A great big world

It’s a great big world out there. 7 billion people. 510 million square kilometres. 8.7 million species of flora and fauna.

Natural wonders, like the Angel Falls, the Norwegian fjords, the Northern Lights and the Amazon rainforest.

Feats of engineering, like the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramids and the Taj Mahal.

Yet here we are. Living and breathing the dust and pollution in a metro of the South. The daily grind having made us robots with flesh and bone. Where is the adventurer? Why is he buried so deep within?

Unleash him. For he be a wandering spirit. A soul seeker. A life giver. He shall take us to places we ought to lay our eyes on. He shall carry us to utopia and back. He shall change our very cores.

Unleash him. Just for a short span. Unleash him, and be rewarded. With such an elixir, that life will not be about the grind anymore. It will be passion. Goodwill. Strength. Hope. Happiness. Peace.

Let the forests bewitch you. Let the rivers enchant you. Let the vast rolling fields calm you.

It’s a great big world out there. Let it see you as an untamed spirit. As a colourful soul. As a human being. Let it see you be alive.

Baggage

Ever wanted a break from yourself?
Be someone else but still be you, but devoid of the baggage you bear?

No.

The baggage you carry is part of who you are and it made you to be who you are.

So if you’re without your baggage, you can’t be you.

Wear your cuts and bruises with the bravery of a soldier, the grace of an athlete and the beauty of a ballet dancer.

For, without them, the word ‘you’ denotes but mere space. Where your identity used to be. 

Belief


They say God is almighty. They say God is all powerful. They say he runs the universe. 

I say God is a figment of belief. As are several other things. 

These things exist for you simply because you believe in them. 

If you believe in God, there is God. If you believe in karma, there is Karma. If you believe in love, there is love. 

You are the giver. The enabler. It is your belief that lets entities arise. 

In essence, you are God. And that’s why things go wrong sometimes. 

To endings and beginnings

And so, it ended. 14 days of pure euphoria. 

Barriers broken, places explored, people met, friendships-for-life made; mind opened.

Endings are always sad. But they go on to show just how much you cared. For the people you met, the places you went, the food you ate and the life you lived. 

And that is priceless. And that is how endings lead you on to new beginnings of stories you never thought you would tell. 

Cheers to endings.

Homesick

I left home. Everything I knew. Everyone I loved. Feeling homesick. 

To a strange place. Of strange sights. And strange people. 

My first hours mired with problems. 

But then, the strange people, like the soft light after a storm, stepped in.

To guide me, to help me. 

Two weeks I was here. Waking up on the same bed. Having breakfast at the same bakery. Taking the same bus with the same people. 

And so, the strange sights became familiar. The strange people became friends. 

But then came the time to leave. To leave everything I came to know. Everyone I came to love. Feeling homesick. 

Barbecue and conversations

The coal fired.

The grill laid.

The food cooked. To perfection. 

Drinks are out, spirits are high. 

In the quiet of the cloudy evening, strangers came together, over barbecue and conversations.

Amidst vivid exchanges had, rich memories recollected and old tales retold, friendships were forged. 

A modest evening flowed into a perfect night. 

Because true friendship knows no boundaries. 

Prost!

Role models

Role models don’t work. 

This is something I have just decided.

A role model is a person, a beacon of light, whose character and ways and success you would want to emulate. But I find that very few people exist, who can possibly be suitable a role models. 

I shall digress with some examples. Keep in mind that when I speak about role models, they are to me, people in the public eye, as is most often the case. 

Let’s take Justin Bieber. He is 20-something years old. Despite having an underage mother and practically no father in his childhood, he has grown to establish an immense fortune. Making music. Entertaining people. He could be a role model, couldn’t he? No. Role models don’t lip sync at concerts when people are paying >₹50k for tickets. Role models don’t shout at fans and walk off stage. Role models don’t make a list of “demands”.

I’ve often said Kangana Ranaut is my favourite Bollywood actress (although I don’t watch Bollywood films). But it has come to light that she has made unfair demands and has discredited hardworking people. I can’t deal with that. 

Jeremy Clarkson loves cars, is charismatic, bold, brash and truly British. And hates Piers Morgan. But he just wants to go fast, doesn’t care about animals and has said India is a “sweat shop.” So he can’t possibly be a role model.

