Empty Vessels are filled with Ghosts

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.

There are ghosts all around. One ghost which frequents me is the one that says, “What will people think of you?” as in, “Hey, you are going to eat with your hands?? Oh, the typical Indian that you are! What will people think of you? They will be grossed out and think that you lack the basic table manners!” Yeah, right! Talk of table manners when you are dining in India among a group of 200 people.

Oh, there are other ghosts too. Like this one, which appears every once in a while and says, “Do you really wanna do that now?” as in, “Oh, your boss has asked you to fill out a report about this year’s metrics on procrastination index of employees? Do you really wanna do that now? Come on, it is midday, you just had lunch and it is a perrrfect time for a siesta!” How can ever deny that!

There is another one. It is the law of induction ghost. “If p(x) is true for all x that you have see so far, then p(you) is true too!” This one is inherited from the typical Indian in me. “Oh, Mr. Sharma’s son studied in College ABC and he got placed in company XYZ!! What a lucky man! Son settled and all! Now, my Son will also study in College ABC. He is also a bright student. He’ll also crack it into companies like XYZ, without. any. problem!!”

Mr. Italo Calvino could not have been truer about the line that he said above. The more of the world we see, the more stereotypical we are becoming, and that breeds a lot of ghosts.

Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

See, what and all happens!

… by the looks of it, we’re gonna die, sooner or later, but surer than we think we would, and despite being aware of the bounds that are constantly present in our lives, there is a lot of clamour in our heads by thoughts that mostly don’t matter, surrounding the things that we don’t have in our lives, favoring the people that we would rather not be talking to, spending time that makes us feel dumber by the minute, and still hanging on to the clamour as if that is the single most important entity giving us a sense of existence, importance and purpose, which rather puts me on the verge of losing my sanity, while I am transitioning from a world of colour, interest, enthusiasm and fascination into a world where all things appear mediocre, all colours being shades of grey, black, white or blue, fascination and enthusiasm simply being two of the sarcastic words hurled at you by people who are driven by an apparent cloud in their minds that they are leading a life worthy of example, yet subjecting themselves to clandestine self-deception by the blurring boundaries between people, getting interlaced with their prejudices, their opinions about other people, relationships, friend circles, social strata, clout, wealth, attitude and many other vices that desist the natural affinity, or its anti thereof, that people should have developed as second nature. I sense a world that is getting closer coldly inside the circles of walls of a socialisation myth and enjoying the essence of a person only as a short, distant flutter in the unbeknownst plains of mental fabric, as opposed to a blazing sense of warmth that just happens when you let your thoughts reach out to a person and feel the enormity of his/her being, the nuances of their movements, the subtlties of their behavior and the complexity of their personalities forming an impeccable sketch of an entity representing a more accurate virtual persona than t person artificially tends to portray himself as, more so, like watching an idea taking shape, like a design of, say, a car, forming in your head: the lines, contours, bends, curves, grills and stuff that give u a vision of the car, driving you to put it into action and see it taking shape, consistent with what you visualised, with what you committed to the CAD software, finally taking shape and presented to you as a representation of a part of your being, translated into reality. Its like you have moulded a part of your brain, poured your soul into it, and felt like a true creator. Bah! I’m sounding like Steve Jobs now. But people like him are required once in a while for other people to notice that the World needed much more than a Blackberry, and thanks to him, I’m able to enjoy fantastic designs and interfaces on my Android phone. After all, he pioneered a movement, a phenomenon, that would rapidly self sustain and foster its own development, either by innovation, inspiration, replication, or even castigation. It all follows the rules of Nature, where species learn to exist and co-exist by looking at other species and learning a trick or two about predation, defence, food gathering and essentially, survival. Thankfully those methods were not patented, lest humankind would have had to literally pay with our skins for eating other animals and learning it from the wild beasts that marked the precursor to our existence. I sometimes wonder how we would have survived had we not done that then, while my parents admonish me for being a non-vegetarian now! Their concern reaches no known corners of my intricate mind even as I try to reason with them that I’m neither eating pseudo-chicken from KFC nor a chicken like pattice from McD. Even though these brands don’t contribute to my diet directly, I do revel in the wafts of aroma emanating from such outlets which will make me go in search of a place that offers greater, more aromatic, healthy food that quenches my never ending desire to pamper my taste buds to the extent of propelling me to an elevated sense of mind, seconding only the orgasmic joy that a goddess blesses you with for the amount of affection that you serve as an offerring to the Love that you