It’s CURIOSITY that takes you places not EDUCATION
Those who desire to rise as high as human condition allows MUST renounce
The intellectual pride…
The omnipotence of clear thinking…
Absolute belief in human logic…
Let Me Win! If I can’t win then let me be brave in that attempt.
REBELLION like CHARITY must also begin at home.
My nectar is my choice
My choice is my poison
My poison in my body
My body is my right
My right is my truth
My truth is my sanity
My sanity is my power
My power is my struggle
My struggle is my will
My will is my meaning
My meaning is my mind
My mind is my life
My life is my business.
There is no greater waste than a revolutionary idea being discounted for its ability to shake minds and souls to the core. PK is one exemplary case of ‘intellect-on-sale’ offer by so called coming of age Bollywood. There is no doubt that presentation of the movie was incredulous into keeping the film creative, light and funny. But much to an atheist’s dismay, PK fails to nail the coffin of institutionalized religion with a sensible, sincere and most importantly, a courageous response to the apparently argument between faith and reason. In its little ways, the movie managed to bring about the idea of ‘Godless individuality’ out in the open but missed highly into stirring the societies we live in by asking bold and honest questions around –
- The quest to understand why atheism is considered a taboo or a depressed psychology rather than a reasonable, creative and constructive approach towards life.
- The validity of the scale we use to measure the richness of a life in present against the promising but unknown eternal redemption.
- The weight in the proposition that man, even after centuries of evolution, is still a wild, raw animal to the core who just happens to possess a genius brain.
- The evidence that free will, every organized or non-organized religion stands on, is an illusion.
- And above all that absolution, we, miserably loyal victims of ‘meaning’ chase throughout life, is a curse and not a blessing.
What a shame that reason, tallest of all the faculties, still has to walk through the petty ordeals over superstitious and fictional realms. It should be overwhelming for anyone to figure out that God is not just a standalone figure but a comprehensive system carved by mankind in time and space to define the way we live. We identify with this system as religion in order to adopt and adapt accordingly. Debates stamping the religions with disgust for only serving ulterior motives and not for defying common sense, is alluring only to a halfwit. Some socially weird animals including me, are always interested in pushing the idea a little further. A disconnect with religion, ideally and immediately calls for a quest to define either a substitute or an arrangement that works likewise but stays compatible to our knowledge and understanding of not only God but our understanding of God as well. And the process to figure out such system is taxing to psychological health of any individual and rightfully so. Until, one honestly commits himself to investigate God for its existence without compromising over psychological benefits of its essence, one can never expect to revolutionize the change we wish to see by disconnecting mankind only with religion and not any further. Thus the position where one is distanced from religion yet claims to be in better proximity of God, is only a temporary provision.
It is pity to observe that readily available spiritual maneuvering and growing intellectual bankruptcy has almost destroyed the curiosity quotient, man was born blessed with. The larger skeptic community out there today is more concerned about the truth that is well synchronized to the needs of the followers of truth. And there is only one theory that communicates with him in the same language. The theory of causality, the spinning wheel that sets off every universal force, physical or psychological in nature. Although the film does initiate the dialogue as a fresh beginning, the ‘Almost Nowhere’ journey of PK could have been much more if it took a reasonable stand for PK and his alien godless clan’s functionality by giving evidence of their sound emotional, spiritual and physical strengths to connect with even exotic creatures. It was an in-between, incomplete proposition that didn’t walk the extra mile to find answers around God as an identity than God as a utility, which could have been far more revealing. Its high time we rise ourselves and question the institution of not just religion but the institution we know as God, as well. After all what is there to create if God made it all?
I am an introvert, so you can be sure I am better at words for paper than people and so it’s my obligation to reciprocate the excitement brought on at the event with depths of experiences as a thanksgiving gesture. You may think what was an introvert doing at an exciting, chaotic event full of non-sensical sense. Simple! so she can add a new dimension to her very limited space of people and passions.
That’s what clubs, social events and networks do. They create hope for weird, crazy guys that they are not alone. That world is full of weirder souls and should be full of madness and chaos to survive ageing us.
