Thoughts from A Sleepless Night

You either think because you want to think, or you just think without  even knowing that you are thinking. The latter lets you into a wild jungle of speculations and questions, that you probably even don’t want answered. I often find myself wondering about this separation in nature of male and female. Some say there is no separation, it’s a continuum.

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image downloaded from http://www.freeimages.com

Of course it was never always Adam and Eve. But at what point during evolution did male and female separation occur? Did it happen only once, and then carried forward with the species, or did it happen each time with every species? Obviously a lot of organisms continue to survive without that distinction. And then again there are organisms that have several genders. Did organisms of any species go extinct because of single gender?  Does such separation make the species stronger and smarter because there is more scope of chromosome separation within each gender and then more scope of healthy permutations and combinations? Is that why organisms with no gender separation have no smartness or possibly no “feelings”? But then what about the organisms with several genders?

Gender differentiation means sex. During the very early days of evolution, propagation must have been of utmost importance, so that the species does not go extinct. Simple division would increase the population but would not make it strong. Mutation can help, but how much can it? Is that why gender differentiation occurred? Anyway, since female bears the offspring in almost all the species, it means the male is pretty much moving around gathering food, protecting the house, and getting bored, thereby fucking other females. In fact, the picture was not even half-pretty in most probability when it all began; there probably was not even a house or a shed, if you may. Male just fucked and moved on. To be fair to this male, he was not even cheating. He was helping the population propagate. Old habits die hard. May be predators attacked the female when she was weak, and slowly it became the male’s responsibility to protect her. At least till she gave birth and the babies grew. After that, the female is also ready to choose another partner. Is this where the sweetness began to brew? With feelings et all? Now if evolution’s sole purpose is taking forward the species and keeping them alive (science can say that much, but not the “why”), what was the purpose of these feelings? Nothing tangible, but hormones can be held completely responsible for them. Anyway, what was the purpose of these feelings? Why could the offsprings not just be protected and then why could organisms not just move on? Selfish to the point, and utterly business-like. What was the purpose of compassion, kindness, love? Also, did females develop feelings before males did, because of the proximity to her offsprings, and the hell lot of hormones that she had to deal with? Did males start developing this only later?

Humans have evolved quite a bit and human population as we all know is exploding every second. There is a huge imbalance, and humans are displacing other organisms and natural occurrences as per their whims. More of a devolution huh? For any more imaginable evolution in human beings, we now need filters in our noses and uv-protection layer on skin that supports vit D. Yeah, that’s the kind of evolution we are talking about.  Survival of the fittest applies only to corporate leeches and thugs and politicians now. For the poor it’s not survival of the fittest. They live on the mercy of the rich people and drug rackets. When it comes to evolution of the human brain we are only building up on the past discoveries and inventions. The era of great scientists is over. Whatever was needed for an easier life seems to have been invented. We misused those inventions and now we are just piling up on them with new everyday ideas and small inventions with the end goal of every idea being making money. We either have a long way to go, or it’s the dead end. Since there can be no rewind, the only thing that can now save us is love.

The Change Starts With You

Activism teaches a lot about the world that we live in currently.

Recently, I have been trying to cut out plastic from life very seriously. I also happen to be part of a certain Green Team at work place. In our endeavour to cut down on corporate waste, especially plastic, we told the employees that they won’t have any more plastic cutlery in the pantry once we run out of the existing stock. We also donated silverware at lunch hours to encourage people to start using them. The money collected would then go to an NGO that helps clean our beautiful and suffering oceans.

The kind of people I met were of four kinds. Most of them were going to get lunch or coming back with lunch, plastic cutlery tucked in their pockets. Some had 3-4 spoons and forks.

