Nonsense is Sense

November 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling | 5 Comments
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‘Untangented decommisional clouds with goats playing gold-stringed violins doing the macarena.’

I have no idea as to why I scribbled this on the last page of my notebook. The words, nonsensical in themselves of course, just came floating out of my head subconsciously (Really, I wasn’t smoking anything). I stared at them, then started laughing. I told D, ‘Oh wow, look at this – it’s a life-altering literary masterpiece.’

He too, stared. Then, apparently realising that I was joking, smirked. Of course I was joking. I was acting stupid for no reason (as I am tempted to do so time to time). ‘Well, it is, isn’t it?’ I persisted. ‘Makes a lot of sense.’

This was a bit too much for D. He smiled ruefully, informing me in stern tones that it didn’t make any sense at all.

‘Of course it doesn’t make sense!’ I countered. ‘It’s not supposed to make sense. Can’t you see?’ I thought that was fairly obvious.

D, who seemed quite irritated at my deliberate fit of stupidity-et-randomness, scowled and snapped: ‘What the hell’s that supposed to mean, anyway? It has no meaning whatsoever, it just sounds…dumb.’

Upon which, my tirade promptly followed:

‘What the hell do you mean by meaning? I can’t believe this. Jesus. You folks are so narrow-minded! Honestly, do you really believe that everything has to have a – a meaning? Come on; learn to bend your minds a little. Not everything’s supposed to have a meaning. Think about how our world would be like if we went about trying to cram everything into structures and hierarchies, plastering cold logic on everything! I suppose you’d want to assign logic to fairies and fluffy bunnies too, eh?’

By now, D was looking quite alarmed at this sudden outburst. Secretly amused, I went on:

‘No, you want to broaden your mind a little. Look, some things come with their own meaning. Some things don’t – and more often than not, those things do matter. Because it’s your imagination that decides what or how it is. Your imagination that shapes it, makes it, controls it. So, learn to accept absurdities because, believe me, even nonsense is sense. In a different way, of course. This world and the things in it – the real things, are wonderful, but the unreal is even more wonderful.’

D was silent, staring at me. Then, suddenly, he picked up the notebook, read through the nonsensical words, and said, ‘Well…yeah. Deeply thoughtful, that is.’
We both burst into laughter.



June 29, 2008 at 1:55 am | Posted in Verses + Vignettes | 4 Comments
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Threads of thought uncoiling
Swirls of memories gathering
Like so many beads.
Shades flickering
Sounds disentangling

The glint of an eye
The swish of wings
Of a bird in flight
The touch of a feather
Floating in the air and
Gently settling down on earth

Like a drop of water that clings
On the end of a leaf
Like curls of smoke
That escape
Like clouds that glide
On air

Mingling, fusing, merging
One by one
They will all be gone
And reborn

Mahogany hues and emerald foliage
Born of the earth
Into the starry canvases overhead
Infinitely stretching.
Driving down
Into an endless spiral
Only to rise above again.

The ‘I’

June 21, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling | 2 Comments
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What makes a person an individual? Their name? Their body? Their own qualities, their intellect, their soul? Their religion, or lack thereof, their way of life…what?

The name is a provision we make to organise things better. Associating a person with their name is something we do simply to escape the chaotic mix-up that would arise if everyone and everything went about nameless. But you may argue, may you not, that that is exactly what is required – isn’t the act of naming, after all, setting something apart from something else, making it distinct, separate, independent?  And that is the cornerstone of being ‘individual’ – being different. But what we call a person might be the name to millions of others. Then doesn’t the distinctness vanish into thin air? Moreover, a person can be called anything: any name at all.

The body, too, is illusory. The body is like a shadow – you wouldn’t associate your being with your shadow, how then can you associate it with your body? Don’t you relinquish the body at the moment of your death?

