9. fear. i have always feared it the most. for it weakens the mind and body alike. as a boy, i always had the fear of being beaten up. and i have been beaten up. speaking out one’s mind isn’t a crime, but it certainly can get offensive. subjective as it might be, my notion of the truth usually isn’t the sweetest of things to hear. and so i have gotten myself into trouble quite a few times, and continue to do so.
there is also the fear of death, not necessarily my own, but of loved ones. and then a few years ago, i decided to go on a sabbatical. i stayed in an ashram. and the first satsang i attended, the first thing i heard was this monk saying one must overcome one’s fears. i wouldn’t say i have been all that successful, but yes, there certainly has been progress on that front.
the one thing though that sometimes scares me more than anything else, is my recklessness.
8. i can’t remember for nuts. this works for both long term and short term memories. at work, i have started carrying a pocket notebook so as to save myself from the embarrassing moments when the boss has had to remind me, repeatedly, of this task or that. it is ridiculous at times, when my phone has so many reminders that i actually find it hard to differentiate one from the other. or this once, when i made a reminder for a reminder, and actually had to loop back to figure it all out!
it can get funny. like recently, when i got together with this friend from college. he was talking about some of the ‘unforgettable’ incidents and all, and i was fascinated with the way he would recall every single detail. and i was sitting there, wondering if it was another life.
7. who am i?
what is my purpose?
where am i supposed to be going?
is this world real? is it any different from how i perceive it to be?
these are some of the questions that we all probably ask ourselves as some point of time in our lives. fortunately or unfortunately for me, i started asking them quite early. and i have ever since been on the most fascinating quest of my life. i may search all life, and end up knowing, in my dying days, that i still don’t have the answers. but i shall also know that i did look around, consciously so, and would rest with the contentment of having enjoyed the process.
6. ‘you are not to bathe, or try and swim.’
‘you are not to go on your bicycle. it is far out, and there will be traffic and you kids better use public transport.’
those were the only two injunctions i had received, when i had requested that i wanted to visit the seaside with friends of mine. this was when i was a little boy, probably 12 years old. i had promised to listen, and only on those terms was permission granted.
the rest of the boys would of course, be riding their own bicycles. i didn’t want to be perceived as some sissy (i was one, in many ways!), and so i took mine too. rule number one broken.
and then, at the beach, one by one, all the little boys start stripping, and enjoy jumping into the water. the foamy waters of the bay of bengal, glistening in the hot afternoon sun, looked tempting. and as if that was not enough, the other guys started inviting me to join them. second rule broken.
at the end of all the rollicking, when we got back to our bikes where they were parked, somebody figured one was missing. mine. stolen. what i went through after that, running from pillair to post to police station, was one of the most harrowing moments of my life. and in the evening, i confessed. not that they needed a confession. i had gone to the sea, apparently NOT on my bike, but the bike was missing. i had lied. and it was then that in the guilt, i had promised my father not to lie ever again. and to the best of my knowledge, i have kept that promise.
5. if i were asked what my greatest blessing was, i’d have a tough time figuring out. i am blessed, in that i have learned the art of looking at life itself as a blessing. indeed, for i have had it easy in more ways than one can possibly imagine.
and yet, i can not but help recognizing their presence, their role in shaping my life thus far. for only i know what i have myself been – through my early childhood, boyhood, later during my adolescent years, why even now. i have been a difficult kid, to say the least, and am still continuing to be so. i could have very easily been disowned, and i’d have well deserved it. in that sense, they have undoubtedly been God’s greatest blessing.
4. i can’t make out much of the arts. to put it simply, i don’t appreciate them much. maybe i need to grow up. i’d prefer to read an essay any day, to poetry. it probably has to do with the way my brain works. or more specifically, how i communicate. i like to be clear about whats going on. when it blurs, i shut off. its a limitation, not being able to appreciate abstraction. arts like painting and sculpting – they simply don’t make any sense to me. call me stupid. or tasteless. or just plain unevolved. for i do believe that the arts, in some way, represent the pinnacles of evolution of the human mind.
3. i don’t understand them. i don’t consider myself particularly stupid. i do make an attempt, and yet, i have always failed miserably. i am not talking about the esoteric questions that i had earlier mentioned.
‘you will never understand me’, is a statement that i have heard so often it sounds cliched to me. why people think the way they do, is the million dollar question. of course, everbody has a mind, i know. but somewhere at the deeper level, aren’t our minds all connected? and if they are, as i am inclined to believe them to be, then should we not also have a sort of common understanding? a common way of thinking seems like a logical impossibility, considering the infinite possibilities of the mind. and thankfully so, for that would make this a boring place to be. but why i fail at understanding people, or atleast convincing them that they are understood, i fail to understand.
and this has only brought me, as it has to others, a lot of bitterness. that brings me to another question. why are we all so desperate to be understood? a post on that, may be. some other time. after a drink or two.
2. you’d be surprised by my behaviour. we would have had a big quarrel, i would, in all probability have told you the nastiest things one can imagine. i don’t think before i talk, my tongue is caustic. i can say the most horribly hurtful things to you.
and yet, it wouldn’t be a few minutes, and i’ll come and apologise to you, give you a hug, and behave as though nothing ever happened. in all probability, you will not know how to react. if you know me well enough, you’d probably think my apologies are a waste, because i am sure you’d have been bored listening to it. you’ll even wonder how the hell i can pretend so well, but you wouldn’t know that i am not pretending. its just my nature. i might fight with you on an issue, but i shall not hold it against you. i can’t, thats all. unless you do, in which case, i’ll let go, and believe me, nothing comes easier to me.
1. someday, i’ll kill. i believe in justice more than mercy. whose justice, i ask myself. but then there must be an end to asking questions. for it is always possible to keep asking ‘why’, and not arrive at an aswer, ever.
like these terrorists. its difficult, i know. they have an ideology too. but my ideology does not permit killing civilians. i have always wanted to be a soldier. war is alright. there is a war field. there are clearly laid out rules (i know i am kidding myself, and that it isn’t all that simplistic any more). and so i really want to kill one of those bad guys. maybe i’d do it sometime. i hope i could. like pump a bullet into his head, point blank. it would be an easy death, considering the amount of pain he would have given so many families all his miserable life.
one man less wouldn’t make this world all that bad a place to be in. in fact, it’ll make it two men less – him and me.
he is one of the finest bloggers i have had the good fortune to bump into, in this big wide world. and i had the privilege of being tagged by him, that was ages back. to be honest, this hasn’t been easy. for me though, an instrospective tag as this one, is always a good thing to do. and for that, i can only be grateful.
The tag is to say nine things about myself one of which is a lie. Can you spot the one which is not true? (Adding one more rule here, tell us what the lie was, when you next post)
i don’t usually tag people, but am tempted to go by the taggers ways of ‘not confining tags to the empty confines of cyberspace’.
miss iyer is someone who comes by and reminds me to post my bummy ways, and i see she hasn’t been posting, so will she take it up?
phish is a new found friend who has got a style of his own, and i’d be interested to know more.
deepti has this blog that can’t get more candid about life. could we have more of your shockers, please?
the mysterious novel is yet another of my favourites. she’d probably find this too mundane, but what the hell?
heck actually, i feel like tagging all you folks i read. will you take it up, please? it is fun, believe me.