My years in the world of consumer internet has successfully rewired a lot of  my neurons. I ,now , believe that any opinion standing on the shoulders of anecdotal evidence should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. I also process to be against hypocrisy. Yet, the very same neural patterns which have colluded to form my current worldview makes me make a conjecture that all human beings like music. While it is true that one person’s music may be other persons noise, every person I have met in my life likes some music or other.  My own likes and dislikes are an over-represented data-set of my universal set of data points.  This was a rather convoluted way of saying I love to listen to songs.

For me my love for singing sometimes goes beyond listening. I was once a semi decent singer. I have a few fragments of papyrus alluding to my vocal chords . I used my vocal chords to make a few of my ragging sessions to singing sessions.  In fact, I had used it to escape from physical drill of my first year NCC camp’s physical training . I performed a so-called musical performance for three minutes for the end of camp cultural performance and spent the rest of the camp practicing the song (eating food) and putting on weight while my friends went through a hellish boot camp.. While I no longer perform for an audience of more than me , I still try to learn a song once a while.

I come from a place called Assam and learned to express myself in Assamese. For as long as I can we always had an over-abundance of great music. The fact that our most important festival is all about song and dance could have a role in this. Invariably and frequently, I come across a song that touches my heart. I have away from my motherland for the last decade and a half. In these years, I have spoken very few Assamese words. I have seen  Assamese transition from my first language to second language to third and back to second. Today, Assamese is my second language but my vocabulary is bankrupt.

Yet, I feel an emotional connect when listening to Assamese songs which I do not feel when I listen in other languages. Of the songs that touched me, the song Majuli touched me a lot. I have never been to Majuli, It has always been an answer to a general knowledge question to largest river island of the world. I am not sure if it is the largest island in the world but our Assam based text books, sure, think it to be true. Whenever, I try to try to learn this song, I feel my eyes getting mist.

 

I feel sad that I do not know the meaning of all the worlds used in the song. At the same time the visuals of lusty green and flooded fields overwhelms my endocrine system. The sight of Assamese temple is very confusing. I no longer believe in existence of God and avoid religious ceremonies like plague. Yet it transports me to the days when I used to accompany my grandfather to our home temple as he conducted prayers. My grandfather who was far ahead of his times and did not care for the fact I was a product of inter-caste marriage. I see small kids sing to a joyous song to the tune of this melancholy song and get my emotions astounded, I should feel happy seeing happy faces but I feel sad. I see the colours of my state and I remember that it is reeling under unprecedented floods and I am not doing much to help. I feel anguish at the lethargy of fellow clan members which makes us languish at the bottom of the rat race of global civilization. I get distracted by song’s part about grandmothers love and the accompanying visuals of a kitchen. I travel back to my childhood to my grandmother’s kitchen. Everyone in the family had to eat in the dining room but I was special to my grandmother, My seat was always near my grandmother’s stove and nobody was given food till I had food. I remember my grandparents who are no longer alive. I remember the house in my village which has been long consumed by expanding river banks of Brahmaputra and then I listen to the same song in an infinite loop.

 

 

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life, materialistic philosophy

The guilt free sundae

 

In moral science classes of my very initial school days, I was often told “an idle mind is a devils workshop”.  Idle mind or not, many of my brain cells responsible for storing the memories of my life were empty back then and till date I remember these six-seven words in the same order.

Today things are different, although my dna report will match to me of two decades earlier, my thoughts and thinking process are not exactly the same. I no longer think that devil and divine fight for control of my mind. But it is quite funny what an idle mind can do to your life.

I try to keep myself busy either coding or running in the few seconds of the day when I am not doing any of these I busy myself thinking about all things in life which I will never have.  It has been now seven years since the Brazilian Grand prix won by Kimi Räikkönen . Incidentally that was the day I was told I am a diabetic. It would be a lie to say I was not expecting this news or to say that I was not shattered by it.  Bad news, even though we know is inevitable, always comes across as something sad.

Thankfully though, my willpower rose to the occasion and now I am largely non-diabetic – at least my blood test thinks like that. I run aggressively every day and am rather paranoid about food I take. If I see oil floating around I can’t eat the food. If the food tastes sweet and I don’t know how much fibre is present in the food, I find myself unable to eat.  I feel like a criminal if I miss one session in the gym.

