Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Technically Ambivalent

I've grown up in the era of technology, where life is unimaginable without the Big Brother Internet, the ubiquitous cell/smart phones and endless other gadgets and devices that make you wonder, really question, that what you were doing with your life before the tech-epidemic was merely exist. It is only now that you have learnt how to experience anything.

Just like everything else, I don't buy that. Not fully. For me, that question is an answer of both yes and no.

I've owned a cell phone ever since I entered college (under graduate) and customised it to serve my needs. Which it did, very efficiently. I took utmost care of it, being my first phone and all. Its sudden hardware malfunction 18 months later also resulted in a major heart break and I replaced it with a device as like it, as possible. I warmed up to it eventually, but that sense of attachment was a bygone feeling. And I shrugged it off as a sign of growing up. Two years after, I needed a replacement again. But this time, it was not simple need that dictated the decision. There was more.
After saving meagre sums of regular and special allowances for years, it was finally possible for me to invest it in a device of some reckoning. And it seemed a commendable decision to invest that amount in an Apple product, the holy grail of technology and of course, experience. 

Until then, I was strictly opposed to the idea of accessing Internet on the phone. I was just in college and didn't have any deal-breaking or life-changing emails to send or receive and whatever endless information I needed to access could wait until I reached the safe environs of a desktop and home. It seemed too much of a disturber of peace to have one device be something of a be-all and end-all.

Six months later, eight to be precise, I couldn't agree more. The iPhone experience has transformed the way I do things, truly. Some apps, especially one like Evernote, I cannot stop gushing about. Even this very post has been written on Evernote on my iPhone, and that's where I do whatever little writing I have done, in the past few months. And it did help to have Internet on the device when my home Internet was down over the weekend and I had a couple of important emails to send and receive. Also, I must acknowledge that keeping in touch has become easier with the era of Internet-enabled smart phones. However, I vociferously believe that no matter how smart our phones get, and how crazy our lives, texting and calling will be the two most primary uses of a cell phone. We might invent innovative and cost-effective ways of texting and calling, but these conventional means will remain unabated. 

Despite this utility value, I wonder how different (read simple) my life would have been without these services.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I like making lists of things to do- short as well as long term. It helps put things in perspective, helps prioritize and gets me to actually work, rather than just think about them. While some things get done, evoking a really awesome sense of self confidence, others remain static, recurring in successive lists, a blot on your self esteem. It's almost as if that undone task stares at you from list to list, telling you in no uncertain words, that your soul will hang around in limbo if you die with that task undone. And every time that that happens, you motivate yourself, that this time, there's no escaping that task. It's do or die. Now or never. 

Of the many undone things in my lists, learning Adobe Photoshop is one that has been a cause of worry for me in the last few weeks. It would be polite to say that my relationship with this item in my life is complicated, in fact, it is strained. The endless possibilities - to create, to duplicate and to enhance that photoshop offers, are overwhelming. I find it hard to imagine that even the developers know the software, fully and completely. My amateur pursuit of photography further cemented my procrastination because it seemed that photographic ethics and ideals contradicted with the creative freedom offered by this software. Of course that was not, and in fact, cannot be true. It was just a comforting alibi given to the lethargic self.

To make a long story short - I wouldn't make an attempt to learn it when I was free, because its scope was limitless. And nor would I do it when I required the services of the software because urgency drives out necessity and any hints of exertion obliterate wishes of curiosity. Consequently, year after year, this task continued in my to-do list.

However, now more than ever, I realize that this must change. I must make some attempt to get acquainted with Mr. Photoshop. We may never become the best of friends, but it is quintessential to forge a cordial bond, so that His Highness will come to my rescue whenever I need His help. 

Just as I would leave no effort unmade to make a good friend out of a formal acquaintance, similarly I must approach this gentleman and convince him of my sincerity and honesty. Surely, I will be supported and responded to.

If not, the regret of not having tried will be mine.

And to that, amen.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Brink

Substance and dissolution,
Evolution and extinction,
Consciousness and nothingness,
Origin and evanescence.

Whence we come?
Where then, do we go?

The years, marked; the countless bonds, forged;
The exchange, everlasting.

Thoughts, words, actions;
Inanimate objects and places,
Everyday objects and possessions as well,
Immortalized, irreplaceable, permanent.

