Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Curse of The Screen, or Not? (Random musings on online interactions)


Mobile Phone, Business, Phone, Technology

It is very easy to forget, while interacting with a person over virtual media that well, it is a real person. It is not an individual problem, I feel, but I do not have any factual evidence to show it is got to do with some kind of science. But it definitely happens, and we all have faced this dehumanisation (not exactly, but that's the closest I could get to what I mean) when dealing with someone over virtual media.

This definitely happens over interactions which tend to be one-on-one rather than 'groups', because groups guarantee a difference of thoughts to come to one place in multiple forms, and thus I feel, the human is not lost in a group network. Of course, it is the same media but at the same time groups are driven either out of some common bond, or ideology. They aren't as susceptible to dehumanisation as much as individual interactions.

Mostly when chatting with either family, friends, or people whom you have recently encountered, and if the interaction is consistent, and is not coupled with actual, real life meeting (long distance friendships. relationships of any sort- business, amorous, friendly, familial), there does come a point where you forget that this person whom you are talking to actually has a life of their own, a face of their own, and you only see them as words, as a screen which flashes as a color on your mobile. This isn't consciously done. I feel this is the curse of the screen-where screen becomes more important than the person behind it.

It also becomes complicated when you get attached to the screen and forget the person. Sounds tad philosophical but it is as factual as I can get. You tend to judge people over their typing speed, what they type, when they type, why they type, how they type or well, whether they type at all. Last Seen, blue ticks are a part of this complication, rather the app works on this very psychology of humans: we want to know what the other person thinks of us, when do they think of us or the lack of thought itself.  Status, DPs become a site of statements, protests, backhanded compliments, indirect jibes, what have you.

In this whole hulabaloo, one forgets the joy of actually knowing a person, to know their complications, their complexities, their different colours and moods. Even if you try, you will always find someone is not going to try enough because everyone approaches the screen differently. That mobile set in your hand, for you might be the gateway to know a person but for some other people it is just a tool to make oneself known without the interest to know. It is a subjective phenomena, people are lucky enough to talk to people online who do understand the importance of the person in the person, and not their online persona. But we all do go back to screens, and it does provide some kind of solace. Maybe it is not a curse at all but a whole new level in humans, where they simultaenously can attach and detach, love and be indifferent, care and not care,exist and not live.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Strange Familiarity

Strange is
 the strangeness
 one feels
 with familiar
 estrangement.
Familiar is the stranger
 more than what or who was
  known to be known.
That closeness you
feel with the man on
the street, he smokes
you don't, but he smiles
at you when you and he
see the same thing at the
same time, and all you see
is the familiarity-
the oneness you feel
with the woman who
irons your clothes
and while she does it
she cries and tells her story
of how she makes clothes look
smooth; not her life, no.
The closeness you feel
with the woman who welcomes
you in a strange land
gives you a cup of tea
and tells you how she came to be
you feel close to her, she
who lives in a distant land
where you just happened to be.
The love you get from strangers
is what makes you fill the tumblers
settle them with each drop of love
you have got from people who just only
passed you by
but never left you.
When you ring each tumbler,
it is as sweet or sweeter than the glass
harmonica you heard in a street years ago
the man playing music for getting by
he smiled as he made the most minimal amount
but he lived more than he could make out
for a living.
He lived, we live, we will
survive our life
through lives we never meet
but we will meet in our dreams
in our milliseconds of sighing in a
stop of a train where
you halt, you feel the thud of life
you do not hear the various sighs
but you know there was someone
who felt the way you did,
you look at them, and all you
do is smile.
A newspaper might part their
face with yours
but soon distances part you
from what was yours
from what should be yours
what could be yours
what might have been yours.
All you could do,
is see that their distance
is what makes them yours
all everyone will have
is their familiarity,
but you only, only
you were lucky
to get their intimate farness
their close distance.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Telling

Tell me your
stories and we will
weave a tale together,
we need not have the time
to see into each others' eyes
maybe it isn't the time to
let our eyes see each other

Tell me your
longings,
your yearnings and
every second you feel
like taking the deepest sigh
possible,
we need not have the time
to take each others' breath away
maybe it isn't the time to catch
each others' breath.

