated relaxation to me. I feel lighter and heavier at the same time after I scribble something. And that’s one thing I have tried my best to keep up with. You see, I wrote lackadaisical instead of just plain lethargy – voracious reading in the past paid off finally perhaps. I am eager to put in new thoughts every time I think of writing. But over the course of time, I am not sure if I have been fully fair to myself. I just caught myself shuffling through an old diary to see if there’s something I can use for tonight’s blog. Suddenly, I find myself too tired to even write. Why! I am not sure if this the end of a beginning or the beginning of an end. Sure doesn’t look like a phase to me. Too tired to bring this to a logical closing, or too lazy maybe, I give up abruptly again.

Chauvinistic bastards

I am not a feminist, never was, never will be. Because, I don’t believe in discrimination on any basis – gender, age, race, economic status, language, knowledge, power – positively or negatively. Feminism to me is just discrimination on gender to ‘benefit’ out of it. If there’s any ‘-ism’ ever, it must be individualism and I hold that philosophy very closely. But lately, I feel suppressed – emotionally and intellectually. I am a working professional, socially active and emotionally open to new arenas of a social life. And I feel overwhelmed by what I experience each day – at work, on the road, in a discussion forum, a public place and the nuances of simple conversations! I wouldn’t call it out as misogynistic since it’s not always purely on gender, but it greatly does seem so. The biases have been based on age, power and even knowledge. It’s frustrating when you are cornered for being in a ‘discriminated class’. The co-worker who pulls the strings of ‘power’, the reckless driver who questions your ‘female’ driving, the male friend who ‘stares’, the relative who dismisses your ‘inexperienced’ knowledge – no I am not pulling a #metoo moment here. I am asking if this is a #youtoo moment. Have you dismissed a younger person’s wisdom because they aren’t ‘old enough’? Have you played the ‘victim card’ for your own recklessness on the road? Have you made someone uncomfortable by ‘ogling’ at them? Have you been rude to a subordinate because of your ‘entitlement’? Please say no. Please don’t be that person. You are scarring an individual by all those unfortunate moments of truth. Age, gender, power – they don’t make up a person. They are merely some states of a person. Don’t limit an individual’s experience with your inadequacy. Grow. And let grow.

So why does all these matter suddenly? Perhaps because of my fortunate half of life where I have been blessed with unbiased individuals. People who don’t judge you. People who see you for who you are without their baggy lenses. I have had humble bosses who respected their colleagues, dignified men who look up to women for their worth and a great deal of amazing people who make life worth exploring. It’s because of them that I sit down and contemplate on the rest of the world. Why not make a difference with a simple gesture, if it has the potential to make one more person relevant in this system. Why not!

The Civil Service Dream

Well, before you jump into conclusions there, it was not completely my dream. I liked the ‘weight’ of the title and still do. But the effort involved and the profile of a ‘civil servant’ job was not very convincing to me. The civil service dream was my dad’s, and never really mine. I distinctly remember us stepping out of the movie theatre after ‘Thanmathra’ – the emotional story of an Alzheimer’s patient whose entire life’s memory zeroed in on his desire to see his son being an IAS officer. As we stepped out, dad intently asked me if he’d have Alzheimer’s. The rest of the sentence was unsaid. Years later, now when I ask my dad if I’ve ever let him down, he’s quick to say how disappointed he is of my career choices. A dream he saw alone, through borrowed lenses perhaps.


P. S. Recently, talked to a friend about the triviality of our career paths, and alongside, we did talk about a schoolmate who pursued the ‘civil service dream’. Just putting it down here. 🙂

Lost, but gratified

The concept of instant gratification has been doing the rounds for quite some time now. The Facebook & Instagram generation is what instant gratification is popularly associated to. But I think it runs deeper than that. It is not merely about the likes and comments. The realisation that things change quickly around you makes you want to change quicker than that. And the rat race never seizes. Until one reaches the rattrap. Does it even stop then? I’m not very sure. This whole mad race scares me. It feels like the beginning of an impending doom. What a wonderful time to write or think about the end of the world, huh! Now that we are at it, let’s talk a bit about this whole COVID-19 situation we’ve got ourselves into. People are dying every moment and that’s no big news anymore. The death rates are merely numbers now. Hundreds of thousands of lives are now just numbers that the whole world looks up to like a huge board at the stock exchange. Is the trend bullish today- are more people dying again?

We are all helpless. The government, the medical fraternity, the media, you and me – we are all doing our own bit either by fighting this war or staying home responsibly. And all we can do is to simply stare at the numbers. That’s perfectly fine, right until that point. What I find extremely troubling is how we took things beyond that.It was good until we made up our interpretations of this phase of life. At the very beginning, we said this is family time – to reconnect and rekindle relationships. Then we said this the time for exploring our passion – we cooked, we danced, we sang and we did numerous other things which I wouldn’t rather list down. And then we went a step ahead and said this is the time for new certifications and upskilling – because pink slips are soon gonna fly in.

 If you notice, we are continuously in this blind race to keep up with ourselves – and all this while people are still dying and the world is changing with every breath. So what’s wrong with all this really? I’ m not saying it is. I’m part of this race myself and I doubt I’d do it any other way even if all of this were to repeat again. For all its worth, you and I are here for this moment and the gratification it comes with. We may be lost, but we wouldn’t know it ever as long as life goes on. Life’s good as long there’s something gratifying about it. I’d leave you to be the judge of that.