Sunday, 1 April 2018

Before you conform

When you start bothering about
what, exactly, other people expect of you,
you fall into the trap laid to snare you
and make you accept and obey the rules
set by others, faceless but omnipresent.
They start whispering in your ears –
the time for rebellion is passed,
as you only have so much time to waste.
You have to conform, or else,
sit around and watch
the whole world pass you by
in a whirling montage.
The world understands harmony;
they all want us to fulfill ambitions.
Even as you know the truth in
the heart of your heart –
you can’t be sure when the
same chances will come around again.
So clear the slate
to make a fresh start and go at it
with the total abandon of a reckless wreck.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Tropic of Cancer

Human beings make a strange fauna and flora. From a distance they appear
negligible; close up they are apt to appear ugly and malicious. More than anything they need to be surrounded with sufficient space – space even more than time.
– Henry Miller in Tropic of Cancer
When I was in my late teens, I first read the book “Tropic of Cancer”, primarily more out of curiosity and secondarily with a titillating and inquisitive anticipation of a bawdy novel. Because the book was originally banned and very difficult to get in a library. Very people I knew had read it but everybody said that it had graphic and vivid descriptions like pornography. Some also mentioned it as a very powerful book and to be read at least once. It was more the reason to read it, therefore. Before this I had read the perennial “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and “My God Died Young” by Sasthi Brata which were also considered quite controversial by the moral brigade of our times.
There was a footpath bookseller in Bistupur who specialized in supplying us with various pirated books and magazines at a very reasonable rate, including the supply of porn on a lending library basis. Now, before one starts getting too inquisitive, remember in 1980, there were very few avenues of puerile entertainment, unlike nowadays. So when I found this book with him, I immediately bought it with my hard earned money.
Reading the book was an experience by itself. On a first reading, the words that Henry Miller wrote just went through me like bullets. It was a revelation to discover the words and slang being used to resonate a meaning far beyond their verbal use. The style was, however , not too unfamiliar with me, let me admit that, because I noted that some famous contemporary Bengali novelists had copied his style in some of their well-known books. But yes, in English, this was the book that actually made me graduate from the classics, adventures, Wodehouse, Holmes, Poirot and the lot. With this book, I crossed the threshold of my simple and uncomplicated reading experiences and embarked on a journey to more abstract literature.
I will not say that I am an avid follower of avant-garde literature or art forms. But even with my limited intellect to appreciate and decipher the abstruse, I will credit Henry Miller and his masterpiece – Tropic of Cancer to change my reading habits and give me a new perspective of how books should be written. I read the book perhaps not more than thrice but it left a deep impact on me. Then after I left home for a job, with the passage of time, my book was lost along with so many other things.
I never felt a need to read the book, once more for so many days. A few days back, while browsing the internet, I came across a freely downloadable pdf version of the book and started reading it. Well, I don’t know whether I have matured with age, many people in my close circle will vehemently deny it . But even after almost four decades and all the vicissitudes of life that I have faced , the unabashed flamboyance and the unfettered vibrancy of his words filled me with a restless energy. It is indeed, a great piece of literature. It’s a poetry in the form of prose, a surreal dream, a profane scripture, a bohemian fantasy of a life that is so real.
Let me say this – Tropic of Cancer will not make any sense to everybody, particularly people who want their novels to be a rounder, cause and effect, conflict and resolution narrative. But anybody who is a writer or has even slightest of pretences of being a writer of sorts (like me, I admit) will be gaping in awe as they read this book page after pages, paragraph after paragraphs.
In his own words, the book is described by him on the first page itself as – “It is now the fall of my second year in Paris. I was sent here for a reason I have not yet been able to fathom. I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. A year ago, six months ago, I thought that I was an artist. I no longer think about it, I am. Everything that was literature has fallen from me. There are no more books to be written, thank God.”
“This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty … what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse…”
“To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.”

