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The other day, I bought Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, Game of Thrones by GRR Martin and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I had been roaming Sector 17 – The shopping complex, Sector 15 – The second hand book stop and other sectors searching for the three books. The trilogy holds different meaning to different people, but I was more inclined to buy Eragon, story written by a 15 year old teenager, not a guy, nor an old fart, but a teenager.

Eragon felt like a bitch slap across the face. A fifteen year old had more guts than any of us. He wrote a story at just fifteen. Even Hemmingway had to be drunk enough to get something creative out of him, and remember – he was sad depressed fuck who committed suicide. But Paolini at fifteen wrote a novel. What’s more, he got it self-published and even spent a year travelling the vast lands of United States promoting it. I am scared shitless on the thought of living in an unknown city, but here he is.

What encouraged me to look for Eragon was how Paolini managed to get all the elements of Quest Plot straight. Quest, journey, romance, adventure, you name it. It is important to note that he had read many other works of fiction before he went onto write his own, which can be accredited to his success. Among other reasons, the outstanding one to buy Eragon was that this was the only book I knew that had a boy on a quest that grows through ethical and moral development, all that in the midst of fantasy and fiction. I later learnt that I should have opted for The Wheels of Time series, but four still feels a reasonable start to me.

Tolkien is the father of fantasy. Buying Lord of the Rings was more like paying tribute. There is no better story teller than Tolkien. The great complexities of his world leave me amazed. More than envy, I respect the time and effort Tolkien must have put to make perhaps the best art there ever will exist. Tolkien stands as a lighthouse, guiding and telling me that there is greatness to be achieved.

Martin has redefined the genre. His characters are deep and interesting. Although his stories lack the journey, per say, but it’s always involving to go through the turns that his characters experiences. Martin proves the point that fantasy is not dead, not even in this day and age. However, I do feel that he marks the end of contemporary fantasy fiction.

For two days, the bed sheet caressed the plastic cover of the books as they lay on the bed, extracting all the pessimistic feelings out of me. I wouldn’t disagree that the excitement of finally having something substantial, something more than a piece of binary collection, didn’t incite inappropriate thoughts towards the books. I wanted to do so many things to them because of the legacy they brought to my room, to my collection of books, to my life. As I keep the trilogy in the book cabinet, I find myself telling the other books to show respect, and learn something from these great books who have withstood time and tide to bring great stories to people. I probably won’t open them for a very long time. Their symbolic value is greater to me at this point in time.

The Rhythm and the Song

Inspiration, motivation and the clarity of thought is the discovery of the melody or the rhythm of a song. The song has been playing forever, but we were capable of hearing only bits and pieces arranged in random order, making no sense because of our prejudices and misconceptions. The circle of negativity blinds us from our basic instinct to be a part of something whereas the ego binds us to the detrimental self. Inspiration or motivation is the realization of the melody in the song. It leaves a before-and-after-moment upon the spectator. It is the moment where everything fits, where the listener has the full song in his head. It is the moment of meaning, where the song is the definition and the rhythm the understanding.

Crisis and Inspiration

Artistic crisis is a dark fathomless well of negativity, self-loathing and frustration. I had been developing my fantasy world for the last month, enjoying the slow place with which the back story or the history was reaching its conclusion. And then yesterday, I rented a random book with an intention of grasping the genre. It happened that the book’s first paragraph had been my fantasy’s entire world. The numbers were different, as they always are, but the concept was ditto same.

What followed were days of blank impulsive behavior. The next day my parents and I went to a local darshan yatra, visiting Sai Baba temple and Mansa Devi Temple. It is usual for me to have an opinion for everything and about everyone, but that day, I was so quiet, I could hear my ears working. Even with objectivity, there is a dilemma of two things, but that day, everything seemed one to me. I hoped something would incite an emotional response in me, but I had never been so blank in my life. On very rare occasions do I visit temple without some wishes awaiting God’s grant, but that day, I was there just to say hello.