  1. People who were genuinely happy to see us doing all the work and either bought the cutlery from us, or said that they already bring their own in
  2. People who did not make any eye contact and kept walking
  3. People who made excuses. One man said he recycles all his plastic. I informed him how recycling does not help as much as not using plastic in the first place, and it should be an option only if unavoidable. To that he said – well then they need to make something. It is just not convenient.
  4. One person just ordered a whole stock of plastic cutlery from Amazon and accused us of selling used silverware

It is frustrating, and exasperating. But it helps to remember that the change starts with you. If you cannot make a change, no one can. If on that table we convinced just two people to change their mindsets, that was probably a success (or not, I don’t know). They would hopefully change minds of two and two other people, who would change minds of two and two and two and two, and so on..

Damn Fear

I am writing after a hiatus of a year. I love writing; it’s like talking to an old friend who is also a terrific listener. It makes me vulnerable, and feel strong at the same time. I feel alive. My head buzzes with ideas, possibilities. It makes me think. Why then, did I not write for a year?

My fears took over me. However, the process had started well before a year ago.

Someone I was madly in love with left the country without a single word. I started questioning the gift of intuition I thought I had (I thought he had feelings for me too). I thought I was taking the world too seriously, and reading way too much between the lines. Besides, my idea of an idealistic love story was killed. The second time.

True love comes quietly, without banners and flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked. – Erich Segal

I lost my job. The org I worked for was racist, sexist, and smelled of frat culture. My manager was an outright racist woman. I got no credit for any cool projects I worked on while a white boy got applauded for all it. How can a brown girl ever write a better code and find a better solution than a white boy? When I demanded feedback and concrete reasons, they had none. I told them their reasons made zero sense to me, and just walked out, not knowing what and where my future lay. I knew I was one of their best employees, but they did not. Knowing you are good is not enough. Your humility still makes you question your worth. More so if you are a woman. The org is on the last straw before it shuts down for good (I had predicted the dates for that too). There is solace in knowing that it was indeed operating poorly. Even then, my self-doubt does not go away. And that is exactly how racism, and sexism work.

Oprah Winfrey had said that Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. There are two problems with this. 1) It is not always true – excellence won’t be the best deterrent if you just happen to be in the wrong group/society/clan. 2) You cannot be mediocre and a person of color, or a woman and still hold a normal job. But it would be perfectly fine for someone white, and even better male.

I found a new job, but I lost my visa status. This was unexpected, and I had to pack all my life in ten days, and leave, not knowing again what and where my future lay. I went back to live with my parents. I thought at least I would get to spend some quality time with my family, after about four years. Three months living with parents, especially with my dad, just brought out more PTSD shit, things I had rebelled against growing up. Childhood and teenage fears started raising their heads. Besides, I was livid because of all the sexism in the society around me.

The thing that gets us through childhood is the thing that hobbles us as adults – someone

I am not afraid of knowing less, or making a mistake. I am afraid of not knowing if I know less, or am making a mistake and getting punished for it. My fear is losing my independence. My biggest fear is being in a bad place, and not being able to do anything to get out of there. I refuse to be a victim, and my fear is being one. This fear crippled me, to the point where I became constantly anxious, watchful, and my health now requires immediate attention from me.

I learned that I need to listen to what my body is trying to tell me. I need to let myself be vulnerable. I need not always be strong. I need to surround myself with people who believe in me. If someone questions your ability, ask them for feedback. If they do not give you any feedback, they either do not  have the courage to give it to you, or they are bigoted/jealous. Find out if you are falling in a pattern. I know I lack some things too. I have learned to face things that I have been avoiding for years. I am working on them, and pushing myself hard to face the realities, to change what I can about myself. Things like being more assertive (doing what you want is not being assertive), communicating my problems clearly(I thought being open and honest was good enough), keeping an open mind (I thought I was open-minded, but there’s a long way to go), not ignoring my health (I am 31 now and I can’t run to save my life). I need to get back to painting (still scares me). I have got to travel (another solo trip on its way).

Writing today is one of the stepping stones towards this journey.