But the trickier aspect is this: a person with their own unique qualities, opinions, aspirations. Of course, these differ from person to person – and therefore, you may safely assume that this after all, is what makes a person different from the person next door. And you’d be right. But what if you happen to change your opinions (opinions can be temporary), shift your interests, replace your desires? Then that would, by our definition, be nothing short of being another person.

And yet you are not another person. You are just you. This is the heart of the matter: being you. Being – we call it existing. Existence, in one form or the other, is still existence. That is what we mean by ‘soul’. My definition of soul is a simple and short one. I call it the ‘essence of existence’. Soul is the heart of existing, one way in which humans differ from computers: we know that we exist. That existence, and the knowledge of that existence, is what it means to have a soul.

It is, in effect, what it means to have an identity. I consider identity and individuality to be two different things. A metaphor explains this quite simply: Water is, by definition, a shapeless, flowing, substance. When that same water becomes ice, it acquires a shape, and doesn’t flow. When that ice is heated it again becomes water, and that same water upon heating changes into gas. At every stage, the properties vary according to the form. The form is changing but no-one doubts the existence of the substance. Water, in liquid, solid, or gaseous form, is still there. And you don’t have to call it water – you may as well call it ice or gas or orange juice. So at every stage, in each of its forms, it has a unique set of qualities. Volume, mass, shape, fluidity, transparency, each of them peculiar to the respective form. That is individuality. The fabric of uniqueness. But in spite of everything, in spite of all the change, the water continues to exist, continues to be. That is identity.

And in the end, it all boils down to this: Wherever you may come from, whatever you may be called, whoever you may be related to, however you are, whatever you may become, you won’t stop being you.

When Life Hits You On the Head With a Brick

May 28, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Life as I See It | Leave a comment
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Finally, after a month and half of suspense, trepidation and much-felt regret, it’s all behind me.

I am not in worry anymore.
I am not in debt (money-wise or otherwise) anymore.
I am not in love anymore (if it was love in the first place).

I am free.

God knows I’ve had enough to deal with in the past few months. But now it’s all over and done with and I’ve promised myself not to whine over things for a while.

I’ve been wondering why it is that when everything seems to be going on smoothly in life, half a dozen problems and troubles come rolling down like boulders, and you go blank in the face of it. And then, as time passes, those boulders pass away too, and you emerge, sometimes scathed, sometimes not; but you emerge out of it anyway.

One thing I’ve learnt is that, when these problems do come our way, we feel their terror as they approach us, getting nearer and nearer all the time; but when they finally do arrive, a strange kind of feeling – I don’t know what it is, courage or  something else –  takes charge and it only begins to seem as a matter of time.

Sometimes life hits you on the head with a brick. Some of us manage to stay cool in its face and come up with an elegant solution, while some of us (like me) panic, get jumpy over little things, get knocked down, stumble, fall, get back up again, and staggering, tottering, wobbling, faltering end up fumbling our way through.

If My World Should Collapse Around Me Tomorrow

April 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Life as I See It | 4 Comments
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One moment, life is all joy and bliss, and the next, adversity and fear. The pleasure, the contentment, the solace. All reduced to dust.

I await and dread my future equally. Perhaps it’s only the next day, the next week. month or year that really frightens me, fills me with a nameless trepidation, because ten years on, twenty years on, it all seems so distant.

Always living in apprehension, living in worries, living in lies, is living while killing yourself inside. And yet, you have to do it. Everyone would like a life free of all care, and yet, the world doesn’t let you have it.

I’m safe today. I’m happy. I know it. But that happiness is marred by the knowledge of what I have in store for me. My present is forever stained by my past, and eternally haunted by my future. I’m caught, always weaving back and forth, sometimes resorting to tears, sometimes trying to laugh it off, and always carrying that sense of burden with me, within me.

If my world collapses around me tomorrow, and I lose everything…what would I be left with? If I should lose my possessions, my comfort, my freedom, what would I have? Would I have a future at all?