But all these seems to be taking a toll on me. Every now and then I feel like is why and for long do I have to do this. Why do I have to do all of these just to stay alive and now and then , I try to recollect the last time I had a guilt-free sundae. After searching my brain for recollections of the feeling of a guilt free sundae, I only realise I have quite forgotten how it tastes and just wonder how many cousins of guilt free sundaes will torment me in my idle hours.

 

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life, materialistic philosophy, philosophical me, reflections of time

Variables and Constants

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Thousands of miles on my car and thousands of lines of code on my editor later, I am back to my blog trying to reflect on the days gone by and make myself feel greater than I am and preaching to how one should lead ones life.

Some say that it is the fourth dimension of our existence, some say that it can curve under the influence of gravity some say that it is the greatest healer but all I know that time is something that exist in calendars and recorded in my brain cells as collection of hormonal changes. Since we humans owe our very existence to the giant furnace called Sun, it is no wonder that we have always defined in terms of where we were relative to Sun at the moment when the event had come to pass. Due to the actions of many a religious preachers who wanted to replace paganism with Christianity and yet maintain similar festivals, we can say that the current year is 2013.

Things as they are, so long we are alive, we do realize the arrival and passing by of time. By some strange coincidence, 2013 has been unlike any other year I have lived. All the people with whom i had spent my college days started taking life changing decisions. Every month one of my friend was getting married. This will also be the first year where there will be nobody in my college campus who had joined while I was a student. Marriages of close friends in quick succession plays out very funnily . You see your friend circle split into two singles and the rest. To start off the rest are the outcast minority but with every occasion you realise the dynamics are changing and before you know you are hanging out only with your juniors and then their juniors . I guess I am blessed in that – I have no shame and a lot of pride in screaming that while most people had friends restricted to their own batch or one batch up and down, I used to hangout with people across all batches so there is still time before all the juniors are exhausted. I can still refuse to grow up.

If 2013 was seminal to a few of my friends , it shall also be an abnormal year for me. For the first time in four years I am without a job. In spite of loving my job as much as anyone can love their job, I have quit to start my company and figuring out what to do. This brings me to the title of my post -“variables and constants”, life doing a job is like a constant, you have a degree of predictability. If you are working with ethical people, if you do good, you will progress or someone else will be interested in working with you. While if you are trying to build your own, it is like a  game of variables , you really don’t know what they really are till it is too late, you can take your best guess and soldier on. Quite interestingly, some variables are in your control while the others are not.

At times it can be intimidating trying to fathom all the variables governing our lives. For all the criticism vented out at ostriches for hiding in the sand at the sight of trouble, I feel that works well for me.  I have found it better to concentrate on the variable that I have control on rather than the infinite number of them over which I have no control. As a type 2 diabetic with weight issues I had my share of health issues. Having lost over ten kilo- over the last year, I now have some authority on this subject, I found that instead of focussing on my weight it was better to concentrate on how fast I could run and how much. Weight was the outcome that had a lot of variables which I did not fully comprehend while running was a function of variables over which I had full control.  Being 27 and never having had a girl friend is not something I am proud of especially considering my parents  had the guts to marry(elope) defying one set of my grandparents. But the weight loss experiments tells me it’s no shame being the poster boy of “Forever  alone” meme, it sucks that I had not even tried in my life.  Pursuing only 1 girl over a time span of 27 years is not something to be proud of. So here I am trying to ponder what is the variable I should concentrate on.

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life, Literary experience, materialistic philosophy, philosophical me

Broken Resolve

You may have forgotten

All the words I have spoken

All the prayers that I once said

May have been destined to be waste.

I have protests to make

Tears to shed

Blood to bleed.

But I swallow my words

Dry my eyes and pause my heart…

All with a hope that you are free from all my grumbles and all my rumbles.

But some fine day,

A few forgotten emotions comes knocking at my doors

My resolve breaks and my walls crumble..