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Confusion

Is it some cosmic energy
that  brings in its wake
a dithering impatience
that makes you  intolerant
and unprepared to listen
when you come to realise
the contours of the giddy limit
remember the simple way
to deal with muddles
when it comes to the crunch
leave tricky choices to others
and make them feel
just how deeply you rely on them.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Random thoughts 19032018

It is now an undeniable fact that social media has changed the way we subscribe to news and even entertainment to some extent. Along with that it has also become overwhelmingly powerful in determining what we read, view or buy. The consequences of any social phenomenon are not always good; though popular belief is based on the adage – whatever happens, always happen for the best.

The main casualty of the proliferation of social media has been the concept of NEWS itself. Remember the day of our childhood when someone explained to us that it was an acronym that stood for information that we received from all directions – North, East, West, and South. Well, life is no more such a simple observation. News has now become to be an exposition of truth. And here comes the next growing up experience – Truth is no more absolute.

We also learned in our childhood that the words like Truth, Fact are absolute and there can’t be two versions of them for a given case. But with social media expanding and encroaching our mind space, what was considered to be an oxymoron is now a given something, however moronic it may appear. Social media has ushered in an era where everyone has their own facts. That includes you, your friend, your driver, your boss, your counsellor as well as your local councillor.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Wasim Jaffer

I know most people do not bother about or keep track of the Irani Trophy match anymore. And very few still remember Wasim Jaffer. For those who are feeling lost and immediately trying to change over to Google search, let me remind them that Irani trophy is (or was, as you may feel) the last match of the domestic first-class cricket season. It is held annually between the incumbent Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest of India Team. Nowadays, it is known as Irani Cup.
And Wasim Jaffer who previously played for Mumbai, India and now Vidarbha has scored 250 runs in the ongoing match, against Rest Of India team, that started yesterday. At the age of 40 !! Just to remind that in his first Irani Cup 22 years back, he had scored a Triple century that ushered his arrival. He had a mixed luck in test cricket but nevertheless scored 5 centuries including two doubles in the 31 tests that he played since his debut in 2000. In spite of a great domestic career, he could somehow never capitalise on the chances he got in test cricket and his ODI career was a big flop. But he was never thought to be fit for ODI to start with.
Jaffer has achieved few milestones of domestic cricket already in this unfinished innings. First, he completed his 18,000 runs in first-class cricket. Later he went on to complete his eighth double century in first-class cricket. He has also become the highest run scorer in Irani Cup. Currently unbeaten on 285, he is approaching his triple ton. He is already the highest run-getter in Ranji trophy and the only person who has scored 10000 runs in Ranji Trophy.
Not everybody gets the fame and acclaim that they theoretically deserve. Not all potentials are realised. Just like every Board topper does not become great scientists or doctors. Many fall behind others due to many reasons. Life is like that. But very few can persevere and carry on in the face of odds and challenges. For his commitment to cricket his tenacity and the hard work that he has put in, the motivation that he has shown to don the whites year after year in the grind of domestic cricket, Wasim Jaffer deserves huge respect and a very big applause.
I fervently hope he gets his Triple Century tomorrow to cap his long and illustrious career.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Death of Stephen Hawking

The life of Stephen Hawking was the celebration of mind over body. Perhaps the greatest mind trapped in a disabled body; that will always be how I will remember him . I have read two of his popular books - A Brief History of Time, and A briefer history of time and they only evoked awe just to comprehend. I wonder what his seminal works will be.

Hawking said: "Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation." He also said :"What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?"

Such minds that live in our midst can't be replicated . His death should be seen in this context.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

#ChinaMaalAlert The Chinese space station Tiangong-1 which was launched in 2011 originally had a two-year operational lifetime. Later its lifetime was extended to 2016. In September 2016, the Chinese space agency CMSP admitted that Tiangong-1 was out of control, and predicted its re-entry in the second half of 2017.
But it seems that like most astrological prophecies and stock market predictions there are some complications in the calculation of the exact date of this event . This Chinese Maal in space runs through its lifecycle a bit more than anticipated and now the spacecraft is supposed to make its final re-entry-crash-and-burn.
Just keep your fingers crossed with the hope that this doesn’t happen over your own house . And take adequate insurance cover.