My experience of attending first ever Indiblogger meet began as day-dreaming possibilities of how social clubs of bloggers and writers may connect. Would I be able to identify faces who I until now knew as words and will there be someone who would come to me and say “Hey! I like your blog, lets work together to create better” and so on. I understand, it is a little too much to ask but then what’s wrong with wishful thinking. However, I am glad for I spending the day wisely.
Every journey begins with taking little steps and so did mine. Little is the word that works precisely enough to describe my experience. Little is enough for me to start, to keep inspired and stay happily motivated. I guess that’s how Indiblogger was born.
As a reader you should be able to comprehend my excitement when I tell you that despite being a foodie, I did not take on the tempting lunch organized by Indiblogger. I was thick with fantasies so I didn’t feel like eating. Too eager for the event to start.
And there was my first ever Indiblogger Meet
As a warming up exercise, all of us were required to click maximum selfies with fellow bloggers to win a merchandise and it not-so-gently broke up ice in the room boiling with anticipations 😉 It wasn’t enough to make me jump out of chair, still I participated. Well, I am an introvert remember! Some guy made it 22 emotionally beating the runner up when he lost by 4 selfies. So where is the fun part? For others, it was in clicking selfies, for me it was in twitter posts where they blasted their emotions. Mr 22 and Mr 18 became permanent enemies when loser had its sweet-anger poured over twitter asking the champion to get out of the room. That was pure fun for me! 🙂
Next, we were asked to design the cheapest world-travel route using Skyscanner, a web application that helps travelers finding ideal destinations under ideal expenses. The application with the exciting features was quick to download. And so we took on the challenge with exotic locations presented as funny clues. While we were all lost hard in winning, I couldn’t stop thinking about how excellently Skyscanner and Indiblogger came up with the strategy to promote their products and that was the best-instant use of social media I have ever seen. Skyscanner was successful in ensuring the crowds download the mobile version, learn it, use and keep using it. Indiblogger engaged the spirits as they spilled over their passions through blogging because rewards were freaking pure lust, air tickets for passionate travellers. Travel was the high theme of the event and rightfully so! I am sure, the strategy would work wonderfully for Skyscanner in making more followers.
High tea was perfectly blended with creamy delicacies and strong flavors to get-set-go the passionate travelers share their unique travel experiences. One could easily sense their gestures and voices spoke pure meditation. This is what travel is about, transcending people, places and us to get closer in a real sense.
Let’s see what I took home –
1. I learnt a new word – ‘Selfie’. Embarrassing it may sound but for an old not- at-all techno-geek, it was a nice way to get introduced.
2. I learnt how events and social media can get as instant and as real into connecting and benefiting communities.
3. I realized how judgemental-us can rise above the walls we create for selves and scout opportunities that may come as new people or newer us.
4. I met with wonderful people with whom I look forward for possible endeavors.
5. I got a T-Shirt and back-pack bag by Skyscanner. Only if I could actually get it, I wrongly took the right size home which unfairly fit my husband and he just cannot stop teasing me for the new shirt 😉
6. I took home a content, happy and quiet girl who may be has found place for meeting the right sort of people who value what they believe, create and inspire.
I am thankful to Indiblogger and Skyscanner for inspiring a dull, boring, introvert soul taking little steps to big worlds of writing and blogging.
By the way, that little girl to your right in black is me!
Lost in books
I find us between the lines
You nod with me
For the world we see
In time on paper
Our marks are carved
Words lay yellow
But silence bleeds red
Lost on my walk
I feel us in rhymes
In timeless melodies
There we were
In magical strings
Here we are
We gave ways
To their celebrations
In their pain
They sang our passions
Lost in movies
I find us in stories
In vulnerable shades
There we hurt
In freedom battles
Here we forgive
With our imagination
They paint the globe
With our aspirations
They know the unknown
Lost in world
I find us in sisters & brothers
Bonded in blood
Spaces away from each other
In silly fights
There we were
In troubling times
Here we are
In ruthless jobs
They note my fall
In divine quests
You see my soul
Lost I am
For I am you
I wander with winds
They may take me to you
“The worst moment for an atheist is when he is finally thankful and has no body to thank for” – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I am not a legacy person, never will be. Legacies fail me always. For one more time, I am losing in bits and pieces perhaps the biggest legacy one acquires over the life time. Legacy of faith, belief and meaning or better put together, God. Awakening is usually a high feeling, an ecstasy pill but the journey from believing to not believing is filled with overwhelming depressive sights and no intellectually tempting signs or curves are good enough for a loner amidst a tricky maze who has almost decided that there is no ultimate destination he should be seeking in the first place. As it happens, rarely though, that we find something unique and fundamental about ourselves and when we do, we owe it to us to rediscover the discovery for its consistency and validity.The magic gets twice the charm if one discovers it on his own, first hand and not under any influentially rich or divine literature. I am glad for experiencing a definitive transformation as I interrogate my existence as an individual in a natural realm, nothing more nothing less.