The next day, however, the silence had gone. I was talking too much and too fast covering so many topics that it became a challenge for the people around me to keep the conversation going. I was scared to look in the eye and afraid of my own space. Every would-be conflict appeared like death staring back, but the response was single: flight. Later that day, I met a dear friend in KFC. We talked and it calmed me a bit, the food helped.

Reading books was pointless, research was futile. For the first time, I felt the need of a muse. In our country, I don’t think people have even heard the word muse, let alone the meaning and the gratification. Helpless bumping on the four walls, I picked up Stephen King’s On Writing.

Reading him, in no ode to King, though I fail to understand why comic make jokes on him, lifted the circle of negativity. Hope smiled at me, motivation crawled up my back. It wasn’t just King’s, but the struggle and efforts many other talented artists illuminated the darkness within me. So what if someone has already told me similar story? Being a writer doesn’t mean that I have only one story to tell. Far from it. Inspiration swept me like gusty monsoon winds that I ended up buying three books from flipkart.

Living in the Material World

A couple of months back my sister lost her diamond set mysteriously. She had gone to another city for around 3 weeks and returned to find out her cupboard was unlocked and the casing which guarded the jewellery was empty. The police questioned the room-mates and the domestic help, but in the end the cased was closed and sent into a limbo.

For a few days my sister was inconsolable. Living alone in a foreign city, she had never had any hiccups until this. This incident provoked a thought in my mind. Is our love for objects so ginormous? I tried to calm her down by saying that it was just a materialistic thing, and we should not cry for them. Lord Buddha went to the extent saying we should not be emotionally attached to human beings, then the diamond set was just an inanimate object. In a few days, she got over it and my dad bought her a new set. I was happy that my philosophy worked.

A similar incident happened to a friend. He lost his laptop in college. He was totally devastated in the aftermath. He went into a depression. Listening to songs like ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ and ‘Yesterday’ all the time. I know, even I can’t live a single day without my laptop, but I still thought, what is the big deal? How can people develop such a bond with things that are bought.

The other day I was staying at my brother’s house for the night and went out for a walk all alone. I had planned for a perfect night, with my book and i-Pod within my sight and Germany v/s Portugal just a few hours away. So while walking I was pre-occupied with exciting thoughts and was walking frenziedly. A few minutes later I randomly checked my pocket and had a mini cardiac arrest there and then. I had lost my cellphone. Now, this is not an uncommon event for most of the people, and usually in the end the cellphone turns out to be in some other pocket. That is what I expected for the first few moments, but it was clear that I had indeed lost it. Shattered, I went back into the house and tried to focus my mind on reading. I called my parents through the landline and said my phone’s battery was dead.

Now came the part of self-consoling. I ate a lot of ice-cream to ease out the stress, but nothing helped. In the end I switched off the light, laid down on the bed, put the earphones and started the mental strife. The brain, and the dark side of the brain, as I fondly call it, started the debate, making immaculate conclusions. It started with the lecture on materialistic things. I tried hard to make myself understand what I so neatly explained to my sister. But when the nail is in your heart, only then you can feel the real pain. I had wet my eyes and the heart ache was strong.

A cellphone becomes a daily part of your life. It is your closest friend, anywhere and everywhere. We almost care for it like it was a baby. Keeping it close and safe, charging it regularly, showing affection to it, shouting at it and finally using it to kill time. Hours after I had lost my cellphone I still kept looking for it to see the time, every slight vibration made me think it was it. All I kept thinking was about all the things I had lost with my phone. The numerous contacts, heart to heart chats, high scores in games and a perfect mp3 collection, they were all gone. It had become clear, materialistic things do become an important part of your life.

People mostly face these situations at some part of their life and it is always painful. For example people who lose their wallets, don’t exactly cry for their money, but for the loss of a friend who always stayed in their pocket. Losing a laptop now seems an occurrence so harsh, I’ll rather go for a death sentence.