The fearless are merely fearless. People who act in spite of their fear are truly brave. – James A. Lafond-Lewis

Getting it all wrong

This life is so much more. So much about what’s inside, than what’s outside. It’s about how you feel, how you want to feel, how you love, who you love. About the relationships you have, about not being hungry. Hungry for food, and warmth, and love.

And still, here we are. All of us. Pinning it down to what the neighbour’s house looks like and how ours needs to be better. About what car we own, and what clothes we wear. About our visa status, and citizenship, and jobs, and degrees, and what not. Struggling to find the right movie to watch, the right restaurant to dine in, more money to earn. Basing all important decisions on very unimportant things. Does it need to be so chaotic?

When I think about it, the best times in my life have been when enjoying cool breeze, feeling no worry about nothing, drinking tea. May be having a smoke. May be alone, or with a friend by my side. Knowing that my folks are content, because I am too. That’s when I feel that I have got it all right. Right here, inside me.

Enjoy a song, that may not be related really 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VRlTdFVlI4

Poor Little Postman

I was listening to Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes. Some thoughts that came to me while at it:

Poor thing, the postman. He must be in such an awkward position when she keeps accusing him for not having a simple card or a letter, while he passes her by as she is crying. He knows his bag has no letters for her, but she insists that he wait and check for it once more. I feel more sorry for him than the girl. I am sure he tries to be sneaky when around her house, or choose hours that she does not expect him to be around at.

Second chain of thoughts – he must sometimes think, why don’t I have a girlfriend who would feel so strongly for me? Well, it would be weird if he has a girlfriend like that. Would she ask one postman about letters from another? That’s a little messed up, if you ask me..Anyway, enjoy the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=425GpjTSlS4

Persepolis – A Thank You Note

If Marjane Satrapi, or Persepolis does not mean anything to you, have you still heard of the Islamist Revolution? Yes or no, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, a graphic novel written mainly from the perspective of a little girl in the war-ridden Iran, is a piece of phenomenon. Immediately after reading the book, I also saw the movie.

Adults end up talking about their own problems all the time. A child’s mind works differently. And then again, privilege of any kind blinds one to the world on the other side. The world, where removing hijab when there’s cool breeze, and giggling with the winds and girlfriends becomes an act of courage and freedom. And things like that.

The playful words of the little girl make you chuckle, and at the same time stab at your heart. Marjane’s extremely few privileges were her super family, her own sense of freedom, and the choices she made. Like her granny says – “Everyone always has a choice. Always!”

While I was reading the book, I wondered if all the progress we are making on one side of the world, all the fun we are having, all the extravaganza, is needed, when on the other side a little girl dies because her father was a communist, a woman dies for having worn lipstick or shown a few strands of hair, or a teenager boy dies simply for being one. And then you see people fighting for their freedom, laying down their lives, so they could wear lipstick, drink wine, hold their lover’s hand, listen to the music they like, and opine their opinions. That’s when you know, that one needs these things, to know their importance. If you don’t, you become North Korea. Before any sort of segue, here’s one of my favourite scenes from both the book, and the movie:

PS: Before you start counting your misfortunes, count your privileges, and know them well.

Dire Straits

Rusty dusty. Very very. The city lights from the window of the aeroplane make me feel something after all. Make me want to remove the book and the pen out of my hand bag and write something. But I look back inside and I don’t feel like doing anything at all, once again. I look outside again. It’s a huge ass motherboard circuit. The aeroplane shakes. May be it is feeling cold. What if it crashes and we all die?

