This one is for Assymetrica

Ever heard of “One thing leads to another?”

This is so true. One of my friends asked me to send some references for interesting blogs. I had created a small list and mailed it to him. Out of the blue, I was greeted by a friend from college and I was reminded that he wrote well. I asked him for his blog and he directed me to it. A cursory glance of his blog revealed that he had written the last three blogs in a deep state of emotional stasis. I was immediately reminded of numerous incidents which used to happen quite regularly in college. I tried to see common ground and hence messaged my friend that we have to debate these occurrences where the preliminary hypothesis seems to be that people express themselves in a complicated manner when they are emotionally challenged by actions and/ or reactions.

Some personal recollections:

The first time I started thinking about writing was when I was deeply moved by a girl and was finding ways of expressing it. I used to spend time writing letters by the dozen and poems by the score. I still have the little blue book with scribblings all over.

Fast forward to my post graduation, and I can recollect numerous instances of people becoming poets and writers in the absence of apparent inclination. It happens to be more to do with the appropriate inspiration. The inspiration may be highly emotional, conditioned by drugs, or a combination of both. The emotional background is difficult to decipher, but the effects in terms of emotional stasis and the ensuing consumption of drugs are apparent.

I have not come across too many people who consume drugs alone. There is usually a small group. They have to talk and I guess they would rather talk to somebody who will be drugged in the same proportion so that neither would remember what happened. Cannabis actually causes short term memory loss because of it’s effects on the hippocampus which is responsible for memory.

The topics are surprisingly eclectic, the opinions are free flowing and the discussions are marauding. I have typically noticed people jump from one topic to another in the most random fashion possible. The most interesting part would be that people are more stoic in their responses and offer explanations without inhibitions regarding diplomacy and tact.

Those who consume drugs give vent to their emotional deluge in a more physical fashion than free speech. They are more poignant and diverse in their expressions. The context is richer and the content pulsating. I have taken some time to go through their expressions,…blogs,…poems,…web pages,…graffitti,….plays,… and I believe there are quite a few writers there who are beyond their writings. This is because they do not write fiction, they write themselves. The words drip life. I guess blood is thicker than water!

Where is my paper?

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In the shadow of Kings

My company president is leaving our organisation. Presumed it will not be tough to imagine the kind of churn it will create in our institution. I did imagine, but I was not even close to it. The most straight-forward reason would be my inexperience. But, the most important reason would be something else. The next few moments should make it clear.

I am barely five months into this organisation and all the stuff that I read in newspapers make me sceptical about organisations. I think about scandals, politics, back-biting and what not. Then a couple of events in the in the past few months at the organisation.

Event 1: My boss travels by train and reports to office at 8:30 a.m every morning. He has a company sponsored, chauffeur driven car at his disposal. Not an event, eh,…whatever. That’s not the point at all.

Event 2: My boss takes two breaks in an entire day at specific times and never engages in banter.

Event 3: My boss leaves at 5:30 p.m every day, unless there is any urgency.

Event 4: My boss and his boss are more concerned about what is the best course of action than their individual contributions to the over all process. What is the best thing to do,…not what do ‘I’, think is the best thing to do?
Event 5: The company does not believe in donating money. Instead it believes in managing the money (Loads of it) for accurate delivery of objectives related to charity. I am working on one for HIV right now. CSR is one of my job responsibilities, not an option.
The moot point is that people cannot behave individually in this organisation. There should be a percolation of beliefs and value systems. It is so intangible, but fantastically beautiful.

Event 6; The Present, …The Farewell:

At the farewell, people didn’t make speeches. Speeches are written, rehearsed and done lip-service to. Here, people spoke from their heart. The Chairman of the entire Asia-Pacific region, spoke so deeply about our President. His voice betrayed the true emotions underlying the rendered corporate sensibilities of what he spoke. The Vice-President had a quivering voice when he spoke. My boss couldn’t speak more than ten words. And then there were others.

I could feel the immense amount of bonding among this group of people. The sum total of all their value systems held me in it’s wake. The underlying framework was intangible to me, a fresher, and so enigmatic in the fact that words do not mean as much as living it. I think about it once in a while, on the other hand I see these these people who live it day in and day out. I guess we might give many names, one of it would be focus, to achieve it would be quite a thing. First of all, I think it needs a high level of honesty to oneself. This honesty expands as it fills us and overflows into our relationships. It is enriching and life sustaining. I see people who live and all I am is a seed.

Where is my paper?

Eight’o clock

I come from a middle class background. My father was in a transferable job and I am used to being asked to pack my bags once in three years or even less. Why all this?

It has more to do with my morning routine in Mumbai. The alarm on my cellular phone, the decision as to how long I can sleep without going shabby to office and then the trudge to the Andheri station amidst the vast expanse of humanity, so characteristic of Mumbai. I usually reach there by eight a.m. The usual would be a train with my fellow countrymen hanging on like there is no tomorrow. The unusual would be a passenger train, an express train to Ahmedabad or Someplace Else.

I would watch the train as it slowly passes by. Engines, clutching the air-conditioned coaches in iron clasps, which clutch the sleeper coaches and then the general compartments. There were no people hanging from it, just people sitting inside and looking forward to something, calm, confident and optimistic. People engaged in casual conversation, kids looking at me like they have never seen a guy with a moustache before and some more people who just don’t care.

Slowly I started looking forward to the express train and I used to notice that I felt happy each time I used to see this train in the morning. I used to feel the mood of the people in the express train rub on me. Life seemed good. But why?

What was I talking about?

Yes,…when I was in school, in some town or city in interior Tamilnadu, Madras was Mecca to me. I would go through the ordeal of school, homework, tests and exams just for those ten odd days of vacation. On the day my exams used to end, I would accompany my mother and sister to the station. The train was my window to freedom. For the next ten days there would be no more homework, no more getting up early, no more restrictions on playtime, no more rules….I got to see my cousins, play in the mud, skip a bath and get lost in the melee of my grand mother’s house where all of my mother’s brothers and sisters used to converge for the vacations. I used to wait for the monstrosity to chug it’s way onto the platform and I would just jump right in and book a seat for myself, before my sister can. It was a sort of deliverance for me. For the good days ahead. The train journey was something else. Snacks packed from home, skirmishes with my sister and of course counting stations before I am there. It was almost labour for nine hours before I would get to Madras (I hate Chennai,…whoever thought of it).

In other words, the train stands for the summum bonum of some of my most memorable childhood memories. Everytime I see the express train, I see myself somewhere else. I fall through the tunnel like Alice did. A tunnel, not about happiness or freedom or any other funny abstraction,….but something more personal, memories. I am not a philosopher, just a ordinary kid, who wants to get onto the blue train.

Every time I see it, I just forget myself and relive those memories. Times have changed, memories don’t.

Let me get back to my paper.

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