Maybe today you
will have a lot to tell
my mornings start with
words typed out of your
hands,
but soon world has its ways
that those hands won't be
typing,
my eyes won't be reading.
But should that stop us from telling?

Telling cannot cease
it is like the tip of the iceberg
the stories are buried under the sea,
No matter when you stop telling,
whatever you are telling will remain,
so let's let it be.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Parting

Yes, yes
we will part
and we will
make do, make do
for the void, the void
that we have brought upon,
upon ourselves.
There will be, will be
a lot of pain, a lot of
pain between us but we will,
we will make do, make do
for what won't be there anymore.

Today, today,
let me see each part of your soul,
Can I? Can I ever see the crevices
and the way you have filled them up
up with a bit of happiness you
have gained from here and there.
Here and there, everywhere is where
I search for fragments of memories
which unite us.

I try, try
try again, again
to feel the same as I felt
when I touched your cheeks,
cheeks swelling with sadness,
eyes filled with salty tears,
drowning away the suppressed smile
which comes out now and then,
now and then in between those
hiccups of emotions you
feel and choke on, all the same
just  as we parted, parted
in that parking lot.

The parking lot,
is a lot to take in
today, it was never the same
as I parted with you,
I still feel the touch of your hands on my neck
when you hugged me, and I still
can hear the sobs that turned into
tears on my shoulders.
I still see those distant eyes
that looked at us with amazement,
Why cry when you will be meeting through
virtual barriers but that is what they
are, barriers and not agents.
Though they make me feel you are there
they tell me you are not,
you are an illusion and that should suffice,
suffice, suffer, suffice, suffer,
I close my eyes and I suffer
and even that doesn't suffice.

So you and I have parted
but just like a poet said ages ago
that we will meet in our parting
and I feel when I left your hands
I met a different person in you
I have known a different you
since I have parted
and I am happy, happy
so happy that I have a memory
a memory, to live by
I write this, this
this verse which repeats
repeats itself, as this, this
is my rigorous need,
my utter agony at keeping
my memory alive.
Alive, alive.
You will always be alive
within me.
Please be.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

महानता तो बेच खाई है. शब्द बाकी हैं: We cannot be silent.

We are a country which loves to forget. We are quick to forget why something happens and focus on what emotional, physical reaction it brought about. Debating Afzal Guru's death is not allowed, Vemula will be forgotten, Kanhaiyya has been arrested. This is a systemic way of silencing us. And we should not give in.

Anti-national slogans clearly bear a marker of threat. But what about the government which reacts with words like "
they will not be spared" and literally turns into witch hunters in the university, tracking down students like thieves and arresting them on grounds that they 'may go against them'. What about the surveillance, the fear being instilled by the people who are supposed to represent us and work for us? By treating alleged 'anti-nationals' in this manner, isn't the government turning anti-national itself?

A distinction must be made between what a protest is about and what its language is. Its language should be about concerns regarding the university's administration which must act according to its own constitution, and not the government's propaganda for furthering its own political interests.

The reason behind this protest was the disagreement regarding the secretive handling of the judicial killing of Afzal Guru. This had been very conveniently thrown under the carpet because of microaggressions being magnified to an extent that student spaces have turned into camps of negative reinforcement of discipline. Resistance to revolt without any dialogue is not what a country's democratic spirit should be about. Resistance is what gives democracy its regenerative aspect. When it is about, by and for the people, it must take into account differing subjectivities by default.
Resistance is the way you can reflect on your self. It can force you to pay attention to reasons behind dissent.

The problem is that universities are seen as spaces which should remain insular and depoliticised. But isn't that contrary to what education stands for? What is the use of higher education when all we need to do is what we did in school, just more of it: learn theories but not apply them? Here, it is not that there isn't enough material for application but the fear of applying the ideas we have learnt. Or, maybe, that is what education stands for: learn, but do not argue. This is the locus of it all: we are being taught to be passive recipients of history and not make it ourselves.

The problem with our countrypersons is that they stick to the superficiality of events and react disproportionately. The press takes to sensationalising half-truths with blowhards posing as journalists, resisting any kind of opinion which in disagreement with their own. The government has taken to attrition and violence. The government is making enemies of the people it is supposed to protect.

