Curiosity Killed the Alien

Posted On // Leave a Comment
Why does watermelon only come in the summers?

I was asked this question last month. And, admittedly, it is a simple question that can be assumed to come from a young brain. But, after a month I'm still stumped by the brilliance of it.

Whenever I remember it I start wondering what has happened to our curiosity! Why have we stopped asking such questions? Are we afraid that we'd be labelled as stupid? Because I can proudly announce that I didn't know the answer to the question posed above.

On a humorous note, I have to reveal, the question was asked by a colleague of mine when I was talking about my love of watermelons. Who can't love those fat babies?

I googled Alien + Watermelon to find this!
Alright, lots of questions in one post. Let's discuss a short story:

We have an alien, let's call him Jerry, who's come from another planet. We fall in love with him when he lands among us and one of us is assigned the task of taking care of him. Let's assume that person's you.

You take Jerry out for a walk. There he points at a man who was beating another because the other had spat on his shoe by mistake, and asks, why are they fighting? You patiently explain that on earth there's this thing called humanity that these two idiots don't know. 

Then you begun to tell him what humanity means and in the process start thinking if those two idiots belong to earth at all! Meanwhile your alien spits on the man's other shoe and gets himself killed.

The process of starting to think about stuff in depth right in the abrupt end of the silly story, that is the reason why we mustn't treat any kind of question as stupid. Instead, treat every person you see as an alien. That would sort it out!

I urge you to start treating seeing everything from the eyes of a foreign entity. Like, Aamir Khan in PK! Just, don't go to the level of absurdity he's chosen. Once a wise man in a movie had this amazing thing to say to all of us: Nigga, never go full retard! 

(To those who are curious, Robert Downy Jr says that in Tropic Thunder to Ben Stiller in relation with tips to get Oscar when acting a retard in a movie. I think it fits to what Aamir Khan is doing.)

In the closing, I've been updating my blog every week as I resolved to. That's my personal agenda. Until the next one hits the shore, please check out all that you might have missed! I don't always share what I've posted on my blog on my Facebook timeline. You could have missed something fun!

Oh, and I deliberately left out the answer to the question that instigated this post. Go figure!

Where Is My Mind?

Posted On // Leave a Comment
A scooter scraped the side of my ride last weekend.

The man tried changing lanes without checking if the road was clear or not. Hence, the scraping. Now, I was furious at him, but was also getting late for work, so I kept driving. This was wrong on my part.

The man took this as a defensive stance from my side. And he drove ahead, stopped me and started abusing me in Odiya. Why, I asked him again and again, was I the one at fault? And after a few failed attempts at clarifying, he gave up and I moved on.

Don't you think this happens with us in our conflicts with people all the time? Sometimes people mistake your calm for something else entirely. But this topic is so complicated that there's no easy way of discussing it without picking up a book on psychology.

I think that's what happened in the tenure that Manmohan Singh took the reigns of our country. Look at Modi go! I don't like any leading politician in these times, but Modi is making sure we're better heard and never dominated.

Anyway, this general rant exists only to take something off my head and that is the trouble with finding people to trust in this turn of my life. I want to look back and read this post to see if anything has changed. If not, then I'm the guy on the scooter and I'm focusing on the wrong things altogether.

In closing, I'd like to admit that my work has gotten me less creative with the inner findings of life. This isn't how it should be. I must take some time out to think about everything happening around me. Let's see how that works out. 

Face The Moon

Posted On // Leave a Comment
I am humbled by the response I've received for Face The Sun. So much that the next day of posting it, I wrote the second part to the story. This is a different setting, and though it doesn't need a read of the first part, you might relate better if you did. 

I was also touched by friends who reached out to me, worried that I was writing about myself and concerned that I went through so much. I extend my gratitude to them. Now, on to the end.

Have you ever felt like running so fast that your feet take off from the ground? You no longer step on the gravel but find yourself floating. Probably, giving it a few more seconds, you'd not need your legs at all. You'd be pushing yourself forward through your hands. Leaving everything behind. All the rush, all the pain and all the formalities you need to go through to live your life.

Can you hear the wind whistling to you? The night is trying to calm you down but the city lights anger you more. Higher and higher you go, leaving the world below until the sky tears open. A thunderclap disguises your disappearance and you leave the material world for ever.

Can you feel it now?