And I ask myself why do I wish to swim like a fish and fly like a bird

When all I can do it walk like a man and cry like a woman…

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Hobbies, life, Literary experience, philosophical me

Verse, blank-verse and converse

Although there is no cookbook for wisdom and knowledge, the same cannot be said about the intangible adjective called literate.  For all I can do or wish to do it is now forever etched into my gray matter that the 3 Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic make up the seven course meal called literacy. It is another matter that the gray matter is not gray and arithmetic does not start with an ‘R’ yet this is the very sequence of words I shall tattoo into the minds of any impressionable target that comes across me. Like most middle-class parents of their generation, my parents too thought that I should master the three R’s. I was in school.

The thing about school and blog is that language classes are much more easier to ponder over and ruminate then the numerical theories which I now believe to be the only absolute truth. Scientific theories come and go, Religions are born and buried but if one bird on a tree is joined by another bird, we have only two birds on the tree.The thing about language lessons is that we learn “Twinkle Twinkle little star” and “A for Apple” from beyond the time hidden in my subconscious by the mist of time.  This was my initiation to the world of prose and poetry.

As the years went by, poems changed from small songs to sonnets to blank verse. My English papers periodically had exotic sounding words like “iambic pentameter“. But the thing with poems which I have referred to as verse and blank verse is that I was never really sure if I had diverged from what the writer actually wanted to say. Most of the times , the safe approach was the approach of your teacher.  Even the neurons of time have failed to remove the veil of ignorance that envelops my understanding of words that I had once read.

Even today,some questions remain unanswered. Even today , I can’t help wondering if there is more to the poems than that meets the eye. Even today , I want to wax lyrical but indulge in mundane and intrinsic science called prose writing.

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Citizen me, life, materialistic philosophy

A childhood in the fringes of national consciousness

gunFor the last few days, it seems only a curfew can stand between a bullet and a young gullible kashmiri. Today was one of the better days it seems some tangible property has been demolished . Loss to property is a loss nonetheless but it is not something that cannot be replaced. Loss of life on the other hand happens only once. Some of my earliest political memories I have is of the total apathy of my government as huge chunks of land in my maternal village were swallowed by the mighty Brahmaputra. Huge blocks of land simple leapt into whistling water to create another homeless family. It became a sort of yearly ritual to see people lose everything. It went for years and now the place where I spent many of my happy and innocent days of childhood no longer exists, the roads of that ghost village are only their in some hidden compartment of my memories. At those times, it seemed independence from the beastly creature called India was the only way out. That was the mind of a guy who was less than ten years of age. It seemed the cause of all problems was the occupation by India. I guess I am contradicting myself in this post like I usually do reminiscing about the political leanings of my early childhood. It didn’t help that newspapers were bombarded with reports of how the army and other central para-military forces were harassing the masses. I was given to understand that unified command was a mechanism by which security personal were permitted to rape the relatives of militants who did not surrender.

In those days we were more scared of military than the militants. Militants used to usually kill politicians usually giving us a reason to celebrate. A death of a militant was deeply mourned as that of a family member. One of our neighbours son was killed in an encounter. I was simple overwhelmed by the public outpour of grief on the streets. I was eleven years old. Gradually things began to change or at least my perspective of things changed. Having seen many militants surrender and make millions looting and killing the common man-made me realise there is no difference between the politicians I deride. It was also the time the hypocrisy in me was maturing. I found myself with a brain with better than average processing power and soon made my way out of my birthplace . Now I am a visitor to the place where I learnt to walk, speak and talk. On an average day,, the language I am most likely to speak is my mother-tongue.

Back then even though I hated the government of India, it was kind of perplexing I always supported the Indian team on the field. Maybe my childhood is a perfect example of the fact that you may love your country and hate the government. Since I am writing this post in 2010, its time for me to jump back to the present and write a few words bashing Armed Forces Special Powers Act. I know this generational jump is quite of sync with the title of the post and rather abrupt. But I feel too strongly about this issue to care for anything else. It is not so easy living under the shadow of the gun. It is even more difficult when the people who are there to protect you is the biggest threat to your lives.

