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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materialistic philosophy

Emotionally unresearched and (il)logically argued

It was not so long ago I had a conversation in the canteen below my office which meandered from imperfections to human thinking to randomness of random number generators to evolution in the context of randomness. Somehow, today as I start writing another of my philosophical blogs, I take refuge in evolution to talk about some of the resent happenings of India. Based on human knowledge of evolution it seems human species is the pinnacle of the race of survival of the fittest. It is wounded in our DNA structure to protect ourselves or at least pretend to ourselves to protect ourselves. That is probably the reason why even a person who tries to commit suicide always welcomes help. It is probably a decision taken out of our illogical part of our mind. Why do I say this when I say that I write this blog as a response to recent happenings? This is because somehow my mind does not conform to both mainstream and extremist reactions to the recent grenade attacks in Kashmir.

Now that I have unveiled what made me write.It is perhaps time to mention why does some random comment of probably one of the few parts of India I have never visited bother me, a person born in Assam, lived in Assam, Delhi, Bengal, Andhra(/Telangana), Tamil Nadu (?). For the sake of self-satisfaction, I left the question inside the quote for it gives me immense pleasure to phrase the sentence “I chose to take liberty in my punctuation for my answer lies in the question.”

Assam is one of the states that still has the AFSPA enforced although arguably it is today one of the most peaceful states in India in terms of people killed in terrorist violence. As I grew up, my brain and living memory had been permanently scared by the memories of “Secret Killings”. The killings which were according to a judicial commission by Justice Saikia were perpetuated by ex C.M. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.Whenever I think of AFSPA, I remember my solitary bicycle ride on the streets of Dibrugarh, after people protesting some recent deaths of two individuals one of them being my ex classmate at school. People say they saw who killed the protesters. But till today nothing has happened.

Funny, may be a very incongruous word, but death does alter the memories towards a person for whom you never had a very positive emotion. Dheeraj was never a great friend of mine at school, it would not be wrong to say we were acquaintance rather than friends but then hearing about his death when I was in class 9 was shocking. For a sheltered teenager, death only strikes old people. While I was in the same house another day altered my subconscious. These were the screams of my neighbor. Assam is very unlike rest of India and we follow a different version of Hinduism and Islam. We were Hindu and our neighbor was Muslim.This neighbor was also a distant relative. It was a love marriage between one of my hindu uncle and an aunt in this family. I would not say we were very distant but we were not very close either. One day, the small kids in the house were crying. Did I say crying? Maybe I am wrong,they were wailing, somehow some of those screams still ring in my ear. They say Army had picked up their father and their uncle. A few days later their mutilated corpse was found. They say they belonged to MULFA (a fundamentalist Muslim terrorist organization). Maybe, they were terrorist, but till date I can’t convince myself of that.

AFSPA and disturbed areas act have no place in a country where citizens are free. It seems more farcical today when terrorism can strike anywhere. Citizens living under the shadow of terrorism are anyways victimized why should be victimized more. Somehow, if a terrorist kills a person I love, I know I can fight back against the enemy by hopefully voting for a candidate who will go after them. If I have enough determination,may be I can join the system and fight the evil. But if some organ of government kills or does not do enough to remove false doubts, it is kind of helpless situation.

Now where do I tie all that I have written together. I will diverge from the common thread tying all my posts. I am not going to end with an open-ended question. I am going to just preach something that I can’t argue for logically: AFSPA is just the fertilizer terrorism needs to breed more terrorist. I shall give no research, no logical arguments just naked emotional memories.

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Hobbies, kaygeepee, life, my life, philosophical me, reflections of time

Ruminations on the years gone by

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones” : William Shakespeare.

A fictional piece intended to raise raw emotions in a mob inclined on forgetting the treachery enacted in the corridors of power of Rome. Like everything written by Shakespeare, you can interpret these exhibits of superhuman wizardry over words to suit you needs. I too indulged in the same. There are moments in our life that make us inexplicably happy, makes us want to scream in joy loud enough to snap our vocal chords so that those joyous screams get mortalized as the last sound vibe emanating from out mundane existence.

As i enact those moments in my conscious and sub conscious minds, i cannot fail to appreciate the single thread that binds those moments together is the element of surprise. There is no such thing as a pleasant surprise.

The earliest such surprise that my Alzheimer free brain can think of dates back to the early nineties- 1994 to be precise- I was in class three. Had not achieved much till then. was a mediocre at school who somehow managed to get a double promotion. Was the opposite of being an athlete. My only claim to fame probably was that I was the cutest person in the co-ed school. We had a 10 minutes break after two classes. My cheeks used to ache after that. In fact one of my teacher remarked that i am only fair guy in my class much to the displeasure of a few of my classmates. So coming to the pleasant surprise. I was asked by one of our neighbours to go and watch a quiz competition. The quiz was open to students up to class 8. So, I went. I thing led to another and I found myself participating in a team with another guy from class five. The quiz was a written one. So, the results were not declared immediately. Guess what we were third by getting five out of 30 questions right :D. The winner had around 20 questions right. But boy my joy knew no bounds !!!That certificate remains the most wrinkled piece of paper I still treasure. I got many a certificates after that but that one remains special.

Next surprise fast forwards my life to 2002. I was in Assam then- upper Assam. I just heard of IIT a year back and wanted to get in. But nobody I knew any of the interiors of any of the IITs. I had a row with my best friend that year. So, had spent the better part of the year trying to find out how to get into IIT. For a reality check, I though I should give NTSE exam. I was a student of the state board and the scholastic part of the NTSE was from CBSE board. And like JEE, nobody I knew had cleared NTSE. Anyways I gave the exam. I had no faith in the way our answer scripts were going to be corrected in class 10th boards. This lack of faith was vindicated when my entire school was awarded 66 in English. I gave NTSE so that I can back my claim that my state board sux in evaluation. On the day I was leaving for Delhi to apply for schools, I read the paper. The paper had my name. I was fourth in the state. prelim of NTSE So, I left for Delhi armed with evidence that my state board sux. Moreover, our state had a reputation for declaring results late rather late.

My life in kgp revolved around extra acads- kshitj, tech gc ,placement committee work and alumni cell- necessarily in that order :D. When I joined kshitj or ktj as we affectionately call it. It was not so big as it is today. I was primarily involved in events in Ktj but the biggest surprise came in spons. Me and chuha went to Delhi for our DP trip. DP as in Durga Puja– this trip is the time when we go out with a begging bowl to organize the fest that has become a phenomenon now. The year before the entire member team had collected around 20 k. Not even a single penny came from Delhi. Me and chuha were given target of 20 k from Delhi. By that time our entire member team had collected 2k from one months worth of calling. With modest hopes, I landed in Delhi and within an hr of my reaching Delhi, i started cannibalizing SF(:D)- the cult fest our bigger brother back then. By afternoon I had 8 k. Chuha had arrived by then, we then decided to meet one alum who was not so inclined on giving us money. I don’t know what struck me but i started talking to him about an ad. Chuha was getting frustrated by my side thinking we lost the money – why will someone sponsor us after hearing the nonsense i was blubbering. But I was in the midst of a Midas touch then and he backed me adding a few more nonsensical sentences.When I had finished, we got a cheque of 15 k. We had achieved our trips target in one day. We somehow held our nerves for a few moments and once beyond the visible range of Mr. Subhash Kalia – we indulged in mad celebrations. We got many more sponsorship deals – probably bigger in volume but first time surprise tastes sweet.

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