Lately, I have come to realize that valency of my or anyone else’s conscious, unconscious actions, motivated, repelled or liberated from any value-system, does not equate with any defined code written in religious or social philosophies. By philosophies I particularly mean ‘Moksha’ and by ‘we’ I incidentally mean me. There is no system governed by any spiritual or divine being who is there to maintain records of humanity-gone-wild and consequentially, there is no entity we know as God. It’s only causality that makes the world go round. This is a note from a real person who in her sound mind, health and spirit is seeking a non-epistemological, non-scientific but radically experiential view that God does not exist other than as a comfort.
It begins with memories of time when I was raw and real than I would ever be. I whole heartedly deny that we create memories consciously, it is however memories that go on to define us. I remember reading a very interesting quotation in the newspaper long ago. I think it was by Plato. I was in our modestly put drawing room, sitting on a dying sofa facing the fading pink walls to feel the impact , ‘stimulating’, I said and it read -“He must be a wise man who invented God”. I was just enough grown up to give benefit of doubt to the idea of godless individuality. Memories from playful childhood and tough teenage years are still all over the place and there I am, a young soul between old chaps, caught up in a group of grandparents of our neighborhood who would gather at night after dinner, reading sacred quotes from Bhagwadgeeta to them. I remember doing it quite often. I agree it is not usual for a teenager to extend intellectual wisdom to old as an act of charity. Ordinary I was but I guess weird too! One lazy summer afternoon, I reached home with heavy load of books and found ‘Sampoorna Mahabharata’, one of the credits of well-defined CBSE education for eighth graders. I finished it off in a couple of hours like a child wanting to finish the story leaving behind morals to follow him in future. I think it was the beginning that set me on the course to the concept of ideal and absolute and I bought it pretty well. It is funny to think that there was an innocent me in time, scared of ‘Hanuman’ getting mad over me for ignoring him while singing bhajans for other deities at the local temple, which was just because all throughout until very recently, ‘Krishna’ was my favorite. Also that they literally fry evil people in hell which further reminds me how well guarded I was by my value system into not hurting or cheating people. I would vividly imagine of standing in front of a divine being reading my Karma log book in front of people who I cheated or lied to, asking me to provide explanation in front of them. 🙂
I anyway ended up in hurting and lying to many people throughout. If any of this at all is true, I am in trouble already!
My memories serve me well in connecting the dots between how layers of conditioning shaped my value system and how experiences both worldly & intellectual, are coming to derange it. I owe it to myself to contemplate over the fundamentals lying beneath this change. This post is a way to document the transition. It may come in handy you never know! What I know is, I believe in sudden transformations, definitive incidences where individual’s dormant identity gets revived by an unexpected event altering his entire line of ideology. (Actually the alteration begins way before we know it. An event is just a boiling point where conventional wisdom melts and parallel, alternative ideologies culminate and take over). It is a proof that conditioning is inferior to the inherent ‘Id’ (as Sigmund Freud portrays) and just another reflection into how humans are vulnerable to find meaning in almost every event they go through in life. It is surprisingly extreme when that individual happens to be a Hindu for whom the theory of ‘Karma and Moksha’ is written all across his deliverables like a holy anthem. So, I have some serious concerns about how my past around this theory, conveniently shaped my thoughts and actions and how important is it for me to contain the collateral damage as soon as possible. This is just where scope of my development lies as it makes me wonder, why we do not seek truth or more importantly sense in Karma or Moksha before blindly accepting it as the sole answer to human’s destiny. These concerns can’t be ignored easily and it is high time when I should be consciously looking for the genesis of this transformation.
