Oh young Jung!

There is something so fascinating and mysterious about the way the people are. The sight beyond the sight, the game of cat and mouse played in the mind. The petty satisfaction derived from guessing what others are thinking and the joy of making ample correct guesses. That’s the game of poker. That’s also the game of entertaining psychology.

Most of us associate psychology to Psychos. And then the conservative ones think of shrinks, Psychologists, at the mere mention of the word. There is also the massive negative connotation. All things psychology point towards mental instability and the feared fracture of the mind. Most of us usually don’t realize that we all exhibit such analytical skills in judging and predetermining motives of others in our day to day lives. The step into office and we try to put ourselves into many shoes. We think like how we think others would think. Workplace and business is usually a brilliant and yet such a subtle game of picking psychology hues. It helps us understand things better. It helps us plan for things better.

Different people are different and our ability to adapt and know the right set of things to say to keep the folks happy, is a skill that differentiates the ‘Go doers’ and the coveted ‘Go Getters’. Business has a different name to it. It’s called a soft skill. A soft skill is a million square miles beyond just the ability to string a few sentences together in a different language. This people skill is the one that we tend to call ‘Leadership’ skills. The wonderful ability to influence, manipulate, steer, inspire a wider team in order to meet common objectives. The average day is littered with evidences of Psychology 1-0-1.

I have many vested interest into this area. I like talking to people. I love meeting new people. I enjoy imagining the life they’d have lived. I like writing fictitious tales of such characters, leading such lives. As a story teller, I enjoy the many nuances to how people are, how they interact with their world, how they react to given circumstances. I love framing tales around the rise and fall of heroes and villains to add that drama to my story.

This curiosity led me to the works of Carl Jung. While the authenticity and the validity of Jung’s works can be disputed, I’m fascinated by the fact that I have tools to model my characters and give them a personality. I remember writing a bit about Anima and Animus. The masculine and feminine side to us all. This time around, I found myself stumbling deeper into the rabbit hole called Archtypes.

Personality, as the word stands, is derived from Persona. It’s a bit funny because Persona is something that we use so that others can spot us, identify us, categorize us and subsequently either accept or reject us. Persona and by implication, a personality is a mask that we put on display to appease to the world around us. It’s a fad. It’s a fashion statement. It’s a lifestyle choice that’s put on a public display.

The self, and along other contexts(examples include self discovery, spirituality and arm chair philosophy) which is referred to as the soul, is the way we are to ourselves. The self , quite often , is very different from Persona and the personality.

Got a bit of a time. Google – > Jung Archtype personality test. I don’t remember the link, but yeah, I took one. I happen to be a Joker. That’s two levels of joker. I see myself as one and it’s my choice of persona. Apparently, the tests reveal how you see yourself and what show you put for the world to see. Yup. It’s pseudo-science official.

Before we step into the details of the Archtype, the term archtype itself is a definition of traits that are exhibited by most people. We have the Joker. There is the Wise old man, The wise old woman, the Lover, The Devil to name a few. Archtype itself is a part of the collective unconscious that most people are aware of but indifferent towards. Collective unconscious, the words do suggest that we acknowledge the archtypes without even realizing it.

To quote an example, anyone dressed in orange, peaceful enough face, long enough beard. We equate them to God-men/women. Associate honesty, truth and purity towards them. And bada boom, scandal a few months down the line. Archtypes do play a pivotal role in shaping up history. All leaders, who have managed to capture the attention and hearts of people, exhibit this trait. They are successful only because we put our faith in them. We do that, also because unconsciously, we feel compelled to form a favourable opinion.

So back to Joker. The Joker takes the life easy. Fun. Contemplative. Thinks a lot. Acts when necessary. Uses humour to win the day and doesn’t care about the heroes and villains of the tale. It’s the journey that fascinates the joker. Call it a confirmation bias, but yeah, I can lead myself to believe that I fit the bill.

Another interesting thing about such Archtypes is the existence of Shadow. Shadow is a darker influence. Every archtype has a corresponding shade of a shadow. The deeper the manifestation of such a shadow, the stark opposite becomes the Personality and identification of the self.

Friday, that today is, go on and indulge a little curiosity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearson-Marr_Archetype_Indicator_(PMAI) and google Jung and Archtypes to learn a bit more about yourself.

