Monday, October 27, 2014

Why blame the bubble?

The contemporary image of the urban indian demography is the one which is oversimplified by the simplicity of two rather simple shapes. The middle class bubble and the poverty line.

Though the line may be a fitting representation of the struggles and the hardship of the people who populate that group, the representation of the middle class as a bubble however, itself makes it an object of judgement. The bubble represents the ignorance and apathy of the people within it ,towards the people outside it. It represents a people who isolate themselves to a world within the bubble, and are blind to the world beyond it. 

What the bubble does not represent however is that, the same bubble floats dangerously close to the poverty line. The struggle of the middle class, though not as grave as of the impoverished, are still struggles for survival. And the ignorance that most of the middle class is accused of is not ignorance but helplessness. 

The bubble that we live in is not blind, It sees the world around, and understands it's struggles. But, is too consumed in its own struggles and is helpless by the weight of it. It is really this helplessness that creates this image of apathy, ignorance and isolation. 

The irony is that, an image which acuses the middle class man of ignorance, ignores completely the the problems that he lives with. 

The middle class man is sympathetic, but is too busy trying to keep his job. And at the end of the day, he is only rich enough to not be poor. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Unwise but eternal

I love the word belief, because when you believe in something you trust in its existence without the burden of proof. Unfortunately this description takes it closer to the definition of being dillusional,but when knowledge, reason or logic fails to give explanations, it is belief that gives the strength to keep walking. 

Anyway, from the short life that I have lived until now, I have deluded myself into having atleast one major belief. I believe that the soul exists, is immortal, eternal and accumulates wisdom from every life that it lives, in whatever form whether human or otherwise. 

There are many religious and philosophical texts which have been adorned by this idea of the immortal soul, but my reasons for having this belief is neither religious nor philosophical. My reasons on the contrary are quiet earthly. 
I find myself naive & clueless trying to compete against a world of wisdom and I can't but trust the fact that it is my first life as a human. Because in the world that surrounds me, I often find myself surrounded by people who seem organically better equipped to deal with life and it's challenges. They don't seem to have the need to learn the art of living,they just seem to be born knowing that. 

on the other hand, am having to deal with life as an eternal Learner, as a spectator who learns from the actions of the wise, and performs by emulating there actions. It's not a surprise then that I find myself loosing against a wiser competition, but for some reason I don't loose hope or give up. I think, I must have lived as an ant in a previous life because I never feel like giving up and I never stop trying. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A god for traffic!

From the peak of a flyover, I look down upon the horizon, and see an ocean of metal, rubber and red breaklights, as dormant as the high seas on a windless day, and it reminds me of the thought that I woke up with. I woke up with a heavy heart, prophasizing being stuck in traffic in the peak hour, for hours. 

You look at the scale of the traffic problem in front of you, and you can't help but think, that "only god can help". 
And out of the all embracing 33 million Hindu gods, I am sure there must be Atleast one who can have some mercy on the traffic. It can't be goddess though, for obvious stereotypical reasons. 

But whoever may be the god for traffic, is obviously Sleeping on the job, because dispite the 8 lane freeways, flyovers and tunnels, we are still stuck in traffic. Any Devine intervention that the traffic desperately needs is completely absent. If god reads this blog, then I would beg him to spare us from the hours of torture, and simply just teleport us to work. 

The reason why I am blaming god for the traffic problem is because humans are completely incorrigible, and expecting a solution from us, is like expecting intelligence from an ass. We never drive in a lane, we honk insessently, and honestly our traffic behaviour is like hoard of carnivorous birds, trying to snatch some flesh out of a dead prey. We need to realise that when we are in the traffic, we are a part of a collective consciousness, and if we behave ourselves, and stop driving like an opportunistic idiot, we might just reach our destinations in time. 

I believe the driving culture of a city, truly represents it's state of mind. And having been driving in delhi for the past 10 years, I can easily say that this city needs help. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Measure to Measure

In our times of mind over matter, what do you do with the matters of the heart that the mind doesnt know?

You cheat your mind, And you cheat it with, what is considered the greatest contribution of British colonialism to the world... Whiskey! 

All you need to know is your measure. Which is not an easy task, because to each is his own, and it only comes with experience. Only a regular, will one day realise that perfect balance. 

But you'll know when you figure out your load, because at that blessed moment, your mind will be sane enough to know that it has surrendered to the heart, and your heart will know that it dominates the mind. 

The best part about figuring out your load is that, you'll stop drinking heavy. Because Your mind gets intoxicated and you realise the beauty of your drunk, delarious & delusional heart. And you'll find this experience a lot more pleasureable than just drinking till you drop. You'd want to reach that state again and again. 

There's only one problem, that even this social and at times solitary indulgence has today become a matter of competition. How heavy you drink has become an expression of masculinity, and both men and women are trying to outdo each other in being a "bigger man". I wonder if they could ever enjoy drinking? 

So let go of the competition, and the next time you drink, try to take a break from your boring brains and allow your heart to go wild. You never know if your heart might enlighten you in ways your mind can never imagine. 

And don't hit it hard, hit it right, and please don't drink and drive 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Proud Father Fixation

One of the most basic of human needs is that of social acceptance & endorsement. And for most Indian sons & daughters the need for that need begins at home. For us, no matter how successful we ever become, it only counts if it makes out parents proud, more so our fathers. Success can make us feel accomplished, important & give you a sense of achievement, but we will never find that sense of contentment unless our achievements are endorsed by our dad.

I wonder what creates that indebted feeling amongst us, probably the pressure of a patriarchal lineage, or maybe because they pay our bills, I don't know, but for some un-understood reason we tend to cling on to that obligation forever & ever & ever.....