We all understand God not for its nature but for the infinite fear or excitement in what he represents. Moksha or Karma is one of the reasons, God is treated as ‘God’ in India. For us there is no difference between the two.
Chicken or Egg?
The quotation I mentioned before serves as a philosophical problem of innumerable implications. Who invented whom? Human invented God or God invented him? Let me be more brutal, human defines meaning or meaning defines him? The battleground for this universal debate will unfairly continue to exist independently of the outcome, CERN’s ‘God’s Particle’ claims to solve. Any explanation aimed at solving cosmic puzzle for the sake of atheism, will never satisfy individual’s thirst for meaning which by inference takes meaning to even higher level than God himself. After all, if God created man or the entire universe to mean something, then by inference, meaning should be the reason for God’s own existence. The ‘meaning’ thus elevates the spiritual periphery further to the top spot in the sacred hierarchy.
And there begins the gradual but dramatic collapse of my institutionalized individuality. Why I believed in God in first place, well the answer is simple. I didn’t have a choice. It was a legacy gifted to me so I make something novel out of this installment of birth. Layers of rituals and traditions set outright since life begins in a womb till washed away in Ganges, delicately penetrate the idea of afterlife and re-birth deep inside us to be our fundamental worries and concerns and I was no exception. (If you think either of your parents or on-the-way mentors introduced the idea of God like a one-on-one counseling session, you are underestimating the depth of conditioning). Institutions, formal or informal played their roles handsomely to craft an ideal human out of a man who in absence of this faculty is a loose cannon, dedicated to destroy himself. In a nutshell, a moral code was cultivated to ensure that mission human-life is accomplished.
So we see there, how religion cunningly established a direct and intense connect between morality and God. Thereby implying Moksha as a guarantee to our elevation to the supreme. Well, I am no expert of any religion but I have tried to understand its hypothesis with a reasonable level of intelligence and I have some real questions that were never answered. “Why I should believe in God?” or “How the idea of God serves my individual instincts?” If you naively think that believing in God makes us or for that matter me, a morally superior being, state of our nation or that of the world is a living testimony that morality has nothing to do with religion and they can function independently of each other. In fact, in that scenario, their synergy is exemplary!
My speciousness towards Moksha stems from the restriction it implies over my ability to think, feel, behave and deliver as a human but not being humanly at the same time. I am a young adult and my experiences obviously are younger but there is a strange clause with Moksha that never allows me to age with experiences. Moksha is the philosophy of true realization and liberation that comes from self-consciousness. But the slope gets real slippery here. How should I see ‘self’? Find ‘self to find God’ is a way too protective notion. If ‘self’ is already elaborated in the balance books up there then I am by inference, denying the existence of other variations in the equation. How judgement for example does not influence my actions or in-actions. Fear or excitement, it seems, become the only constants in the equation of life manipulating the truth and how does that not disturb the process of true realization? Liberation pursued under a command in itself is an oxymoron.
But what if one consciously does not believe in God as a deity? God serving others as a written code with no shape, no form but still a divine force who created all, is a trickier proposition. This God is an abstract whose existence depends on how one decodes the message. In short, we define him and not the vice-versa. But why? Why God at all?
Ever heard of Dusk Meer’s struggle about chasing a fragrance all through and its ignorance that it itself is it.
What makes God so real is human’s innate inability to fathom the terrifying idea that his existence is mortal, temporary and will vanish one day. That, whether he likes it or not he is the most intellectual being in the universe and there is no mentor he can seek to evolve further. By inventing ‘afterlife’ he is merely satisfying his fantasy where he still exists, as a dust or some spiritual element doesn’t matter as long as he is alive. It is a pity indeed to be a giver all the time, to remain a professor all this while who is desperate to become a student for once, desperate to find a closure with a valid report card that he has done well, finally. He has evolved from a natural man into a super-man. He has become God.