Although it isn’t right, but loving the materialistic things is inevitable, unless you are determined to follow Buddha and attain Nirvana(I’ll prefer LSD). The love does not happen because you ‘buy’ these things with hard earned money, but because as time flies you develop a relationship with them and become dependent on them. When something becomes a part of your daily routine it is hard to imagine a life without it.

The pain is short lived and vanishes with a replacement, but the enormity of those heart aches proves that though we claim otherwise, we all are living in the material world, and it is hard to cut threads.

Cyber Criminals and their acts of criminality have been often defended by a very important yet seldom provided freedom of expression. As cartoonist Aseem Trivedi walked the path that led him to his 2 week judicial custody, he seemed to be a warrior, in for a larger cause. His cartoons and the so called religious and national sentiments, are actors of the same old play. Where the sentiments win all the time. If we look at the history of modern India, we will stumble upon similar acts involving Mr. Salman Rushdie, Mr M.F Hussain and many more. Where sentiments have been vehemently abused and insulted. As India a rising power of the east modernizes its army but also its society what place do these emotions and sentiments hold?  I in no moment of madness mean to belittle the upsurge of sentiments that appear to be so frail in these times of change, would like to digress.

As media and our government are at loggerheads, each accusing the other of contortion of facts stated by each. Today as our country leaps and runs holding the baton of international change why is that our stride is obstructed by mere inflexibility. I stand, as Aseem screams and wrestles in my television for a cause that is now seems to be dead.
The monsoon session of our respected parliament ended a few days ago, with the usual end. We seem to ignore it now as we have ignored most of our political scenario and have peacefully resigned ourselves to the famous ‘chalta hai’ attitude. There’s a greater question that lingers. Isn’t it an abuse to our constitution and our democratic values when we commit ourselves to our famous ignorance. Who is in this current scenario the greater evil or the greater good? A political class and its protectors who (in this case of our astray cartoonist) rip through his freedom of speech and expression are not the criminals of the same crime(of demeaning the respected institution of the parliament and thus demeaning our constitution)? When the protector becomes the cause of the institutions destruction is it not the greater evil? Even so who is responsible enough to take the higher good and bring justice? The case is not of the breech of freedom but of our moral fabric.

Our parliament is not just another institution of decision making but also the epitome of our hopes. Hope that one day the road in front of my house will be made, hope that one day the hungry will be fed. Is this hope or a sense of self-uplifting not a sentiment? What if this sentiment gets hurt? What law does our judicial system provides us, to bring such a criminal to justice?

Among the multitude of questions, let us not forget to ask or seek to answer the more important questions. When will our great country and its administrators acknowledge the need of true justice?

As I finish another news flashes on my television it is the case of Mr Jagdish tytler and his use of his freedom of expression which goes unpunished while our favorite cartoonist spends the night in jail.

These words that I write are, as I must confide, not my words. I have, in my pursuit to express, lent them. I have lent them from a silent heart that speaks in a language that we do not understand anymore. As I do so, I must also clarify and justify my position- 
The heart of this world, the heart to which we have in our times headed no respect or attention. Cries and wails. The need for love and acceptance is universal, in our tender hearts we all- I must say, are desperate. And still we find ourselves in a fix. For us,the need of acceptance has now become the cause of the, demise, of ourselves. The acceptance of which I confer, is at any cost not the need of our character. For us to even fathom the steepness of this fall, that we so blatantly plunge ourselves into, we must peruse through our own character and accept it. And still it is not that we have difficulty in accepting ourselves, it is hard to accept everybody else. For us it is not a great deal to love ourselves but to love everyone as they are. You might examine and say then what of hate? Hate and love are like the two balances that keep this world straight on its fulcrum. But what is to hate when there is nothing to love? Hate must survive, the curse of its love. It must survive only in our meager hearts for our meager deeds. The fact and the freedom to change is the answer to this question. We must hate what has not changed, which should have altered for good. Only then will we justify hate, and augment our civilization. So, now you may ask- What of the fact that most of us have lost ourselves in this competitive pursuit of acceptance? 
To which I would suggest an answer that is for sure not possible. We must then find ourselves….
In this wilderness, this wilderness of false hope and humanity if we find ourselves in some solitude I think we should keep it for ourselves. No matter what it takes we mustn’t let our dreams die. The real dreams, not the ones that we were thrust upon. This is the only way we can resurrect our society. Allowing everyone to be the way they are. When I say this I do not encourage the acceptance
of bad behavior or you would say immoral behavior. It must not be tolerated as it only is an act of parching somebodies individuality. When we have done as I suggest we shall make a world that we all will want to live in. 