share. Bonds such as those are hard to come by and harder still to get over if severed. The gravity of such a realization dawned when it happened to me and I hope that it’d be the last time I face any such thing, unlike in the story of a Cro-magnon who managed to live to present day, suffering many such heart-breaks and managing to forget quite a few, while he just existed as the oblivious World aged, as an observer who brings with him a window to the period of pre-historic man, the first civilizations, spiritual superlings such as the Buddha and events in World History that changed the path of mankind for good, bringing to us a speculative perspective of a halo surrounding a man hailed as the Son of God. Frankly, if we were all created by one God as is popular belief, why only that Son is special then? Everybody else are bastards then aa? What will be enough to stop us all in our tracks and take a relook into our lives and check if we dont suck at living, instead of clinging on to what Sons of Gods are telling? If you cared enough to look at it simply, they are also telling this only, “Oh dear sons and daughters of my divine father, lead your lives well and don’t suck at it!” Ayyo, like one fish market, so much of cow dung comes to our heads like ‘my god is this’, ‘your god is that’, ‘my this’, ‘my that’, ‘my brother’s this’, ‘my friend’s that’, and all, and we lock it inside as if some one will come and steal off the warm aroma. You want such aroma means, work as a garbage collector in Bangalore city. Very good business now, I say. Some garbage heaps will scare even a rag picker to run away from 1 kilometer also. You simply go and take money from people to collect it and throw in other place, instead of garbagi-fy-ing your head. Good idea no? But if such a thing is already there, I fear that this is also a Mafiaed business like begging, havala, and trafficking. So much pain in our minds, lives and society, and as if that was not enough, these sons of bitches come off to keep theirs also in this glory hole. Besides, these kinds of shit are so well-networked that it will put a technocrat like me to shame because people like me are working as if our lives depend on it, on networks which are striving to be as painlessly seamless as possible, all the while discarding old technologies that were hailed as life-savers in their Yay!-days, creating devices that vie for a customer’s heart, mind and soul, so that they will buy them, love them and expose themselves to the device more than they would, to their lovers, while these devices constantly play sneek-peek with the user’s info such as where he goes, what he eats, whom he sleeps with and what his dog’s poop smells like, and effectively helping some fourteenth party company to tailor ads for his special needs, ads that appear more like wannabe sluts who want to sell themselves because they can’t get sold if they din’t shove up their cleavage into the faces of gaping perverts. Traditional ad banners are lot better that way, in the sense that they are atleast restricted by the proportional cost of real-estate that they occupy and the short duration of a person’s attention that they enjoy, much like the interval that a human being gets to live as compared to the scale of the Universe, often touted as only a few milliseconds in the scale of a day, and yet living every moment of life desperately submerging themselves in one quest after another, seemingly oblivious to the timer ticking behind their backs. If you get to know a person and manage to figure out the quest he is on, and try to extrapolate it on a global scale, visualizing it as teeny weenie sparks of light from fireflies traversing a void and forming intricate patterns, some glimmering more than others, some swaying more than the others, some losing out in between, some showing the way, some attracting others, some simply lingering and revelling and immersing me in a delusion that transforms the immensity of such sparks as stars in the infinite sky, filling joy and wonder, and reminding me of my childhood self singing the nursery rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the World so high, Like a diamond on Aishwarya Rai”. No, that wasn’t the Rhyme I learnt, but diamonds and Aish were analogous for most time in my childhood, thanks to Nakshatra ads, and despite my reservations about her beauty, she remains the mascot of diamonds for me. The tag-line for the ad goes : “Diamonds are forever”, but seems like this post can’t be (sigh!) just like we can’t be too, and be it either on our own individual expiry dates or the widely proclaimed doomsday that the Mayans thought would occur in 2012, by the looks of it, we’re gonna die, sooner or later, but surer than we think we would…

Selling it with Sex

A woman is depressed because her body fairness is not matching the color of her face. A few moments later, she appears to have won a tennis match and guess what is focused? Her body is as fair as her face. So, when did fairer arms and shoulders start winning matches!

A bunch of women, and female counterparts of some alien race descend on the Earth and break into a skinny guy’s room just because he used an extra-strong variant of a popular deodorant. If the deodorant plays a great pimp to supply women to its users, I think it should come with a string attached that the supply of jaw-droopingly-smoking-hot women is limited. How otherwise is it possible that not even a female mosquito came buzzing into my room when I used it?

A South Indian actor is making a fool of himself when he keeps falling for women who always have two things in common : they have a girl child and they use the same brand of soap. Oh yes, the girl child stood first in her class again.

