What is it like to have something you have wanted dearly for a very long time? To have it near you, with you, in your possession? Liberating, tempted to say?
Let me give you an angle. When you want something nearly as much as the essential requirements in life for existence, it ceases to be a want. It becomes a need, bordering on an obsession that is strong enough to not only kill your identity but also kill the reasons why you wanted that thing. In some days of living in that anxious need to have the object of desire, you stop wanting it, it becomes a routine, more like breathing to try and have it, for yourself. And what happens when you run out of air, oxygen ceases to reach your brain? You become restless, worse, it consumes you. And anything allowed to be a want of that magnitude does the same- consumes you to the core. You deny, defy and fight a losing battle every day the end of which is your own doom, whether you have the object or not. Even if you do get it, you must see that you have lost sight of the reasons you wanted that in the first place, like an impertinent child that wants a toy and is given it. Needless to say, the child gets bored of the toy and throws it away because his obsession is over. Sadly enough all of us go through a systematic process of denial under guidance, commonly known as growing up, that makes us look through everything that made life simple when we were small.
I do not mean that wanting is bad, or ambition. All of it is good, to the extent up to which it doesn’t start feeding on your very existence and purpose of having it. A need, want, desire in any form is productive to the extent to which it keeps your focus clear and the reasons why you want it apparent, even after you have it. I am no one to conclude or preach, but a victim of the aforementioned errors, on the learning curve.
Remember your first toy? How dear it was to you? Now do you remember how it felt when you had to place it in the closet of old rejected stuff, because you had “grown up”?
Or, remember your first bicycle? Riding it. It was special, right? Because it gave you a sense of achievement. Now that I remind you of it, you have a softly nostalgic remembrance of it?
It is going to be the same. Every Indian who experienced the legend named Sachin Tendulkar will move on, smile, laugh, be normal, unless they see a game of cricket. Then they shall be reminded, of the greatness they saw. With his retirement, the generation of cricketers that made cricket the game it is today has ended.
The man was special, not because of the mound of records he sits upon, not because of the accolades being showered on him, but because of a simple reason. Simpler than most of us can wonder. He gave a billion people a sense of achievement. No matter how sad and gloomy an Indian felt after a particular day, the news of Sachin’s century or another record broken made him identify with the achievement. Sachin did it, for 24 years and did it with a smile. He is possibly at the pinnacle of success and achievement but his strength lies in the fact that on a day when a billions were thanking him for what he had given them, he carried a list of people he credited it all to. Not once, did he say- I deserve it, and that is why he deserved it all.
What remains of cricket therefore for every Indian is the legacy this legend leaves behind. As he made his final walk back, he still raised his bat to thank his family and the audience, something he had always done. What remains for every Indian therefore, is to carry on, with the fond memory of the brilliance they witnessed. It is almost like the feeling of growing up. When you look at that merry go round but cannot go and sit on it because you are too big for something like that. When you cannot eat an ice cream carelessly spoiling your face, because you are too grown up. Its like a rite of passage when there are so many things you have to let go of, because life requires you to move on.
Its like a glorious walk into the sunset, knowing that the day gone by was the most beautiful day you spent, and even though its memories might bring you a tear or two, you should be thankful you experienced it.
Dolls, a woman’s first plaything,
I had one, and I am sure so did you,
Caring for her, a feeling so new,
She would be the solution to every tear,
I would cry and mother would push her near,
And then came by age and the doll was kept,
In a lonely corner while I silently wept,
I went into the world, a woman yes I was,
His eyes denuded me,
His sight disgraced,
And all this I silently faced,
And then nobody came to hear my call,
Dear mother, where is my doll?
I ran and cried,
As I was denied,
The dignity every life deserves,
Ravished by his acts,
Rubbished by their facts,
Told I was calling for it,
Told I was falling for it,
Nobody looked at me with earnest eyes, no one heard my call,
Mother, where is my doll?
You taught me fairy tales, din’t you,
Din’t you know life wasn’t going to be one,
Prince charming, there are none,
You gave me a doll and gave them a toy gun,
Now look mother what they have done,
Mother open that closet and look if it cries,
The doll that kept me happy with those pretty eyes,
Her purpose is lost,
Its a defeated battle,
Till the time you give me that doll.
Sometimes, you are caught off guard in the midst of a seemingly monotonous life. One small event implicitly gives you perspective through a close reverberation in your life in the form of a sight, a dream or just an event, which could easily be ignored. If so, life continues at its tiresome pace without the hint of a change, but if noticed these events give you a positive boost.
Nature has since times immemorial been a strong driving force to much of mankind. The devotional Romantics gained much inspiration, and I an inconsequential human gained a glimpse of the same a few days ago. As my car slowly paced through the long yet monotonous path early morning, I could visualize another 14 hour schedule. Irritated as I was, after an about 70 hour long week already, I was at my impertinent best. With all this tumult within, without was not any better. A strong shower of rain started falling as we made our way through. I looked up, to almost blinding rain which was fluctuating in its intensity. Another excuse to rant, to complain, I was highly tired and exhausted mentally. What eluded me, was that the sun was still shining through from a distant Eastern corner of the sky, waging a lonely yet strong battle against the monstrous clouds. And as any elementary science student would know, what happened next was amazing. A light spectrum spread through the canvas of the sky, and welcomed one of the most beautiful mornings I have witnessed in this city till date. I was awestruck, and couldn’t help but smile at this brilliant scheme of Nature to teach me a lesson in gratitude. Wasn’t I being unfair to myself? Aren’t we all at some stage. My hectic schedule made me see the rain, which was exhaustion, and miss out on the rainbow, which was the taking the first most difficult step towards making my career? This brought me to a larger question.