Just thinking about Archtypes and Shadows has made me restless enough to want to sit and breathe complicated characters to life. Sweet sweet pleasures of life 🙂

Karthik

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IF

Wow. It’s been an intensive day. I think sisters are the best. I don’t talk a lot about my sister. We’ve had a wonderful bond over my 34 years of existence. The first 15, I spent that in holy pursuit of driving my sister nuts. As I grew older, as the things that we both could talk about broadened its horizon, I think my sis and I make a good team of conversationalists.

What she said today, does haunt me a little. It’s not the first time that I’ve heard what she said. Not a few weeks ago, another online friend told me just that.

‘I had no idea Karthik. I thought you were a happy carefree guy , enjoying a bachelor life in London. I thought you were burning money, recklessly spending and doing whatever that you pleased. I didn’t imagine there was this side to you’.

I’m not hiding away a dubious side. I’m a fun loving guy. I’m funny, on most days. That’s a bit contentious, some folks don’t think I’m funny. That’s alright. I’m a bit changed though. There was a time when all I could do was write fun little snippets. As I wrote more, the themes that I chose to write about became darker and the plots became grimmer. I’m like two separate people when it comes to writing. My comments and overall social interactions are light. The blogs that I write, I’ll call them dense, in an effort to sound humble.

That’s true. It’s almost like I swap personalities. I didn’t plan for any of this. It happens to be that way.

So a long conversation with my sister about my life, it was a side that I had never shown to my family ever before. Something in me snapped and I didn’t care enough to pretend anymore. Now that I’m back to being my pretending self, safe behind a mask, I think the conversation did leave my heart feeling a little light.

The big point of conversation was around my marital status. I don’t particularly despise my current status. I nether lament it nor rejoice it. It is what it is. I refused to marry for the sake of marrying. I chose to not put a tick on a compliance checklist and compromise on my expectations of a married life.

Long story short, call me fussy, call me unlucky in love, call me a bloke of sky high expectations, in fact call me whatever, when it comes to marriage, I will opt a yes if I really really feel like it.

I’m a bit tired of folks giving me that look. I’m tired of ‘marriage experts’ giving me gyan on what I should and shouldn’t expect. I’m tired of world expressing sympathies around my marital status. I’m so tired that I stopped trying to explain my take on the whole thing. I’ve grown so tired that I even refrain from spraying obscenities in this very paragraph.

Just because I’m tired, it doesn’t mean that the world stops trying. For good or for worse, I am thick skinned and I can deal with the world. Unfortunately, there is a kink in my armour. It’s called wonderful parents. It just bums me every day that there is nothing that I can do to alleviate their worries about my future.

I could look the other way around my preferences and settle down, just to appease my folks. That, to me, would be a dumb move. I can’t hold them responsible for my actions. I can’t hide behind their happiness. I refuse to hold them as a scapegoat to all my failures. That adds to my misery. I’m left with the naked truth that I can’t keep my folks happy because I’m too wound up in my head to find a suitable match.

Yeah big deal. It’s one thing to deal with the world, it’s a whole new challenge to try to want to keep others protected and safe and comfortable. They are my parents and unfortunately, my thoughts and their happiness usually are not on the same page.

Wish there was an easy way to resolve the battle of love. It would have been nice if they’d give up on me. It would have been easier if I had given up on myself and succumbed to my own fate. I refuse to give up on myself. My folks refuse to give up on me. Vicious cycle.

It’s funny the way our world works. It’s funny that compliance seems to be the way of life. It’s odd that my life has no meaning unless I meet the million expectations that the world has on me. For some reason, I am reminded of the poem IF.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

The many ifs of life. If only I wasn’t me, none of this might matter to me. I take comforts in knowing that it isn’t true. I am what I am. I will be what I’d choose to be.

I’d find the strength to endure, not because I’m a hero in a world of damned souls. I’d find the strength to endure, not because I’m a chosen one and an example waiting to shine. I’d find the strength to endure, not because there is a sweet taste of victory at the end of it all.

I’d find the strength because if I don’t, nobody else is going to find it for me.