But would it be fair for me to say that I have nothing, no future? Am I only dreading it too much, because I’m scared of abandoning the refuge of present? The thing that I dread most will surely come, but it will also come to pass. That’s easy for me to say that at this moment, to resort to the only possible defence I have – hope. But what about when it finally arrives? What would I be like at that time?

I’m thoroughly confused. I hate it, I dread it with all my being and yet a part of me wants to see it come and go. Why do I feel that? I think it’s vertigo, probably. I’m not sure what I want, except that I cannot take any more worry and apprehension. If a thing makes me happy today, but would cause me pain tomorrow, let me have it. If I have to pay with tears for a laugh for today, let me have it.

Sometimes I have the strange feeling that I would like the earth to open up and swallow me whole, and no more be. That I would like to abandon everything, every dream, every joy, every pleasure – and the funny thing is, it’s not suicidal. It’s happy, almost. It’s strange. It’s an urge of relinquishing everything, whether good or bad.

It would be easy for me to continue to hope, continue to delude myself, into a sense of security. It would be equally easy for me to despair. Whatever way I choose, it’s going to happen. Whatever happens, tomorrow will come. I live, for better or worse.

Dreams or Goals?

January 7, 2008 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Life as I See It | 5 Comments
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What exactly is the difference between dreams and goals? And is one really one better than the other?Undoubtedly, goals make you put things in perspective. Goal-setting usually increases the chances of your achieving your objective. Goal setting requires you to limit yourself to your strengths and try your potential. You’ve got to recognise your own strengths and weaknesses if you want to have goals.

But dreams? They recognise no strengths and weaknesses. A dream always has a sense of profound hope attached with it. In the case of goals, they too have this attribute – but here it’s hope present in a forced sense. Not really hope, but a strained, put on feeling that has an uneasy edge to it. What if you don’t make it? What if you fail? It’s not the hope of winning, then, that pushes you forward towards pursuing your goal but the fear of failure disguised in the form of hope.

But then the question is, are you really able to acieve anything with dreams? Do they only remain in your head, or leap beyond that and assume the form of action and realisation too? I think that depends not on the dream, but the person themself. It’s the person that will doubt their dreams and will not pluck up the courage to chase after them. Every one can imagine the end, but very few are able to make a beginning in actuality. It’s true that people with dreams know no impossibilty – the very fact that they have dreams at all proves this. But it’s like deciding to climb up a mountain and getting scared by it before the climb has even begun. Why doubt your dreams without even making a try first? Dreams are there to be chased and realised.

If dreams really weren’t at all possible to accomplish, we wouldn’t have had aeroplanes or robots or surgery today. Each one of them started out as a dream. Not a goal. Wilbur and Orville Wright didn’t wake up one fine morning and say, ‘Well, I plan to make a machine that can make humans fly in the air within the next few months.’ They didn’t care if they failed. The best experts had ruled out the possibility of an aerosplane saying that it was thoroughly impractical to even concieve of such an idea. But that dream came true, didn’t it? What if it was a goal – they’d have tried it just the same, but after ten, fifteen, twenty tries given up; because apparently it seemed ‘impractical’.

So a dream is always possible, isn’t it? It’s upto us to take the initiative and make our dreams see the light of the day. So I’ve also come to realise that:

A goal is a dream with limits put on it.

Goals have limits, dreams are limitless.

Goals are short-term. Dreams are full-time.

The impossible becomes the possible, when it becomes a dream.

A Healthy Dose of Insanity

January 5, 2008 at 9:48 am | Posted in Life as I See It, Musing + Mulling | 9 Comments
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Insanity is my only means of relaxation.

I guess that applies for all of us. Even the most grim-faced, humourless creatures. That occasional quirky behaviour, the unpredictability or the feeling of unserious-ness that goes with it are some of the pills that all human beings ought to have from time to time.