Unless, if God re-emerges in the debate as a magical creature with infinite powers.This is where almost all give up their argument in favor of an imagination. Beneath the magic lies the idea of a power that can play with nature’s rules at ease of will. Believing in magic is like surrendering to a rationally confused psyche that is creative but does not care enough to provide the very answer around the ‘non-sense’ in the concept of redemption.
Individual experiences across the world reveal terrifying tales of people who have experienced evil and thus God in-directly. I am a novice here and certainly not a snob who is committed to defame God but this imagination benefits me in exploring one absurd fantasy. What if ‘God’ is evil? Powerful, merciful, supreme but evil. To deduce the equation to one constant i.e. evil, we eliminate the natural attributes mankind is blessed with; honesty, goodness and kindness. So we end up identifying God through our natural attributes. But mankind nature’s is a grey package. Greed and corruption are written below the ‘conditions apply’ section. So why we never put these labels across God? I guess, we seek our evolution in a noble, supreme God because evil is not seen noble in a conventional retrospective setting of values.
‘Super-natural God’ as an inspiration for man, is a bottomless pit where we can never transcend our natural instincts to accomplish a fantasy super-natural man. Natural means entities defined by the law of nature where limitations are essential for his survival.
How ‘magical’ expects ‘natural’ to travel a journey that God himself covered under magical powers. No matter how deep one digs, it only gets confusing further and farther. Ever heard of a God without magical powers. Never! Imagine if mankind had one God that didn’t have magical attributes. How our lineage and heritage would have shaped?!
I do not believe in superstitious rituals or evil but it does not mean I am not afraid of possibilities of its existence. Hell I am! Which brings me back to human’s love for fear of God. ‘What one does not know is what he fears the most’ fits right as yet another definition of him. While science was yet to empower human with reasons and not miracles, mankind had already invented God. God became the only refuge to surrender his existence, a survival kit he carried for generations. The gap between discovery of God and science is a giant leap we are yet to cover. Fear or excitement towards a possible afterlife, is too tempting to de-condition God’s influence.
Struggle of a new born atheist!
Well as far as fear is concerned, I am human and my instincts make me cautious for threat and pain equally as for truth and ecstasy, not as much as, in fact way less. Torn by a constant tug-of-war between what I have believed all life and what I am coming to understand crystal clear, is a difficult spot to be in. A long stay in a no man’s land is not only depressing but also taking away my constructive nature to build a new perspective of life. God still exists in my habits, conversations, opinions, even fantasies. I still fear dark spaces. I have never said it to God’s face that I am an atheist or dared him to prove his existence. Like I said, I am a poor bird who has been set free but is scared of flying into woods.
Of all the atheists across the world, struggle for a Hindu atheist is way more savaging and holistic. Asking a hindu to delete God from his life is like asking him to become invisible. Deleting God means to emerge out naked from layers of culture wrapped around his personality.
The real challenge here is how to pursue the journey being an atheist. Surviving a godless journey means dis-connect from purpose, peace and accomplishment, obviously intellectual. No purpose means a dis-interest in life’s higher ambitions, no records, no end-point, no destination, no road leading nowhere, in short a sucking life. A depressing journey.
Can I survive a journey that has no meaningful end? I think I can and I must. On to atheism, my individuality is a loyal companion and it doesn’t leave when it pours. It emerges even stronger as a guide to help me not only survive human life but also live it well too. It didn’t catch me off-guard but social implications of being an atheist are way more helpful in raising my bars. This turn-around from God also took me more close to the fact that Karma is not at a religious or spiritual philosophy but the genesis of the causal-cycle. It is the basic drive that runs the universe. It is the deduced meaning and ruthless acceptance of religious fables around this brilliant concept that destroys its true integrity. Being an atheist allows me to take responsibility of my actions and see things for what they are and not accept them over the face value of Karma. Although my disgust with the theory began much early as I kept observing families, friends and neighbors’ extreme addiction to relate success, failure, gains and loss with how they performed in previous birth, it became permanent all along while my work took me to visit vulnerable regions of India and interview people for their share of sadness and plight. While they were right in blaming government for its failure to listen their stories, Karma usually appeared as the end title.