Special thanks to my sister and another sis in FB. Bhavana. Her blog caught my attention today. It speaks about the many battles that we wage. Mine, is just another battle in an ocean of battles.

Her words can be found here : Sa Ham

Karthik

All hail the ‘move on’

Everybody who is anybody is absolutely besotted with the phrase ‘move on’. Moving on, by definition, is the simple process of purging oneself off all the things that prevents the said person from moving on. Conveyed that way, it does seem a little silly. Why would the process of moving on face a challenge? Why would one choose to hold on to things that would keep one anchored to the same place, to the same point in time, to a state without a present and a possible stale future?

Moving on also is a process which inspires the best realist in most of our friends. It’s usually a mind over matter thingy. The woes are in the mind. The pain is not real. It usually takes a simple push to regain and reclaim life. These are but the standard templates of dealing with the not so unique problem statement.

Reading is both a vice and a virtue. Reading enlightens one’s mind. Books do tend to have that effect on me. It must be a touch of a misplaced confirmation bias which gravitates me towards certain books. I don’t think I can quite explain it any better than that. I was tempted to state the ‘destined to read these’ and celebrate the fact that nothing is a mere coincidence to an initiated mind. That would surely kindle my delusion. The easier, depreciative   alternative was to blame it all on a confirmation bias.

Okie dokie, the story so far  : Struggle to move on, books and their impact on life. How did the two manage to exist in the same sentence?

Once again, I’d take use the stick called confirmation bias instead of quoting coincidence.

Before we get there, there is something that would set a better context around the stream of my thoughts. All big bang and planning later, I bailed out the marriage plans. My reason was not that farfetched, given my capacity to dwell extremely wild around surreal tangents. We didn’t talk much and I almost could see a lifeless life together.  I had lowered my expectation and embraced an open mind approach to the whole thing. Push came to shove, I had exhausted all my reasons for all of that to really work out. A few sleepless nights later I had made my decision.

So that setting the context, the book called A man called Ove made it to my reading list. It felt like a future of sorts. Ove’s life, the initial descriptions of it, struck a chord. It was the same life , void of all colors , enthusiasm and a will to live that had gripped me when I turned the other way to the marriage. It felt as if someone had meticulously read my thoughts, read my fears for the future, pulled a list of all the things that unsettled me and wrote a fantastic story around it. The book struck a chord indeed.

The book also played a few more strings around my emotions. Given the premise of the book, the titular character, Ove, had trouble carrying on with his life without his better half. For good and worse, he had managed to marry someone who had completed him. When it was her time to depart, and when he still had time to endure and survive in the mortal plane, it was not a life that was going on. It was an existence alright. An existence devoid of any life, color, enthusiasm and spirit. Ove’s expression of how much his wife completed him was a stark realization of how much incomplete that I see myself as.

Moving on, the whole act of it, is an endeavour to replace the ones that were in our lives with new people to compensate that loss. When we can’t find people to substitute the ones that we miss, we try to fill it with activities. It’s not an uncommon or an unpopular reasoning. The ones who have lost something extremely precious have always been the ones to give a lot more back to their own community and their own society. The best of altruism does have its roots in a grave personal loss. It’s a scary thought. The best in us, the most charitable in us, if all it takes is an irreconcilable loss to be that, it’s a scary world indeed.

Another way to view it would be the whole act of pretending to invest all that energy into something better, something that generates a smile. None of that undermines the loss that one has to come to terms with.

I guess I’m stranded in that land called moving on. I pour my mind into the words that I write. I vent my emotions into the music that I make. I smile, I shoot pictures and delude myself into thinking about how expressive I can get as a hobbyist photographer. The underlying truth is, none of it means much to me. I do appreciate a few likes. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to have a few people indulge into my works and encourage me by liking the works. It’s the case of a whole world of likes versus the one like that I could never get.

That’s been my constant struggle. I’m not happy with the entire world. I’m a lot happier in viewing that one person as my entire world. I’ve been through quite a few iterations of swapping my one person – world view. People have come and people have gone. The world has liked me and indulged me and has at times opted to not bother.

It’s this idea, it’s this sentiment, and it’s this trait in me that a lot have trouble comprehending. It contradicts the notion of moving on. Moving on, in effect, is an ability to look beyond just one person and give the world a chance. To me, it’s the same as looking past my entire universe and giving something else a shot.