Are we too busy cribbing about the rain and missing out on the rainbow? Why are we so scared to get wet, to test the limits, to run behind the foot of the rainbow? Why are we pulling a sorry face, when everything around us is taking us towards happiness? Why are we closing our windows to the showers? Why are we hiding the child beneath us? Are we all not, at the end of the day, searching for our part of the rainbow?
So, I will begin with the dragged to death question- what is the difference between a traveler and a tourist. I would say, familiarity and the approach towards it.
Tourists book a ticket, take a flight, pay insane amount of money for a hotel, watch the landmarks and memorials and come back home satisfied and a little less rich. Travelers, on the other hand, love the sense of being lost. Sometimes, the familiarity of everyday life scares you. When you know exactly what your day is going to be like, how you will react, what you will see, etc. It is then that you pick your bag, take a bus, pack your trekking shoes and get lost into the dim recesses of places not yet seen.
What excites us travelers, is the prospect of experiencing something so new, so brilliant, that no amount of money could buy it. In a place where you have no idea where the next turn might take you, you give up on the daily struggle of everyday life of searching for your identity. Instead, you occupy yourself with a task of placing yourself in the locus of surroundings. This is what we call adventure. Adventure is not doing something dangerous or life threatening, but it is doing something you have never done before, which gives you a thrill and a high enough to drag you for a while through a monotonous daily routine. And just when the familiarity starts to get on our nerves, we pick up our bags and head off in search of the roads not taken.
The phrase writing in blood is too old and also too dragged to death. The phrase, extensively used to signify a piece of writing utterly important to the author conveys by default much of what serious writing is all about. When you or I, any of us begin to write, what is it that we do? Is it not, an effort to wrench out the deepest of our emotion out and hope to do it justice through words?
The irony of the situation is, that words, through writing or through speech are no doubt the only medium for expression but they are nevertheless an insufficient medium? How shall one describe the scent of freshly falling rain on the mud or the feeling when a baby tugs your finger or just a simple reassuring smile from a stranger? Can you describe it?
Yet, it is my belief that one who writes well is blessed with a power of a vision that one not only creates for oneself but can powerfully induce into the mind of the reader. A piece of writing which emphatically stirs the thought of the reader without explicitly spurring him into action is one which is most near to accomplishing the actual purpose of writing. A collection of words that can intellectually challenge the reader and whose completion is possible only through the active participation of the reader’s imagination is a work that is remembered.
I am, of course, no one to set guidelines for what important works are and what are not. But of the little I know about writing, I know that a writer in his/her mind wants the reader to be engaged in what s/he writes. Not only is writing a way of expression for us, its like our melody, our magnum opus, our secret written out in metaphorical blood, our secret whispered to the paper.
While driving through the streets of Mumbai, with a woman close to my heart, our conversation pushed me into an inevitable association of thought about the idealism that certain people aspire to achieve or claim to have achieved during the course of their lives. This particular friend, for example, mentioned to me a gentleman who claimed to be away from the pursuits of materialism while owning a BMW.
Now, while the achievements and success of this particular man can in no way be doubted by people like me, who are still looking for some success in life, the wide hypocrisy of his words can sure be questioned. Had this individual not been concerned with making an impression on others would he have bought that car? Let us, for a moment ignore the above mentioned possibility as well, even so, was buying that fancy set of wheels not a product of materialism and luxury?
That brings me to a larger question which I wish to address through this post. What does idealism have to do with ambition, or for that matter anything in our lives? How many of us consider morality or idealism to be more important than our career? As a part of this generation which has been pushed into a rigorous process of capitalist pursuits, are we not since childhood propelled to take up lucrative careers? When we do start thinking in terms of material gain and success, the cynics are ready to engage us in a full scale, all guns blazing debate about morality and materialism. Let me defend.
We were given a fairly immoral and difficult world to build our careers in. At a time when we are just setting ourselves up, we are bound to think of ways to reach success. At such times lectures about morality and societal responsibility do not make sense to us. If today some filthy rich Mr. X is donating an amount more than the salary of half of us to charity, it is precisely because he made that much money for himself first. Nobody starves themselves to feed others except a few, who deserve genuine respect and admiration. Pardon me the greatness though, I have no such ambitions. Idealism eludes me, I am a materialist.
Lights, camera, action!
Its only a wonder that all the days in this city don’t start with that line. Understandably so, since nobody can tell when nights ends and when day begins in this city. Its merges into a uniformity through the pacing life of this city. Yes, Mumbai, the financial capital of India, the city of dreams!
What exactly is it that makes this most crowded city of one of the the most populated countries so unique, so loved? Listen closely the next time you are here, and the sea will silently whisper the answer to you. Too romantic, is it?
This city welcomes you with open arms, among a torturous plenitude of faces toiling for a daily share of bread and butter. Yet, this city does not scare, does not threaten, for this is the place which promises the fulfillment of dreams. The larger than life , magical, surrealist world of Bollywood, which has made several dreams a reality is here. Metaphorically, this is the city of dreams. A dreamer has every reason to be in this city. This city gives you the way to become one of the many familiar faces among the crowd, if not, it at least promises you a fair shot at the same. The famous Ambani’s and Bachchan’s or the ever so humble Dabbawallahs, who train MBA graduates all belong to this place, the paradise of dreamers.
After a tiresome day at work, when you feel like a minuscule entity, the sea will come to your rescue. a quiet walk down Marine Drive will show you how little man actually stands in front of the dominating Nature. You will be overwhelmed by the gushing of the ocean which will echo and reverberate the rush of blood inside you. And as the dying sun across the horizon will throw its last crimson rays on you, you will know that the stage is yours and the spotlight my friend is on you.