It is like the umbilical cord between afterlife and this birth is never cut-off for an Indian.
So, here I am, an atheist in making, searching for a way forward and I see there is a scope to evolve further even while I remain divorced from God.
I know atheism will test me for if my awakening is delusional or enveloped around a loss that could have been spared. I hope it does! In any case I will be at benefit as it will only bring me closer to real me.
The only consolation in taking God back into my life will be a blessing in disguise. I will know that Ishaan is up there in good hands and I will see him someday.
Note: This is a personal perspective towards atheism and does not intend to hurt feelings of those who believe in God in any way.
“The idea is to die young as late as possible. ”
Some people are blessed to bluntly refuse accepting non-sense from social monkeys. Their novelty is too sacred to be contaminated with such disasters.
I was reminded of the fact yet again by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Other than being a popular masterpiece, the book is unique in reflecting upon how walls can preserve sanity of someone exposed to systematic trauma of a prudent, confused and way much occupied society. (The Metamorphosis is about sudden and literal transformation of human form into a giant insect and how he and his family survives it). Metamorphosis leads Gregor Samsa (the protagonist) through a laborious process of surviving do-ability of human conscience locked in the body of an insect, fixating him intellectually. As Gregor’s confinement-misery consistently falls short to ever pending petty jobs of a family obsessed with the idea of fiscal prosperity, his transformation suffers an oversight throughout and I became interested in finding about how he gains endurance and resilience at any point if at all.
As soon as I finished first few pages, the book began to make sense. However, it is painful and ironical about the time I read The Metamorphosis.
The Room, a central figure reappearing in Kafka’s novels, is a place for people who are alone but not lonely.
I know as I saw someone living in that room. My brother, Ishaan.
A gifted writer and aspiring theatre artist, Ishaan built his ivory tower in the same room. Compulsions from family, friends and society to never reach him, he immunized his genius through these walls. Two sides of the walls; two different personas of Ishaan and we hardly got to know either one.
The Room’s interiors were neat, organized and chaotic as they attempt to contain ever-expansive and ideal worlds of arts, literature, sports, music and abstract. Books and lots of books that will take years to grow up with, movie-collection that will scratch you to the farthest of believable illusions of your world, curiosity and challenging semantics gave Ishaan his share of peace and wonder. Drama, humor, comedy, philosophy, auto-biographies of Tagore, Chaplin, Hitler and Tolstoy were precious gems and he often cited quotes and instances for me.
What’s common between the two room-mates is misfortune in form of the confinement born out of the need for desperate escape from mechanical and creatively rotten orientation towards life. Imagining plight of a creative soul burdened with conservative ideologies of leading a life, is not difficult. We face it quite often but not to the point that drives us to confinement as it did to Ishaan. Past, present and future of Ishaan’s life were rooted deep into his room. Like Gregor’s, Ishaan’s family except his sisters, was oblivious to the frustration their son faced almost always by being born for intellectual pleasures of life and not monetary.
Locked and on-watch all the time, room is all alone as his master lives no more. He died on 8 November last year after struggling with renal failure for a year. Tormented by his memories, his family recently vacated the house and his soul, books. As we were vacating, we saw Ishaan’s favorite quotation hidden below the wallpapers:
“Status for absolution shall be prioritized to death over life, curiosity and chaos.”
It’s like he knew his time will be up soon.
It was Ishaan who introduced Kafka to me years before, if only I knew he will introduce my brother back to me. A brother who deserved to be understood more, supported more and above all to be alive more.
Lesson in the loss.
What’s left is his books, few regrets and life-long struggle to deal with this huge loss. As painful as it could be for a family to come to terms with death of the only son is crushing. We never knew his e-mail Ids, Facebook account or for that matter, the fact that he was in the middle of finishing a book. He hated shopping and always kept a low profile with simple clothing and goofy humor. All his lifetime, he asked me for a couple of things including a PlayStation and a bag. I bought it for him. What would you call it other than a cruel and barbaric irony that back in time, I was shopping for a bag that will contain my brother soon to be transformed into ashes and dust. He used to leave from home with the bag over the shoulders and ear phones plugged in. In the end, the same bag carried him (Ishaan’s ashes) to Ganges.
