Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What if what is now is what will be. Then what are we living for? What if there isn’t a better time? What if there isn’t going to be any retribution? What if this present state of affairs is what would continue all my freaking life. Then hope becomes an unnecessary fiend, an unwanted intrusion, an unsolicited falsehood that generates expectation and thereby hopelessness, betrayal, fear, anxiety, frustration, despair, gloom and misery, sad sad misery.

Isn’t the absence of Hope called Dystopia? But how does the presence of it bring utopia? Utopia does not exist. Hope seems to make you think that it does. I might hope for a gazillion things and even work to achieve them but when I am left bereft of them wouldn’t it have been better had I not desired them in the first place. I think the root cause for hope is Desire. Desire is the fucking whore who gave birth to Hope.

Well, this turmoil in my head has taken a more poignant form. I continuously hear voices inside me all the time. They are mostly self deriding, self depreciating, mocking with an ugly sense of humor. They hurt. They mock. They curse.

But I want them to. That’s the penance for not being brave. That’s the salvation for not looking truth in the eye and moving on. It is almost as if you Believe you are growing mad but you Know you are not. It is that you actually Want to go mad because then your world will be separated from theirs. Then you would be inside the shell of a stigma. The label of Madness, Mental collapse would not let you face up to the truth of your emptiness. Go mad. Go mad.

I need to, I want to, I have to run away.
I need to, I want to, I have to lick my self inflicted wounds in isolation. I cannot be a friend to you, to the very few of you who are left in my life.

These voices, my voices, they are not alien. I have had them inside, I think, since college or from the third year of college. Before that hedonism was still attractive enough to make me dream and consider current imperfection as temporary or unimportant.
Sometimes I could, very correctly identify the other lesser mortals like me who were burning in their own anguish, who were fighting against themselves everyday, every minute. We naturally got attracted to each other.

One of them is dead. She is the late Ms Raunak Tyrewalla. I have never, never written your name Raunak after you killed yourself. I am so doing so today unashamedly. And save for the quickening of my heartbeat, I am experiencing nothing. Not even guilt at vainly taking your name after fervently wishing for your soul to rest in peace.

Why am I doing this? Attention. I want the people reading this imbecile excuse for wasting time to consider it non normal. I want the fucking sympathy. I want the pity. I want the falsehood of “oh you poor troubled child!”. I hate, I abhor the crude, cruel, callousness of “Everything is alright. This will soon pass. Do not think so much.” “Do not take life so seriously.” That’s the anathema, I recoil away from. The few friends who could see thorough the fa├žade were candid enough to say so. I could have ripped them apart. I hated them. I hate them. I go out of the way to showcase my indifference.

I Want people to feel sorry for me and my life and for what it could have been. Their pity would give my “could have would have been life” the respect and notice that it deserves. The respect, which my actions have never been able to perpetuate. Today, in a place where I have not risen to conspicuousness through deeds or words…..how do I attract attention? How do I ensure that even I am worth being considered, discussed, pitied or admired? I shun company so that my solitude is noticed. I drive my body to the limit, so that my weakness causes concern, I run till I drop so that obsession can be associated with me, I abuse my body through alien substances so people can call me a rebel, I feign indifference towards work so that my ineptitude cannot be seen, I proactively declare that I shun success so that they don’t come to know that success only kindles those who deserve her.

What’s even worse is that I am surrounded by people with character, strength and resolve. People, who sort of ignore the enormity of life and make peace with everyday mundanity. People who have sacrificed a million what if’s for one Now, because of love. It is unfortunate that I am born of such people. I cannot even run away to oblivion because of their ungrounded, unjustified faith in me.

I know these voices are fickle. They are vain and temperamental. I know I can make them go away as easily as they had come to set shop. I first of all need to face my mediocrity, my ignorance, my incapability and make amends with them. I must learn to make peace with this Now. Because it is this Now, that has put a roof over my head, money to spend and the luxury to obsess about my depression.

My “what ifs” are purely a function of my dissatisfaction of being a cog in the huge wheel of Now. My “what ifs” are not grounded in reality. My “what ifs” are not backed by recognition. My “whats ifs” will again start changing form when I start striving towards some of them. You can never give a tangible form to dissatisfaction.