But I wonder why so many people are unwilling to commit themselves to an occasional lapse of reason. Are they unaware that there’s a part of them that secretly yearns to get away from the mundane, to rid itself of all worry, to drop the concern and just be? Are they reluctant to expose that side of them to the world? Afraid, perhaps, of what the mind will do if set free?

Isn’t that what insanity is? Setting yourself free.

You can say that human beings are born free, but all of their life, whatever they may be bound by – wealth, responsibility or time – most of all a person is bound inwardly by themself. We imprison ourselves and don’t even know it. To be insane is to break the shackles and cut all the chains. The chains of reason. Of the tedious drudgery. Of the realm of impossibility.

To come on a more concrete plane, let me first define what insanity is. (And no, I’m not talking about the medical aspect of it.) Insanity, madness, lunacy – whatever you may call it – is an aspect of human behaviour that, in itself, is a counter-image of a person – and a very useful one at that. Why do I call it a counter-image? Well, because in this particular type of behaviour you don’t confine yourself to the facade that you may project to the world, or to even yourself. You become what you are not that you purport to be but that which you are, unknown to yourself. (Maybe that’s a bit confusing, but it does make sense.) Every person has dozens of ‘selfs’ in their natures. Dozens of different images, a whole bunch of different personas. All unified under the all-powerful ‘I’. This isn’t hypothetical rubbish, but science, albiet a very confusing one. Beneath the sense of identity that every person possesses are other sides of themselves that they aren’t aware of. Insanity is unearthing these sides.

Now you may argue it isn’t really possible, or rational, for a person to not know their own self. Well, guess what, it completely is. Schiller got it right when he said ‘When the wine goes in, strange things come out.’ We all know the effects that alcohol or drugs induce in a person that lead them to behaviour or ability they didn’t think themselves capable of – but there it is, a merely external, artificially induced, unnatural phase. Insanity is innate, instinctive…a natural drug, I’d say.

I know it’s boring to be predicable, conventional, and typical all the time. It is necessary to confirm yourself to the standards for society’s sake (we aren’t a bunch of mad apes on the lose, after all) but it is vital to be occasionally insane for the sake of your own. What’s the fun in leading an almost-programmed life anyway, with forlorn expressions and grim viewpoints?

To quote Jean Dubuffet: ‘For me, insanity is super sanity. The normal is psychotic. Normal means lack of imagination, lack of creativity.’ Definitely. And it’s also a kind of a defence mechanism that allows you to push back your anxiety and angst – and live as though you haven’t a care in the world. It’s good to be insane once in a while.

You aren’t doing it for anybody else; you’re doing it for yourself.

When I Don’t Get What I Want

January 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Life as I See It | 3 Comments
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…I get frenzied, restless, agitated.

Even when I know I shouldn’t.

I know I’m not the only one, of course. Most of the people do get frustrated easily when they don’t get what they want. But why? Is it because you can’t bear to stand the wait? When I know I’m going to get it eventually, why do I get so worked up about it? It seems pointless. More so when you count the fact that ‘getting worked up’ in my case is usually in the extreme. Temper and panic and restlessness. The constant yearning. The continuous reminder that I don’t have what I want. The dissatisfaction.

The worst part is, my dissatisfaction creeps into everything else in my daily life too. I get rude and snappy (more than usual), mess things up, and end up having that awful feeling of failure when I go to bed at night. I don’t want it. I don’t like it.

What do I do?

Cultivate patience? Tried that a dozen times already. Doesn’t work with me. Patience is one thing I’ll never have. It’s not that it’s just it in my head, I really can’t get much far however much I try. Perhaps my mind is so conditioned to get what I desire instantly that I can’t bear the wait?

Or is it something else?

Expectation. Endless expectation. Hoping, waiting, wanting. What if I just kill the desire? I kill the expectation and subsequently, the agitation. Or just, divert my mind somewhere else, and try not to think about it? But hang on, isn’t that just what patience is? And now I’m getting tangled up.