Yet, the memory fades,
And life must go on.

Death is infamous,
'Tis life that is uncertain.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012


Can you pick up the strands of an old friendship from where you left off?
Can you assure yourself that it matters no longer, yet in a tiny space, buried deep inside, still feel affection and pain?
Can you really move on with your life, when in your heart you're holding on to the past?
Can you really forget your past, the parts that really meant something, even if you never revisit those memories?
Can some things, seem never to make sense, yet feel so simple?
Can you ever forget or replace some people, some bonds, some memories?
Can you still resist when in your heart, there never were any differences?
Can you hold someone dear and yet manage to alienate them?
Can anything ever affect a mutual, happy and loving friendship?
Can you be truly separate, when you have always been one?

Yes, you can.

But one candid moment can undo the brave front you've put up for eons,
And release a high tide, overwhelming and unstoppable.

Maybe there really is something called forever friendship.
Maybe some relationships never change.

Maybe not.
But there's only one way to find out.

I did and I'm glad I did so.
I love you so much, it makes me cry.
I missed you so much, it makes me laugh.
With my heart full, I feel alive,
In a way that I haven't in a long time.
How could I have let you go?
I don't know. 
But I did. The pain I cannot bear.

 I shall overcome. It's not you or I.
We are us. Always were, always will be.

Unless. But wait, no more of that.
Today, is our day.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain, or usher storm,
but to add colour to my sunset sky."
- Rabindranath Tagore

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Separate, yet inseparable,
Unite, but only momentarily,
The threshold of longing, overwhelming,
Their struggle, a matter of time.

They come together, almost,
Such that they cannot be parted.
Alas, not so soon,
For they cannot remain heedless.

Consciousness, destructive; Separation, painful.
Perseverance, relentless.

At long last, I let go.
Yet, they resist.
A few moments, hence,
They unite, never to be separated.

The eyelids close,
And slumber seals my soul.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Little things you collect
Cherish, keep close, hold dear.
Memories special, yet vague.
Less use, more emotion.

Mere things, you say.
Frivolous materialism, you argue.
Part of my evolution, my answer.
Replaceable, not really.

Gone and lost, nonetheless.
No point brooding.

Heart, heavy; mind, vacant.
Endure. Accept. Let go.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Most, and more.

Why define me as this or that?
I am more.

My potential, endless.
My possibilities, limitless.

Conform, rebel, or strike a balance.
I do, what I please.

Sometimes, black; others, white.
Often, shades of grey.

I seek change. I detest change.
The ambivalence, profound, but not all.

I am selfish. I am selfless.
I am something. I am nothing.

I initiate, I withdraw. I lead, I follow.
On indecision, too, I dwell.

I believe. I doubt.
I hold on. I give up. I move on.

I rejoice. I brood.
And then, I feel no more.

I accept. I censure.
Then, participation I cease.

Back, forth and again.

I fear. I rise.

Flawed, gifted, doomed.
The infinite unknown, in between.

I can be anything,
I can be everything.

I am all. All is I.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Near, far

Random ruminations, scattered.
Profound threads, visible in the distance.
Yet, so elusive.
Lethargy, mediocrity and escape,
Or, struggle, exploration and endurance.

Beginning, always a task.
More mental than real, possibly.

Candid Conversation

The breeze, calm and composed,
Teases my hair, plays with it.
I close my eyes and,
I am the breeze.

Raindrops on my face,
Soft and intermittent.
The urge to separate, so strong, 

The raindrops fall faster,
My thoughts, slow down.
I let go.
The lightning bolt, approves.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Rhetoric of Condescension

I always thought formal occasions were something of a gimmick, a spectacle, a satire on our social sensibilities. They bring out dilemmas on what to say, how to conduct oneself and what to wear, the basic objective being, to make you reflect on what is acceptable and what is not.

We never really grow up.
We only learn how to act in public.

This dictum might simplify the dilemmas arising from the questions - what to say and how to conduct oneself. You concern yourself with polite and courteous behaviour, expressing joy in seeing people you didn't care about, feigning interest in their activities that didn't matter to you twopence, and above all, assuring yourself to the point of eliminating all self-doubt that you've had a bloody good time.