What if, when you die, your pure conscience reaches a place – your conscience, without the body that was anatomically male, or female, or in between… that was conventionally beautiful, or unconventionally so.. that you hated to look at, or adored, by staring at yourself in the mirror.. without the body that you held on to, or that held on to you.. just your conscience, in this place. Where you are shown that everything you did when you were alive was pointless. Totally pointless. All the books that you read or wrote, all the music that you heard or made, all the friends that you enjoyed the company of, all your inventions and discoveries, all the struggles you endured, all the wine you drank, all the places you went to, including moon.. all the food you ate, all the cigarettes and weed you smoked, all the money that made you rich, all the sex you had.. all your guilt was pointless.. all the wrongs you did were pointless, just like all the rights you did.. all that yin and yang blending into a grey dot of pointlessness.. A big grey pointless dot that was yin and yang at some point.. you also realize that all that love that you had or did not, was pointless.. all that love, pointless.. and then you are given a choice to make:

  1. Disappear into oblivion, with no conscience too. What’s the point anyway?
  2. Become a human being again with two more choices within this choice:
  3. – Forget all that you just realized about the gravity of pointlessness of everything; start afresh again. Nirvana is not what I thought.
    – Remember all, and stay a human

What would you choose? Hmm?

PS: Whatever you choose, doesn’t matter. It’s pointless 😉

bicycleI saw her she saw him he saw me and we all saw more people who saw us and other people. We all kept seeing each other and walking at the same time. We almost smiled, almost. But we did not, almost none of us.

Saturday mornings with heavy hangovers and coffee cups that barely fit in hands.
Saturday mornings as light as the feather of an unknown bird, that saw other unknown birds who saw other unknown birds. Some of which pooped on some of us. Lucky birds wasted no time ever. Or worried about clean underwear.

A familiar face in the crowd makes almost half a heart beat skip. What kind of familiar? No idea.

Did we get paid yesterday? Shit yes. Still don’t want to check bank account. Don’t want to do things that make it sad.
How about some Beatles and tea? That’s a happy thought. Like lazy bicycles and their shadows.

My Story Book

Have you been scared, excited, happy, upset, on the verge of crying all at the same time? I am that right now. I have a story to share with the world. To write it out, shape it up, and give it everything that I can. It struck me three days ago when I was dead sleepy. I was too tired to even open my eyes, let alone get up, look for a pen in my stupid messy room, and write it down on a piece of paper after searching for that too. I was not scared about forgetting about it the next day though. I am mighty absent-minded and forgetful, but I remembered it, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

Not sure how many days, months, or years it will take me to finish it up and give it a final form. But I have to keep having faith in it. Not sure if the happenings in my life will force me to change its vision, which I will resist. It will depress me on the days I can’t contribute to it. Depress me and make me bleak. But I have to keep going. Never give up. It’s been conceived. I have to commit to it now, and give it all the nurturing and love it needs. It’s going to be a story of dreams. But more than that, it’s going to be a story of love. I will make it happen, and this is where I will keep coming back to, when I need a kick 🙂

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Life of Pi – Shortest Review

When you wrap up tragedy with some jokes, and top those jokes with tragedy, and keep doing that till you lose track of what you are doing (in a nice way), you get a masterpiece like “Life of Pi”.

It’s rich; Yann Martel has beautiful words for his beautiful story, which don’t simply stand there as words but, stem from the need for expressing the emotions. Especially those of a 16 year old religious Indian boy who is beyond his age, and yet very innocent. Like a flower that sways in strong wind, not breaking. I mention Indian because the way of telling the story is very unmistakably Indian. Like really a 16 year old religious Indian boy would tell it.

The story was so excruciatingly painful at different points that I had to put the book away for the day at those times. Two nights when I was running a fever I had dreams about it. Never-ending dreams. The story itself is so tiring (in a nice way), that it left me wondering what really being on the lifeboat would have been like for Pi.

That being said, I am now grateful to every morsel of food I eat, and every gulp of divine water that goes down my throat. I don’t think it’s the effect of reading this book, but I have never felt so humble, and so grateful towards my people, as I have been feeling in the past two days. I think it’s a mixture of the book, Doctor Who, meeting a friend, falling sick, and all of that.

This book is phenomenal. I am going to watch the movie tonight, hoping good justice is done. Also, I will keep myself from reading a book for a few days, to let this one assimilate into me properly.

Don’t you bully me with your politeness! Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe? – Piscine Molitor Patel, Life of Pi