Piers Morgan is fairly talented, asks the right questions and his show has opened eyed. But he hates Jeremy Clarkson. Also, he says very stupid things at times, which immediately discredits him. 

Donald Trump? Just no.

So in reality, I’m unable to find popular people who are role model material. So I’ve decided, as I said in the beginning, this doesn’t work. 

Be your own role model. 

Car culture

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Cars are necessary. That’s a fact. In places like ours, with poor public transport and infrastructure, most of us depend on them as a mode of transport. But to some of us, they mean so much more. Much more than A-B motors. Much more than a box on wheels. Much more than a mode of transport. We don’t care about the destination. It is the drive that we make count. It is the drive that’s the best part.

To us, cars are sentient beings. We talk about life in context of how they drive. We talk about a connect. A connect with the car’s ‘soul’. Now this might be nonsense to most people. But regard it in this way- cars elicit emotions in us that others don’t. Let me put this into perspective, by giving an example. A normal person, when there is a sweeping bend ahead, would slow down and go around it, and that’s job done. Second nature. But car people, they ignore everything else, rev-match into a lower gear, accelerate and steer into it, feeling and moving with the entire body of the car, noticing the grip, body roll, flex, etc. It is an elaborate act. It incites a feeling that the car is just an extension of one’s own body.

This is what brings car people together. It isn’t facts, stats and lap times. It is far deeper and more emotional than that. Our disagreements and arguments don’t stem from hatred or racism or intolerance or bigotry or anti-Semitism or what-not. They stem from the fact that, despite our differences, even within the realm of cars, we share the same fire in our hearts to make every drive worthwhile. To make every drive an experience. That is what car-culture is about.

“Reading? Writing? What are those?”

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It is 2017. Social media usage is at an all time high. Facebook recently recorded 1 billion people using their service. In such a connected world, reading and writing arguably aren’t being given the respect they rightfully deserve.

Every post on social media is simply a shared story or one of those awful memes- a culture I can’t begin to fathom how it caught on. People create these memes and share them with a decidedly poor caption riddled with innuendo, leaving aside the bad grammar and horrid language (‘2’ instead of ‘to’? Come on…).

Entertainment today is laughing at memes on Facebook for many. Where has reading and writing gone? Many of my friends say they’ve never read a book of their own volition ever in their 20 years of life. How?

I think culture simply thrusts forward less-than-ideal fads that youth generally scamp after. Life is fast paced for them. They laugh at a meme, share it, then forget it. Long passages, like this article, simply aren’t worth time and effort for them. Reading, imagination and introspection are lost in their eyes.

What a shame, because for us readers and writers, a day without introspection is a day lost to waste. A good book and a cuppa solves more problems than time does. An hour’s worth of reading gives us days of thoughts. A good book is a portal into a new world. A thought-provoking article or poem is a paradigm shifter.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. But I argue that a thousand words have the power to paint what pictures cannot depict. And that’s what we do. We paint what cannot be photographed or turned into a meme.

Our writing can reach into the darkest depths of the abyss or the farthest star in the sky. Writing is boundless. Limitless. Inexhaustible. And reading it can take you places that pictures can’t show. And that is power.

We are the readers and writers, drawing past over future, casting light on the dark and dreary, pouring passion and devotion and not likes and shares.

We are the readers and writers. Forever.

 

Trust.

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“You go out in the night?” they quizzed.

“Yes” she said.

Some looked at her with utter disgust while some looked at her with jealousy.

“Won’t your parents stop you?” they questioned her, several judgmental eyes staring at her accusingly.

“No they won’t” she said confidently.

“They won’t stop me from going out in the night.

They won’t stop me from having guy best friends.

They won’t stop me from taking pictures with my friends who may be guys or girls.

They won’t stop me from bringing home my Muslim friends. In fact, they cook them delicious rasam which my friends happen to love.   

They won’t stop me from pursuing my higher education just because I am a girl.

They won’t stop me from being me.

They won’t tell me to be silent; instead, they were the ones who encouraged me to always speak my mind. 

Most of all, they love me for who I am and not what the society wants me to be.

No, they won’t stop me, because they have something called trust in their daughter. 

After all, who will they trust if it is not their own flesh and blood?

And maybe, just maybe you should try having a little ounce of it in your kids too!”

She smiled at the stunned crowd before turning and walking away.