I knew he was brilliant and talented enough to make it some day to mainstream cinema or publishing world. I grew up on the belief or more of a fantasy that people gifted with such remarkably rare talents reach their rightful place sooner or later, are immortal and certainly earn their name long before they say goodbye. Gifts that Ishaan possessed ought to serve a purpose and so I hoped for his D-Day could realize any time soon, so did the others who knew him close and believed he was destined to go places.
And may be this was my mistake, I thought Ishaan like others will lead a grand life. But…
Unfortunately and very cruelly, I was brought down to a brutal reality that for death, all are equally perishable. To this day, it’s difficult to believe that he is gone and I will never have a single conversation with him again. Although being a non-believer, it became an urge to browse internet for afterlife, heaven and hell to find out if there is any truth in the world beyond ours and if it is, where is Ishaan now?
Loosing a loved one wounds a soul forever. In a strange way, I loose him everyday as I learn more and more about our mortality as the ultimate truth. As I held his ashes and remains, what I felt was more than a usual sense of touch, a horrible and nerve-wrecking experience that was Ishaan. Life is one big trickster, en-circling creative souls in mechanical routines, it’s crushing, painful tricks work every time when I realize that my grief isn’t about loosing a brother or loosing the only happiness of my parents, it is much more deeper. It is about loosing a mirror. Like a mentor has lost his precious protege, a writer lost his inspiration or a sage has lost the possibility of a beautiful conversation with a beautiful soul for ever.
But all of it is bearable with the only exception of the fact that Ishaan never got to experience life’s little cherishing episodes. He never fell in love, never went through the pain of a break-up, never felt what’s its like to drink irresponsibly and behave madly. Didn’t travel and explore how sun, moon and stars shine out there. Never laid down on foreign soils and knew how earth smells in exotic places. Didn’t get the chance to explore wilderness of nature. Couldn’t finish his guitar lessons or sang along on long drives. How could time be this unfair to such a decent soul, crushes my hope always when it comes to believe in anything.
The pain of not being able to live the life we want for being stuck in one plane throughout is terrifying and I have lost the companion who was my inspiration for freedom. And I emerge as a legendary loser when his lively absence makes me feel that a person who was just an ordinary relative to me was closer than whole of the universe and it’s too late to understand him, respect him, adore him. All I can do is miss him and that’s what I do.
Endless calculations of how we could have averted this sadness out of our lives follow me always. What eventually went wrong as I read and continue to read more and more about fatal Sepsis or chronic kidney failure that Ishaan died of? How and where it began? My confused brain tries hard to figure out how to conclude the quantum of fate and chance mechanics. Things just do not seem to add up. Nihilism is more than just a theory and reason is the new perspective that needs to guide the definitions of good or bad.
Death is a part of life. The idea of time as the only real currency never made sense any better.
All that I learn everyday is that Ishaan is gone!
Ishaan died young quite literally!
Writing this post and taking it out, feeling exposed and naked in front of people is terrible but sort of compulsive. It works best for someone like me to express what otherwise is suffocating. So is the overwhelming feeling that every time I watch a movie, read a book or write something, I miss him. When I reach home, there is no one to participate in my happiness and excitement or understand my language of intuitive communication I shared with Ishaan. What’s even worse is, peace and accomplishment I derive from writing and uptaking cinematic excellence, is the only way to find myself.
We all have limited time, do not ruin it in doing something you are simply not meant for and more importantly not asking or expecting the same from others.
I am a conscious, independent and liberal woman. I take pride in my ability to have defined my identity by taking the most sensitive and controversial decisions. The road to becoming me often tested my patience and tolerance for male chauvinism but I turned out fine until that one moment when my soul was bruised by the savaging act of rape. I am a survivor with a spine of steel. While I may win legal battles, wear out social norms, I strive to explain what I lost in that moment.
If only they knew, what they take away from us!
Another gang rape hits the town. A young medical student on way back home after a refreshing evening, charters a private bus and much to her dismay, is raped and brutally assaulted by a group of six men.