This is the world and its heart that I owe my words to. 
I am no idealist but a sure thinker. I think…Image

A man once walked on earth that treads in our dreams now,
He may have vanished but his words still linger in our hearts now,
His embellishments have espoused our fate now.
Syd barrett

This not an introduction to a star or an idol or even an inspiration. But to a genius, an iconoclast, to his words, a mental monster, also his disintegration and breakdown. I am talking about a forgotten king of music –Syd barrett. Remnants of his ideas remain in the form of his music and his words.
I have been an avid fan of Syd barrett for a long time now. Even though I have been aware of his tragic end, I have never been less astonished. His secret lies in the fact that his songs and their meaning still remain relevant and how even a man on the verge of breakdown could speak for the feelings and emotions of the majority (sane majority to be precise).
“Bike “- a song some would interpret as a description of childish love and its innocence. But how many times have you been inclined to say “You’re the kind of girl that fits in with my world.” to someone and in the exact same way? This song also has a sense of desperation of “adult” love, “I’ll give you anything, everything if you want things.”. Have we not felt the same way? But what amuses me about this song is the way he is trying to convince the “girl” in the song. The same blandishments we must have experimented with. Telling a girl how decorated and beautiful our own world is “ I’ve got a bike. You can ride it if you like. It’s got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good.” and how even the smallest things matter.
Another song that catches my imagination and I can certainly relate to is “Jugband blues” and no I am not an addict. But I have certainly felt the aloofness and a similar kind of non-attachment . And how can we run away from the fact that we have lived our life thinking about the world we are not part of and have (sometimes)swiftly melted way into that world without concurring to world we live in “It’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here,And I’m much obliged to you for making it clear,That I’m not here.”.
If I was given a chance to trade my life with his, I would have done so. Not because I would have then become a genius or a legend in some ways or have created the best music even in adverse mental conditions but for the sake of “his”fervent emotions.

Dark Globe
Oh where are you now
willow that smiled on this leaf?
When I was alone you promised the stone from your heart
My head kissed the ground
I was half the way down, treading the sand
Please, please, lift a hand
I’m only a person whose armbands beat
On his hands, hang tall
Won’t you miss me?
Wouldn’t you miss me at all?
Syd barrett

Now as the festivities of Christmas end. I am left wondering should I be participating is such celebrations or even wishing Merry Christmas. Being an atheist you are often confronted with such questions on every nook and corner of life. Well, that is what atheism is about. You can weigh up your credentials and act as your ratified logic ushers.
One of my friends(a rather vocal atheist) was banished from a Christmas party just because of his atheistic ideology.
They shouldn’t have done so for
1) their GOD(if he ever existed) is in everyone and surely is in an avid atheist.
2) they could have tried to change his mind maybe showing him the blandishments that led them to believe.
3) the GOD himself would have permitted( I think he doesn’t distinguish)
Well, personally I didn’t celebrate Xmas thinking it was brandish and superficial.
Their is one more viewpoint to this though. The people themselves celebrating Christmas are shamelessly atheistic about Santa themselves. But decorated Santa’s are certainly omnipresent. Atheists in my view can celebrate Christmas as it’s just one more god they wish to disapprove of and then somebody has to preserve these cultural ceremonies(for old times sake).