I found the following excerpt from The Ten Rules of Happiness highly comforting.

Take life easy and do not be judgemental of others, and yourself too. The world will not come to an end if you don’t get what you want right now. Most of the things are not so important that they cannot wait or be altered if required. And nothing is so helpless that it cannot be improved or solved. Never let small things bother you and never bother with small things. Remember, life is precious; it is to be enjoyed, not endured. It is not a competition, but a beautiful journey. And we are here to make our contribution, lighten someone else’s burden if we can, spread happiness and be happy.

It speaks out to me. As if it was especially written for me. Just how silly can I be? Letting stupid things upset me. I might be impatient, but this is just being silly as well. Honestly, I should try being patient some more. I mean, it’s either the temporary wait or the permanent abandonment of the desire, isnt it?

I’ll take the wait. :D

Now playing: My Dying Bride – My Wine in Silence
via FoxyTunes


January 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Life as I See It | 1 Comment
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With every new year come the resolutions. Even though fifty per cent of people give up within the first three months of the year, I can’t think of a better way to start a new year. And they’re fun!

When it comes to resolutions, I’ve always failed abysmally at them. I usually set very high standards for myself, even when it comes to resolutions. The thing is, I’m able to excel at anything I set against myself, save the resolutions. I guess my way of living and habits are so hardwired into my psyche I couldn’t change them even if I’d wanted to.

But an online friend gave me this little piece on resolutions and I thought it was really brilliant. It made me realise that you don’t always have to do great or big things in life, you can do small things with great dedication. I’m gunna put it up here and try to follow it all year long for the rest of my life hopefully!

1. Be observant.
2. Never let any idea go uncaptured.
3. Try to learn something from the people you meet.
4. Take a book or magazine wherever you go.
5. Allocate a minimum of 30 minutes to read a book.
6. Meditate.
7. Take time to reflect on your day. What have you done right? What have
you done wrong? What can you do to improve yourself?
8. Drink water a lot.
9. Exercise.
10. Read a collection of quotes.
11. Choose a quote of the day to ponder and apply.
12. Take notes of every expense you make.
13. Do something for the first time.
14. Effectively read online articles.
15. Use timer to help you actually do what you need to do.
16. Learn to use a tool, either to improve your skill
with a familiar tool or to learn a new tool.
17. Take time to review your life purpose and goals.
18. Rise early.
19. Listen to educational or motivational audio programme when you are
doing activities which do not need full concentration.
20. Be grateful for your day.
21. Read a random article to expose you to new things.
22. Have fun. Be passionate about life.

– Donald Latumahina

The Heart of All Things

December 20, 2007 at 8:30 am | Posted in Musing + Mulling | Leave a comment
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Take up a painting masterpiece, and have a long, hard look at it. What is it exactly that makes it so remarkable? The rendering of a perfect sketch, the individual brushstrokes, or the specific colours?
Take up a work of literature and try to deduce what its greatest highlight is – is it the words themselves, or the language that is so overflowing and rich?
Take up a musical piece and ask yourself what makes it get stuck in your head – the use of the individual instruments, the lyrics or the voice?

Or, in all the three cases, something entirely different, utterly independent, the very essence of that respective work?

In the painting, the choice of the colours or the depiction of individual figures are only the things that add to the beauty; but the essence of the painting can only be felt when taken in and seen as a whole – the rendering of an thought into a picture.
In the piece of literature, the words themselves can only but bring the forth the idea into a more precise or desirable manner, but without capturing strong ideas, the work will be equivalent to a show of jewellery on a scarecrow.
And music – is this perhaps the most abstract of all? The core of music is utterly intangible; and the tune itself, the most important element – is something that defines music, and is yet indefinable at the same time, something that cannot be expressed and yet is wholly expressive, something that can speak volumes without saying a word.

The heart of all things lies in the vague and elusive. It can’t be told, it can only be felt.

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