Yes, I work in a huge organization where I have no talent to show, no intellect to impress, no initiative to be appreciated, no discipline that can be recognized. I cannot make sense of numbers and yet that is what I am required to do. Everyday. Yes, my finances are not planned. Yes, people would never approach me for an opinion. Yes, I am almost always silent when discussions take place at meetings. Yes, the part that I like about my work is the part which requires me to replicate the dumb perseverance of a mule. Yes, I feel safe when I am just replicating the tried and the tested and processes or methods are never put to question. Yes I like being told what to do and doing it. Yes.

“So what?” is what I need to ask myself? So what if you are mediocre? So what if you do not outperform? There are billions who wake up with every sunrise and embrace each day in the same manner that they had embraced yesterday. Billions wake up everyday to provide for the family, to work to earn money, to perform to get promoted and go to bed everyday seemingly satisfied with the intransigence of routine. I shall do so too. I shall inculcate attention to the detail in the smallest of mundane tasks. Four years have been enough to make me realize that I haven’t got the talent or the knowledge required to excel in this field. Well then I wont excel. I will exist. Why is that bad? I am not even too fond of this line of work. But, I will learn what there is to be learnt. I will cram up for the next promotion. I will put on a brave face in the event of my failure. I will pretend that not getting that promotion did not hurt. I will be silent but absorbing during all meetings. I have existed for four years. I will continue to exist for many more. When I do not have the balls to take a chance on me and chart my own future, I must at least have the balls required to accept the present that has been shown to me. And Its not that bad a Present.

But, you know what? I cannot do this. I cannot just exist. I will invariably come up with poor, pathetic, desperate attempts at attracting attention or conspicuousness, I shall contemplate a fainting spell in a few minutes from now……

I will never be satisfied without taking a chance with my “what ifs”. I can never be secure in my mediocrity.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Baarish hai toh cheeta toh padega hi!!!

I was just browsing through the various documents saved under the folder named “Blogs”. There is one that says, “Ode to 2008”, which has been left Ode less….. Along with it comes the realization that 2009 will be over in another three months and all that has transpired in these nine long months is that I have lost a kilogram or two. I still am employed with the same organization and am still in the state of fear inducing, paralyzing inertia that has enabled me to absolutely vegetate in front of the screen. 2009 has brought home the realization that this inertia is definitely not going to get me a promotion in 2010. But 2009 has also got with it the, “Do I really care?” syndrome, which sort of mollifies the fact that my vegetation is a total blasphemy on life itself! I am just four or five blogs older in 2009. I was single in 2008 and still am in 2009. I was beginning to wish to be alone in 2008 and I am alone in 2009. I think I am ridden of my obsession but it still comes back to me in sudden phases. My weakness has not yet become an addiction. Though I still cannot bid it Goodbye. He got married this year. Life for so many around me has taken a 360* turn.

An entire year. An entire year. An entire year……. One millionth of a miniscule part for space….but an entire lifetime for me. All I can come up with is a list of “Did nots”
Did not take FRM.
Did not take that stupid CAIIB.
Did not apply for MA.
Did not travel enough.
Did not write enough.
Did not love enough.
Did not find The Guy.
Did not work enough.
Did not even cry enough.
Did not figure out the Plan.

Back from Ahmedabad, last night, sitting in an auto rickshaw drenched to the skin and taking in huge gulps of the adulterated rain kissed air, I was happy to be back in Bombay. Stuck in traffic for what seemed like eons, I started to think of the numerous “What Ifs” 2009 had shown me, which I have been incompetent enough to give form to.

Jolting me from this reverie was a BMT bus that rushed past drenching me with muck. I screamed.

“Kya Hua Madam?” asked the rickshaw driver.
“Arree who Bus ki wajah se cheeta padh gaya mere pe.”
“Arre madam, Baarish hai toh Cheeta toh padega hi! Humko bhi toh poda! Aap aise chillaye, humko laga kuch ho gaya hai…….”

I think, this is what people have come to call the “Spirit of Bombay,” Plain complacence with everything around you. Quiet resignation to imperfection. Mass impotence to change things around you. A million people who share a communal state of constant melancholy that just accepts traffic jams, road blocks, open gutters, acres of ugly slums, destitution, filthy trains, overcrowded buses, muck and slush, air pollution, water scarcity, corrupt leaders, inept teachers, avaricious bureaucrats as permanent fixtures in their existential existence.

“Haan Ji. Baarish hai toh cheeta toh padega hi.”
See Bombay, after two of years of living with you, even my life has come to imbibe the “Spirit of Bombay”. I no longer live. I exist.