He had been feeling it since the sky had started darkening. But he wasn't running. His pace was slower. He was bound by the physics of real world, as much as he wanted to be an exception. All his life he'd been brought up to believe in superheroes. That realm was obviously so stupid and unreal.

Despite his internal struggle, he was walking down a busy Bangalore road looking for a temple. Iskcon, as he expected, must calm him down. Being an atheist, it was an absurd idea to seek shelter in the court of God, but he was breaking down. He needed hope. He needed peace. And he needed solitude. Luckily, the bus' last stop was a kilometer before Iskcon. That had motivated him.

He didn't think he'd ever find it. He noticed a very old couple walking past him. They clutched each other tighter and jerked in horror when he called out. With a shaky hand (Parkinson's maybe?) the wife pointed him the direction. He smiled at them and walked faster. The shoes were still hurting him but he needed hope.

The road had a metro track overhead. It was still under construction. The noise was pressing and urgent. It demanded attention. And he ignored it until he spotted the towering domes. The temple wasn't crowded tonight. Though, the long corridors built to handle queues were being operated. He took off his shoes and deposited them in a stand in the middle of his walk to meet the agents of God. In ten minutes he found himself facing the idols.

There were no self-proclaimed pundits bothering him. Everything was quiet. The air inside almost seemed lazy to him. He had switched off his phone. Nobody knew where he was. But who cared anyway? He'd turn it on to find no calls missed. He was away from his circle of people, from his family and his most concerned friend and yet everybody had errands to run.

He knew it wasn't anybody's fault that they didn't relate with the pain and struggle he was going through. He didn't expect anyone to anyway. This was his fight. All that he was experiencing, he had brought it on himself through the decisions he had taken in the course of his life. If push came to shove, the blame was on him, and nobody else. And he was thankful that he moved to a new city to look for jobs, everybody did that in the folk lore he'd read in childhood. It was a tradition being followed since centuries. A man moves his settlement to where he can earn livelihood.

But if it was the right thing to do, why wasn't he happy?

He turned his thoughts back to the Gods that should have been talking to him through voices inside his head. If today was the day he would start believing in Gods, then so be it. He was ready to bask in the glory if it helped him find peace. He was ready to bloom as the brightest flower if facing the sun was his only way, but.

Nothing. He heard nothing and he felt nothing. He was disappointed again. Of course it meant nothing to him! He backed into a corner and sat down on the floor along with some defeated devotees. The atmosphere reeked of sadness. He could feel it enveloping him too. What was the rest of the audience thinking? He dropped his face in his hands and almost gave up to the coat of despair.

Then he smiled. The sadness was trying very hard to penetrate him. And that made him smile. In a few minutes, thinking about it made him laugh too. The temple echoed his loud guffaws. Sadness! He could feel it scarpering now. Nobody except he understood what was happening. Sadness is a silly concept. He was at the lowest point of his life. He was away from everybody he ever loved. He was scaling the roads of a city synonymous with unemployment. And he was hugely undervaluing himself.

Now that the graph of his life was touching bottom, could sadness break him any further? What happens to the smallest particle in the universe? It becomes God. You can't touch it anymore. It is indivisible. That was what he was. Invincible. Nothing could get him lower than this.

He felt powerful now. If you've seen what it feels like to be floored, would you ever be scared of it ever again? Never! He resolved. Never again.

He quickly waded out of the temple. Unnecessary establishments that fool people into disbelieving themselves. Why would you trust somebody you've never met so much and not the people who're sitting before you begging for a job whilst trying their hardest to impress you? The entire system is flawed. He realized.

He passed the shoe stand and didn't even pause to think. He didn't need to bring so much pain in his life. He walked barefoot out of the temple and hit the road. He saw a bus going to his abode but he avoided it. He wanted to walk.

He thought about his words. All that he was experiencing, he had brought it on himself through the decisions he had taken in the course of his life. Then why was he was bringing sadness in? He was such an idiot! Why does he have to beat himself down with sorrow? When all of it is in his hands, why doesn't he lift himself up instead of going down? He laughed again. The din of the city's hustle masked his voice but he could hear it. He could feel his heart getting out of the cage he'd trapped it in.