Whenever sensible people talk about removing AFSPA, the top brass of army raise a hue and cry, the very same top brass whose corruption is a bigger threat to the jawans than the repeal of this act. I am told today there are twenty security personals for every civilian in Kashmir. They are immune to any criminal proceedings for human rights violation. Some might argue that there is a provision under some act or other but for heavens sake is it really practical. Some argue that our soldiers are already under lots of stress and adding the stress of criminal proceedings is not done. I am too biased and emotionally and psychologically scarred to say something impartial on the matter but I do try to give myself a high moral ground supporting higher wages and better facilities for the soldiers of the nation. I believe RR Patil should be hanged before Kasab for the death of Hemant Karkare. But then I have a lot of beliefs some rational.some nonsensical and some utterly comical.

In the end what I want to say is that we have lost over fifty young man in Kashmir due to stone pelting if at all they were allowed to pelt stones maybe we would have lost a few buildings, a few buses a few cars but it would have been far more preferable.

On footnote : after I have left Assam, the militants started colliding with ministers and killing innocents. I was aghast at the happenings but somehow it was easier to hate them and want them to die than the feeling of despair on being vulnerable at the hands of your supposed protectors.

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Hobbies, life, materialistic philosophy

When (a+b)^2 is not quite a^2+b^2+2ab

It has been sometime since the consistent underachiever Spain announced themselves as the true heir of the art called beautiful game. In the days gone by many updates have changed on Facebook, many tweets have been replicated , many tears shed and many decibel violated. In the midst of all these many millions have been made.

May be, we human beings are unlike any other animal or maybe in essence we are still beasts for we go to great lengths to be entertained . We pay magicians to belittle our intelligence, gladiators to kill, and Russell Peters to tell us that we are dick-heads. As times have changed, some forms of entertainment have been condemned to the dark alleys of secrecy under the garb of changing moral values while new forms have crept up to play with the same old neurons.What stays rooted in the midst of this tempest of change is our need to be entertained.

If our lifetimes is any yardstick, competitive sports as a form of entertainment is ancient so is the art form defined by people faking emotions and actions as envisioned by people we call writers. Another fact that binds these interracial twins is that the economics that sometimes shadows and beacons them have been great advances in media. I doubt if any person reading this post has not been to a movie or has not watched the live/deferred live telecast of ones favourite sport.

Having applied the base paint, it is now time for me to reflect on another of mans innovation. We like to classify things, rather we need to classify things. We like to create order in the midst of chaos. Perhaps this carnal need to classify things is what makes us classify movies into genres. We have action movies, romantic ones, fiction, horror and the likes and the unlikes.

This post of mine is largely inspired by the common thread that runs through all great sport movies. We love the underdogs to win against the odds Bhuvan, chak de, rocky or the mixed pro football team of the movie I consider the best sports picture “Remember the titans”. A further rumination on the matter leads me to realise that our fascination and adoration for the underdog violates the very foundation of the fourth wall. We rejoice when Bangladesh beat Australia, some unknown player wins the Wimbledon and what not. This is more true for sports where we are more than literally neutral.Usain Bolt stealing the thunder of Americans and making underdogs out of the Americans or a brawn GP winning F1 in its  first attempt do have its kicks.

Having meandered a lot in the course of this post,it is now time for me to economize on words . With the increase in eyeballs that follow soccer, it has become much more than a game for some poor goal keeper it can actually be a matter of life and death . I apologise to his departed soul for making him a common noun, and in keeping with  my vow to blog only from memory, I shall delve no deeper into the matter.  In this years finals Dutch were the obvious underdogs. Yet, somehow i would have hated if they had won for they did not play beautiful. In the finals, the conduct of the dutch can be best explained as a players who had an inception that football is nothing but playing kick boxing outside the ring. All over the world, the pundits and the laggards(me included) blasted the Dutch. But there lies the paradox that haunts me, it was probably the only shot at immortality the dutch guys had. They needed to do something to sweeten the sad memories of a nation twice rejected at the altar. They chose to embrace the wrath of zillions of people glued to their TV screens. They risked it all. They were playing a loose-loose game. If they won they would be vilified, if they lost, their defeat would be celebrated rather than consoled. At some points, I think they deserved to get the support any underdog gets and then I just fail to support them for any second, the only emotion I have for them is hatred.

It would be somewhat unjust for me to click on publish without a contradicting feeling I have been having. Maybe in some fictional finals of an awesome movie I would root for the same kind of football played by the dutch. Bringing in more money to the formula that binds all sports movies

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