Overwhelmed by the barbaric nature of the assault, the incident cited irrepressible protests nationwide. People from every walk of life realized what Damini faced is a blind struggle every other woman faces everyday. That sisters, daughters and wives in our nation are equally vulnerable and exposed to becoming her. That it’s only a matter of chance, a sadist monster lurking around grabs a girl, demolishes her and gets away with it. What began as a protest transformed into a ‘movement-in-making’ for the right to dignity in the sexist culture of India. Unfortunately, it took more than a life to spark the fire as Damini eventually lost the battle for her life.
Damini’s death unassumingly, brought the battle between the male ego inflicted with wounds of a shattered totalitarian and womanhood changing its essence into existence, onto the fore-front of a nation’s value system struggling with the idea of her convergence. Slogans leading the debate over death penalty in rape cases have managed to make a mark and legal experts at the cross-roads of pulling up tight measures in order to stem the problem, are re-inventing the idea of capital punishment, discussing about its place in civilized and relatively tolerant societies we live in.
While everyone holds the right to have a say in the matter, no social agent can contain the sensitivity associated with the capital punishment but the victim. I wonder if she can too!
Being human and remaining humane is a challenge. It requires courage and resilience made of steel. Who would know it better than a rape victim? As she survives with the altered behavioral and emotional quotient, her real struggle lies in confronting the moment that haunts her for life-time, when dignity was stripped off her soul . The moment of helplessness that left behind scars of aggression can only be healed by bringing the perpetrators of crime to justice.
But peace is an expensive commodity. When assessed against nonchalant and diffusive mechanics of law, a rape victim nonetheless is a piece of a complex puzzle. Rapist and society are others.
As judiciary and administrative policies are being reformed to ensure safety of women in metro cities like Delhi, death penalty for rapists, is being debated to deter criminals to commit heinous crimes women across the entire nation. Astonishing it is, when I see people fail miserably to identify the real monster behind ‘Rape’. Rape, is not just a crime of passion. In Indian societies, it is deployed as a lethal weapon to humiliate delicate sexuality of women, a bulls-eye shot to avenge hurt male-ego and it will continue to remain so unless we stop feeding to sexist demons.
Punishment or Change?
A dilemma that has haunted visionaries for centuries. Questions like capital punishment as an appropriate equation to square off the anti-social elements in a society are never easy to answer. Cutting short one’s lifetime to an end moment with a broken nib can not validate the social change India needs to see. Even if we pull out similar cases (Dhananjoy Chatterjee-2004, Nikka Singh-2012) where convicts have been hanged on raping and murdering minors, teenagers or mature women in the past, we fail to establish the connect between the punishment and its scope in changing the attitude of a society. A rape victim still is treated as a neglected junk, isolated from inside-out; and rapist, well 100% jump in the no. of rape cases between 1990 and 2008 only confuses. National Crime Records Bureau registered a massive toll of 24,206 rape cases in India in 2011 alone.
Capital punishment indeed is a bold deterrent but it works as a leash to hold a monster a little longer than otherwise. It does not evolve into becoming anything more than that. Its existence is as futile and temporary as a neighbor with loud mouth and silent hands. Sexist values will continue to inflict wounds on our body and soul in one way or other, unless its roots are cut off.
A clever and sharp-pitched tongue trying to conceal the guilt and fear off convict’s face, contrarily speaks his soul inside-out but nothing is left to win-over. Silent expression on face of Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) stayed with me for a long while after watching ‘Dead Man Walking’. The movie explores the sensitive issue of capital punishment, and unfolds the transition of a distracted young man from Neo-Nazi to nothing. On death row for raping and murdering a teenager, fear of end moment torments him. Vulnerable and desperate, Matthew appeals for clemency, but is left disappointed. Matthew’s death is the only salvation, life can offer to the victim’s family. Interestingly, victim’s parents divert their ways forever from each other, as one of them refuses to seek culprit’s redemption in capital punishment.
What goes around comes around. The one moment irony hits back, this time to infiltrate layers of arrogance and vain, reaching the scared and remorseful soul of a man dying while waiting to die. There is no science that can explain the catharsis of his moment of truth.
Peace, I wonder lies in shooting a mad dog or taming the sinner inside!
Image Courtesy: Google, Times India.