If it was so simple, why wasn't he doing what he felt like? He crossed over to face the traffic and broke into a run on the footpath. This was his choice. This was his life. He was tired of long shadows. With his face flushing with sweat he realized that to get up and fly into the face of the moon, you have to face the sun first. The process of learning is always one way. And what he'd learned today, he would never be able to unlearn, try as hard as he may.

Face The Sun

Posted On // 5 comments
I've spent a little less than two months exploring jobs in the most crazed city for techies. What I saw there, I wanted to share it with everyone I know. Life is not all smiles and cherries. It takes a long history of sorrows to start appreciating the joy in everything. I like to believe experiences like these make humans humble and more grateful. And I hope this touches your heart, because it broke mine.

He had a borrowed bag containing his portfolio slung over his shoulder. He didn't want to use his bag because it didn't look nice enough. The signature sky-blue shirt and black trousers seemed to hang over his body too. Sweat soiled his freshly pressed shirt. He tried to look at himself in the Lamborghini's showroom's impeccable glass window. Two kilograms gone in two weeks, he judged.

A salesperson inside smiled at him. He broke away from his chain of thoughts and stole a look at his watch while he boarded a bus. It was two hours to the appointment.

He had missed his breakfast, as always. The conductor gave him a ticket to his destination and he stole a look at his wallet before stuffing it back in the bag. Stealing looks wasn't his thing. But there wasn't much in his life now. He had a total of three-hundred and something rupees left. His bank balance read five-hundred something.

He had never been aware of money. But now that he was chasing it directly through job interviews, he realized how crazy it was. He knew the pang his father would have felt all his life while parting with his money. He was ashamed now. He had come of age. There is a limit to what you can put your parents through.

He wiped his forehead on his sleeve. And when he stole a glance at the sleeve, he realized it was somebody else's. He turned away and muttered a quick sorry. The man stepped on his shoes in exchange. That is when he realized how badly his feet were hurting. He had been walking in cheap leather shoes for ever. They were bound to go bad in the heat.

At his stop, he found himself out of the bus with the crowd. He forged through and rested against a pole. He stole a quick look at his watch again. Now he was ten minutes late for the interview.

He looked around him. He could easily count fifty job-seekers on road at that instant. The tragedy was, not more than five of them were going to the same company. If you want to see engineers from the field of computer science looking desperate, you must visit the silicon valley.

His stomach grumbled from lack of nutrition as he limped across the scorching road to look for the address. He didn't care call for an autorickshaw. They overcharged. His thoughts went back to the list of friends that were toiling away in their respective air-conditioned offices. He had never imagined he'd become so needy to do that himself.

It was almost noon. His day was going to be long. One more session of discussing his candidature for the job. One more painful reminder of what he was and how he deserved to be treated better. One more blow to his self-esteem as prepares to kill his dreams and settle for a contractual slavery.

A tear sprung free and trailed down his face as he climbed up the stairs of a dingy complex. The elevator was out-of-bounds for job-seekers. He wiped the sweat on his face. Sweat, tears, blood, who cared? He shrugged as he came face-to-face with another tired company representative. He extended his hand to the security guard and pulled a smile out of nowhere. It had become sort of robotic now.

The guard asked for his identification proof, matched it to a name in a list he had stuffed in his back pocket and asked him to stand near a wilting plant. The only good thing about Bangalore, he felt, was the weather. Otherwise, the city was as good as shit. In fifteen minutes, the guard snapped at him and urged him to go inside.

He cracked his knuckles and made for the door. The cool wall of air curtain hit him as he pushed them open. Several heads glued to dimly lit monitors turned to face him. He felt ashamed and conscious of himself. In his hurry to leave this feeling behind, he let a zipper toy of the bag hook up with the door. His portfolio fell open, sprawling certificates all over the floor.

The guard came forward, bent down and began stuffing them in the portfolio haphazardly. He'd had enough. He pushed the guard away. Half of the valuable papers were already ruined with angry folds all over now. He picked the rest up one by one. He wanted to cry now. People had started undervaluing people. This taken-for-granted attitude broke him. And he made the decision right there.

He pushed his portfolio in his bag and got up. He turned back to the door, gave the guard an angry look and started descending the stairs. He didn't need their abysmal job. He didn't need a job at all! He wiped his face on his sleeve, spotted a bus and got in without checking the route number. When the conductor asked his destination, he muttered, last stop. He craved peace. He craved solitude.

. . . continued in Face The Moon.