What to wear is a much more complex dilemma. Do you conform to the social norms of respectable occasions, made more momentous by being attired a certain way? Or do you follow some, break some and arrive at a customised attire, that reflects, more closely, your personality?

More than what you say and what you wear, what is said and sometimes left unsaid, are observations more interesting.  We might all be seekers of knowledge, but there is something about those who especially address students at formal occasions, that I find deeply troublesome. Because they see the past better than it was and the present worse than it is, it becomes easy for them, or rather comes to them very naturally, to criticise today and all that it stands for and has come to represent. They, of the yesteryears, come from an era where such things as goodness, morality, decency, discipline, excellence, ethics and other such superhuman traits were commonplace. For us, of the damned Kalyug, these characteristics are dead skeletons albeit of a glorified past, revered of course, but meaningless and incomprehensible. We are hopeless, we are doomed. And, they know it. Yet, they take it upon themselves to restore us, knowing undoubtedly that it is a pointless pursuit. They try to reason with us, appeal to our diminishing sense of fraternity, of service and goodness and remind us of our duties. While they lecture us, we must repent and restore ourselves. Or else. 

Often these rhetorics are scripted in flowery language, loaded words put together in a haphazard fashion, the sense and sensibility, in serious doubt. The delivery of such speeches, gives to the speaker, the sad illusion of having conveyed a profound point, which the others are incapable of ever conceiving and therefore, of having made a lasting impression on the minds of the scores of muted, awed listeners, the spectators.

But aren't we doomed already? What is it about a formal occasion that makes possible such meaningless message-making? 

Why, if the present, the younger generation is so doomed, is it burdened with the magnanimous task of changing the world, of taking it forward to a more stable state?

What makes it possible for elders to lecture the young to be more humane, when they may be even less so?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Underneath the surface, calm and composed,
Is an inscrutable expanse
Of thoughts and dreams and ideas,
And endless tales, waiting to be heard.
Each one of us, has a story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


'It takes many to make the world'
Hearing this, I grew up.
But once every while, you come across one,
Who makes you question that dictum.

Pity, contempt, dislike, you feel it all.
Amidst tests on your patience and endurance,
You feel thankful - truly grateful-
For they have shown you exactly
Who you don't want to be.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Then, and now.

Growing up, I wasn't much of a chai person. While my sister would look forward to the weekends, wake up at dawn to have chai-biscuit that my grandfather made, I would usher the weekend in deep slumber. However, we would all look forward to the summer holidays, to the rare treat of puff biscuits that our aunt would get from Maharashtra. Chai and puff biscuits would be the favourite breakfast and evening snack, for as long as that batch of the biscuits would last. But even then, it would suffice for me to have it once.

Exam time or illness, were the only times I ever had chai, sans any accompaniment. The fact that my grandparents made it so lovingly, was of course the contributing factor.

In the meantime, I found coffee appealing to my taste buds much more than chai ever did.

Both beverages were an uncommon element in my dietary intake and this earned me the much-desired approval of my mother, who in fact, never had either.

Obviously, inevitably, and in retrospect, rather naturally, this changed.

What inspired the change was the trip to Kashmir last summer. The temperatures in Leh are unbearably low, especially for us since we don't have much of a winter. And the cold, a searing pain in the spine. Warming appliances were inadequate, yet, hot liquids seemed to help. It was at this stage that I discovered my love for sweet-corn soup and a surprising, yet pleasant affinity towards chai.

Initially declining and wavering, soon I started partaking of this much-loved beverage. Partly because lectures and events at the University of Hyderabad are incomplete without chai and samosa, and more so, because I wanted to find whether in a changed climate I could stomach it or not.

And now, I have established an amiable bond with the drink. On rainy days or in spontaneous moments, a mini-cup of chai resonates bliss.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Once again

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. 
–Cyril Connolly

Writing, such a deeply personal practise, and a blog, a purely public space. A natural oxymoron, an inherent conflict. A stalemate was inevitable with two equally powerful considerations.

While life is all about contradictions, it's not always a question of either-or. Sometimes, it's this as well as that, and maybe a little more, and how you balance it all. However, knowing is not enough, we must do.

I turn over a new blog, and hope, amidst all the complexities, to find that elusive balance.