All I can do is write. But in this country, any form of expression is being treated with disdain. Today a friend of mine doing a photoshoot wrote something against our current government. She said, "I may...be shot [as well]." The fact is that this nation of ours has managed to instil this fear in us. The country has become its greatest anti-national element. If I say 'Mera Bharat Mahaan' or 'Bhaarat ko nasht karo', it somehow feels the same.

"Mahanta to bech khai hai. Shabd Baki hain. Kharidoge? Mehnge parenge. (We have sold our greatness. Only words are left. Would you buy them too? But you will have to pay a huge price.)"

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Birthdays and Memory

Hello! To my readers who have emailed me asking why I am AWOL, it is because my life has gone AWOL too, I don't really know when I had one.... Anyway, this is my first post in 2016 and because this year is the first time I turn 21 (sorry for sounding corny but it has a nice ring to it, that number), this is about birthdays- that day which is so significantly insignificant.

I have never understood the concept of celebration of birthdays; one because I am a little dumb en generale, two because I don't understand why  we don't wish our parents who gave birth to us. I often have always wanted to wish my parents Happy Birthday on my own, because technically they were the ones who knew how it felt, when I was born. I don't know how I felt I was born: probably full of bodily fluids and crying when that doctor slapped my butt, cried more when she saw my genitals and said "It is a girl." She doesn't know how these four words have haunted me till date, but that's a topic for another post.

But the gist: my parents were also "born" then, as in, I know this is becoming too deep to dive in, but I am pretty sure I was awesome enough to change their lives that day. Since that date they have been living a different life, and it is their day to celebrate more than mine. Mera kya hai, I didn't even know my date of birth till I learnt how to count and learn months on my knuckles. Parents must have called people once a year for celebrating it before I had the required knowledge- I must have thought it is just one day everyone goes on a creep mode with my cheeks and gifts me with bottles, Tiffin boxes and frocks which were pink in colour. No wonder I don't remember these people who seem to remember a lot of creepy details about me. Like, how I had a pink bum and face when I took birth. Those who know me will know that's how I derive my nickname. Thanks brain, you have your priorties right. *pats head*

What I think of birthdays now is a healthy reminder of my age and my responsibility increasing year by year towards my own self and my parents. I know, I sound so grim...but that's the way it is. For me, birthday is equal to independence day or any other national holiday we celebrate: history tells us that that particular day was a great day and people did great things and it was good for the country and we celebrate it with sleeping till 1 pm, and now our passport, identity card reports our day of birth to us.

So,our own birthday was also reported to us. Celebrating a day which I have no memory of, and that too the day which marks the time of my own arrival, it doesn't make sense.   I may as well celebrate the day my Mum came to know she is pregnant with me (and I am told was happy about it lol....though I bet this is the exact moment she regrets when she hates on me sometimes). Also that analogy becomes weirder because I was born on 26th January. (Such a cool segue)

But now birthdays have become those days when some people resurrect from their slumber to wish (or remember) you, and you feel great that they took the pains to remember. Wait, now even that happiness is not ours to have: Facebook has become this one weird friend we used to have who used to remember most minutest details like landline number and birthdays. So you don't really know people remembered your birthday or it was this website reminding them. It is sad sometimes to think a website which didn't even exist when you were born is now taking over genuine wishes you could garner.

Anyhoo, once I start getting negative I won't stop. I like how my college friends celebrate birthdays: making people feel at home by providing one day to the person the same happiness one gets with their folks, or for some it is the first time they are treated so specially. If there is one bit, (but the largest bit) of positivity I can get is that it is the day when you know who genuinely acknowledge, love and appreciate your existence, who cherish the fact that you are breathing the same air as they are and that your birth has made a difference in their lives. Then, the lack of knowledge of happenings of the original day gets glossed over. You end up feeling: maybe this is how people must have felt when I took birth. And if not then, if today there are some people who are happy that I exist, that day gets a new memory of its own every year.

PS- If you find me probing you for the date of your birthday, it is probably because I hate the date of my birthday and want to see if you also share such a misery.