Pessimist’s Prophecy

So, it’s been a while since we have updated our blog but we’ve been busy just like the rest of the world. So far it’s been a year of change. The rich and the poor stand in resentment of each other (like in the past) but the expression of this resentment has changed. Poor are on the street evincing their discontent and disparage. While the rich are more subtle. The Anna brigade, common wealth games fiasco and the prosecution of raja has aggravated the situation. Now the oppressed class stands even more aggrieved while the rich clutter in awe.
While we all knew what the outcome will be, the men and women on the streets were still ready for a sacrifice. Do or die was once again the slogan for the masses. The core fundamentals of democracy were challenged. And for the first time as it seems democracy and its fundamentals were discussed and through this discourse the true meaning of democracy was to be derived which should have been done about a century ago(but never mind, it’s never too late). Masses bewildered by this intellectual discourse sang songs of national pride. Men and women clogged up streets, yelped out their discontent in hope of changing the world. The vehement but nonviolent (see the irony) protests were fruitless at best. A stupid resolve of a man could not stand in front of the firm and unyielding government. A promise or I must say a false promise was provided. As if the masses absolved the government, the masses sang songs of success. This success was actually a compromise. People can certainly give away a week for a cause but more than that is certainly obscene. The government knows that. The core committee was aware of it. So, the compromise was inevitable. With no concrete outcome, the pessimist’s prophecy had materialized. The government resolved to bring the law. Governments always resolve to do things. Most resolved to eradicate poverty and like in every manifesto parties too have resolved to eradicate corruption and other social malice. A recurring question that haunted me through all this discourse was, Is India now a better place? The answer is left to conjecture.

Sound of Shaitan

Well, the blog’s film section is not ready yet, but after watching Shaitan, I ‘had’ to write a review. Because it has helped me judge my chances to be a film maker in the industry! So here it goes :-

Since the trailers were first out I have been waiting for the film. The song Bali, suits the trailer best. I did miss the first day first show and a few more days and shows consequently, but today I finally got a chance.

Shaitan starts with Anurag Kashyap giving a social message. Yes the ‘lazy ass ranter’, starts the film telling youngsters that alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc., are bad for them. While if the dialog was start taking drugs, start life, the quote ‘well begun is half done’ would have been so apt. The scenes from the asylum give us a hint that the movie is on the insane end of brain, like most of Anurag’s films are. Then again we have typical scenes, fast introductions, normal ‘I hate my parents’ people and alcohol and drugs and a lot of drugs.

After wild parties, cranky dialogs and a couple of kisses, you reach the scene which has created the hype. The accident scene. And yes, the scene lives up to the hype, it is a great milestone in hindi cinema. But just a few moment more and you’ll have the moment. The moment you’ll scream , “What the fuck, this is the story of Paanch” and that would sure turn you off, completely! But as the film proceeds you do notice remarkable differences and slowly it attracts your interest. Then the fast paced action, the haunting music, Rajeev Khandelwal’s grit and Kalki’s neurotic expressions when she is high, makes you want to forgive all the negative aspects of the movie and makes you an instant fan.

Remarkable scenes :- When KC asks Amy to open a ‘joint account’, the accident scene(ofcourse), the crashing of the beer bottle and a tv set, by KC and Dash respectively, on the heads of two guys who were ‘teasing’ and ‘more than teasing’ their girls, Khoya Khoya Chand(thats already a rage), the shot where Inspector Arvind Mathur flashes from behind a bed and kills a junkie(though you can’t possibly save yourself from machine gun fires with a mattress and Amy’s hallucinations of her mom when she is high in the Church(thats Anurag Kashyap).

The weak points of the movie were :- Obviously the script, it could have been better. The director was confused whether he was making a thriller or a black comedy. The German girl wasn’t really German. Too much time wasted on the camera work and special effects.

The good points were :- The camera work, indeed. Cinematography. The music, especially Bali and Fareeda. The acting – all of the actors have done a very very good job, but special credits to Rajeev Khandelwal and Kalki.

In the end, Shaitan is a good film. It is definitely not great! And if you do think otherwise, watch Paanch. You’ll know what Bollywood really needs. You’ll know who Anurag Kashyap really is!

Rating 2.5/5