This whole business of  "Proud Parents" is really a double edged sword. If your parents are easily impressed, and don't expect too much to begin with, then contentment might come too early, and you may not realize your true potential, but if your parents are never impressed, then you might spend your life trying to prove your point to them, and be like a fish out of water.

But, there is a question, is it possible to get rid of that feeling altogether, to stop that factor from being the driving force behind our lives, and to find purpose in things that are more meaningful. Because if we are able to liberate ourselves from this cheese chase, we are likely to either realize our true potential or atleast find contentment in a more consequential pursuits.

Einstein said that if you want a happy life, tie yourself to goals and not people or things. And who knows, one day when you are a great man, and you are content with your achievements, you might just  sit together with your father, and share your scotch as equals. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The myth behind a morning person!

If someone asks you to describe a morning person, you are likely to have a distinct , unambiguous image in your mind. A serious, disciplined, pragmatic & active person, for whom, his sleep is a calibrated component of his calculated life. A person who would wake up early, and diligently observe his morning chores. He'll get the milk, the morning newspaper, get a quick workout & make himself a cup of tea.

But what if I tell you that this somber image is a facade, behind which, is a person who enjoys his inertia, a lot more than he enjoys his sleep. Because after he is done with his minor morning chores, he would just lean on an armchair, sip his cup of tea, and escape into a world of solitude & silence.

Most people doze off and sleep to recover from the perpetual grind of modern living. But some, seek comfort in getting up early, and giving themselves an opportunity to experience, the slowness of the passing time. To them, the awareness about the nothingness, the silence, the peace is a lot more comforting than the paralysed ignorance of sleeping. For them, this inertia Is the method by which they prepare to themselves for the tough day ahead. 

Therefore, in a way, there is not much of a difference between the people who sleep late and people who are up early, both of them value lazyness just as much as the other. 

But really, in our times, in which, life is described as fast paced & stressful, an experience of slowness is quiet invaluable. 

So rather than sleeping forever you'd rather wake up early and begin your day by giving yourself a break. 

Good morning! 

Victims of branding

By  far the most prominent victims of branding in Delhi have to be the "Fashion Victims". One wonders, how people can get it so wrong, but it seems, as long as you are wearing a brand  it really doesn't matter if it makes them look like a Monkey wearing makeup.  Just take a walk around connaught place, and you'll see these walking talking mannequins flashing around there brand labels. And no matter how unseemly they look , they carry it off with confidence. 

What amazes me the most is that, people don't realize that they look pretentious and are genuinely ignorant. The clothing that they wear may be completely unsuited, but they blindly believe that the brand makes them look good. 

But that is the magic of marketing, ins't it? It creates "Brand Identities" that are so big, that people loose faith in their own perception, and eventually start trusting a fictitious identity created by a brand manger. Almost like idol worship. 

However, fashion needs visual perception, and maybe some people  don't  have a good eye for clothes. But, how can tastebuds go wrong?

You don't need be a connoisseur to tell the difference between a good coffee & a bad coffee, anyone can tell the difference. But apparently, taste is the last priority for the coffee brands. The priority is to make the place a "Babe Magnet". If Beautiful women start liking the place, everyone else will follow eventually. And if people have a problem with the coffee, then so be it.

The truth is that some brand find leverage points in our consumption behavior, and seduce us when we are the most susceptible to believing in there idea. And once we are hooked, we let go of our perception and eventually our judgement. Some brands are so misleading that they hijack our perception and make us consume products that are almost sub-standard.

It is quiet impossible to prevent ourselves from getting hooked by brands. But we can prevent getting cheated. As consumers we must realize our faith in the five senses, and use our intrinsic perception & judgement to make better choices.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Undercover smoker

For so many of us, who have had a moderately conservative upbringing, to be identified as a smoker is almost  a matter of confession, or coming out. Almost alike  following a conflicting religious belief or sexual orientation. And many smokers go to great lengths to hide this fact from their families & loved ones. 

But its a habit, and so people who smoke, smoke even if they have to hide it from the  rest of the world. And find unique ways to conceal this habit from their abode. 

Hiding your pack of cigarettes is covert operation which involves concealing, camouflage, a keen sense of smell and  lots of ventilation. My pack, is hidden neatly in a pen stand concealed under a cluster of symmetrically arranged pens, and locked away in the lowest drawer of my study table. And I am confident that this position is unassuming enough to avoid any undesirable attention and that getting caught is highly unlikely. Some of my friends however have more extreme ways of hiding their packs of cigarettes and more, with one digging a hole in his garden and another hiding it under the top cover of  the cistern. 

But really, it is that intangible element, which is lot more bothersome, than the placement of the packages. The odor is the worst enemy of the undercover smoker. It is because of this potent force that, each and every session has to be followed by a painstaking investigation followed by a meticulous cover up. Apart from that, the inventory for essentials, such as, mint chewingum & deodorant has to carefully maintained and you can't use a room freshener, because it just combines with the smoke and makes for a perfectly obvious cover-up. The only thing that can get rid of the smoke is ventilation. You can only allow some fresh air to pass thorough  your room, and hope for the best.

I am afraid, however, no matter how much effort you  behind a coverup, getting caught at last is quiet inevitable. A lone discarded cigarette bud will finally manage to loose your attention, and will end up somewhere, it is not supposed to be. Or, eventually, someone else is going to tell you that, every thing in your room, for example your books and clothes etc, smells of cigarettes. You may be too used to the smell, but the smell will stand out for everyone else that you are living with.

So, you'd rather tell everyone that you  smoke, because they know already. You'd rather come out and then..... QUIT!!