A house maid is on fire as soon as she smells a man. Err, it’s not the odor of the man really. It’s just another deodorant brand which just happens to be modest with the quantity “supplied”.

There is this brand of mango-pulp that has sold since a long time. In comes an actress to be the selling face of this drink. She simply savors the taste of the drink, but she makes it look so sensuous that I thought that she was going through phenomenal hormonal trickery which is known to happen only during intense love-making sessions. Bah! so much ado over mango pulp.

Now, the icing on the cake. No Bollywood movie seems to be complete without an “item” number. So, who are being projected as “items”?

These are subtle, micro doses of delusions that are sprinkled generously across popular media. Each of it isn’t a serious threat to bar it as obscene, yet collectively, they deeply embed a dormant stimulus into a person’s psyche.

And that is a bad thing.

Inglorious Bastards!

It was a nice weekend. I was waking up to the slowly creeping cold and retreating into the warm comfort of my blanket. I could hear my dad discussing the morning news with my mom and brother. Something sensational seemed to have happened. I could grasp the patience in my dad’s explanation and the fiery excitement in my mom’s exclamation. This combination was intriguing enough to wake me up fully from my slumber and entice me to partake in this pep talk.

What was the news? Its the latest in the series of never ending money laundering scams that have been plaguing the Indians. Accompanied by my imagination of countless middle class households despising the scamsters and secretly hoping to make at least a fraction of the ‘mis’ fortune within their lifetime; also realizing that they’ve been lame ducks, hating the Reddy brothers for their audacity to pull off such a huge con. The epic bastards!

Scams apart, I feel we’ve become a playground full of ready targets for a bunch of sadists. Apparently, it is very easy for a lunatic asshole to plant a bomb and hold the country for a ransom. If we are not sure when calamity could strike, we really cannot do much but be at nature’s mercy. If we are not sure when an atrocity strikes, what can we do? We just see it with widened eyes, gasp in horror, partly relieved that we weren’t there. As an icing to this bloody cake, we decorate the post mortem of such attacks with phoney phrases like the spirit of Mumbai and the resilience of people. Bringing the bastards to the gallows is considered inhuman. Instead, we gift them a fair trial as a mark of hospitality and let them go scot free at the cost of lost lives and broken families.

I fail to gather words to express the calamuitous frustration that has built up in me. What should I bear? A few lakh crores of money going into the pockets of looters disguised as politicians and bureaucrats? Be a silent spectator to ruthless massacre thrown at our faces every now and then? Ever increasing prices of petrol cascading into an avalanche rise in the cost of all other commodities? Traveling through pathetic roads amid choking traffic on a rainy evening wondering if I’ll be sane enough by the time it is over? Being a middle class indian, most important matter to me is to be peaceful with what I’ve. Is it possible?

Figure this. An auto rickshaw driver had the nerve to look me in the eye and ask for 300 bucks for a ride that would normally cost me 100. So is he in line to compete with Mr. Burglar Reddy, albeit on a smaller and unnoticeable scale? I just couldn’t resist my anger this time and he got what he deserved. One insult per 100 bucks he demanded. The local bastard!

If all this is on a domestic level, its impossible NOT to wonder and doubt, what would be the maximum extent to which India can grow as a country in the international scale. One visit to any country with able people will undermine the confidence that we too can be a developed nation someday, despite possessing able minds comparable to those in any part of the world. We’re a population whose magnitude neither reflects the aptitude we need to achieve, nor the attitude we need to possess. The altitude we should scale is STILL a farcry to fathom!

How can we hope to achieve something that we want when it is not easy to just do what we should, with these hurdles hurled at us everyday?

To Ms. Arundhati Roy

(ref : I’d Rather not be Anna – by Arundhati Roy, 21’st August 2011, The Hindu)

Ms Arundhati Roy,

The Jan Lokpal Bill is intended to act as a medicine against the prevalent corruption in our country. As with medicines, the effect is sure to come, albeit slowly. Trillions of rupees lost through scams and misappropriation will be made accountable and could be used to tackle the “side effects” of corruption.

The bill is attacking the root of all other problems. The examples that you have stated, and those similar in nature and stature to it, are but minions of the greater problem of corruption. I am sure that their fate will be sealed appropriately with a credible rule book in place.

On another note, any action towards a solution is better than nation-wide apathy, which was used as a veil by the corrupt to wreck havoc thus far. If not the “strong bill” as is, atleast a bill that could clip the wings of the feeders of the corrupt will result in long run stabilization.

Quiscest Custodes Custodian?

The Jan Lokpal Bill will.

Kindly prove me wrong if it cannot.