It’s not easy. I pretend. So far, I’ve been pretending so well. There is no other way around it. Its a daily struggle to remind myself that only I can set myself free. I guess that a classic conflict with self. A part of me keeps me imprisoned and a part of me wants liberation.

A man called Ove. A man called Katz. The thing called life. I can muster a smile and hope it would be a sunny day tomorrow.

Change is inevitable and resistance is futile. It’s only a matter of time before I don’t have to pretend some more.☺️

Karthik

Book review : a man called ove

“Maybe to her destiny was “something”; that was none of his business. But to him, destiny was “someone.”

Coverpage of A man caled Ove

A man called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.

I picked this book because a friend recommended it. To be perfectly honest, it was a spur of the moment decision to quench my curiosity about the book. I dived into its pages without a shimmer of expectation. When I was done with the book, something within me had snapped, there was something that I could spot as odd in the way I lived. With eyes wet with tears, my heart warm with satisfied overwhelmed emotions, it was time to move on to a different book. I did my best to savour the memories of the book and it was precisely because of that pleasure, I delayed writing about it. Words once read, words once written would probably move on to become words once cherished.

Back to the tale, Ove. Ove is an old geezer whom you’d probably dislike. He is a stickler for rules. He incessantly keeps reminding the world around that they don’t follow the dogma that rules are. He’s not much for small talk. It’s hard to enjoy a pleasant conversation with him. Ove is perceived as old, grumpy and chip of the block from a generation that’s been comfortably forgotten. That’s Ove. He’s unapologetic about what you’d think about him. He doesn’t really care. It probably wouldn’t be Ove if he did!

That’s Ove. That would probably be your first reaction to Ove.

The book is a tale of the life of the man who goes by the name Ove. As we get a glimpse of his present, we are also introduced to his past. The story of what he is now feels almost incomplete without seeing the story of what he was before. As we catch up on his past, we also find ourselves getting very eager about his present and the course of his future.

Hidden away in the tale is one of the most romantic relationship that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Far away from clichés of roses are red, violets are blue, I got a letters of love and you need a stick of glue, there is a beautiful story of romance that blossoms and grows warmer and warmer till it occupies every inch of your heart and soaks you with its warmth. Ove and his wife Sonja. Theirs is a very romantic relationship which is very far away from dramatic and cinematic romance. Theirs is a world of sweet nothings, a wonderful intersection of two people’s very distinct life that come together and form a pleasant harmony. We , as readers, witness a cute love that they both share. Theirs is a kind of love that span through health and sickness. It spans across life and death. It’s a kind of a love that refuses to die away despite death at it’s doors.

Ove does have a secret. He knows how to solve all his woes and wants to put an end to his misery. Only, it’s not his time yet. It’s just about the right time for Ove to be thrust into a world of people around him. His world is all set to explode. Cue in the people around Ove.

The secondary characters are phenomenal. They are vivid and colourful and blend blissfully into the life of Ove. Parvaneh, a pregnant Iranian lady , her daughters, the Lanky one, Ove and Rune’s big conflicts, you’d fall in love with everyone in Ove’s world.

There are wonderful themes that are explored in the book. It offers us a glance into questions like, What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean when people say that lives are meant to be colourful?

“People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had”

Ove’s story is a gentle reminder that sometimes our lives are meaningless without our special people in it. It calls out the similarities between existing for existence sake and living void of colors and emotions. It is through Ove, we get to assess our own hues about life. Ove’s story is also a wonderful example of going with the flow and letting life take it’s own course.

We are a product of what we choose to be and the people we let into our lives.

Would I recommend his book? ABSOLUTELY. Go ahead and grab yourself a copy today. You wont regret it.

Next stop :The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

Karthik

Book review : memoirs of an imaginary friend

My name is Budo.

I have been alive for five years.

Five years is a very long time for someone like me to be alive.

Max gave me my name.

Max is the only human person who can see me.

Max’s parents call me an imaginary friend.

I love Max’s teacher, Mrs Gosk.

I do not like Max’s other teacher, Mrs Patterson.

I am not imaginary.

Coverpage of Memoirs of an imaginary friend

That’s what the preview of the book in Amazon read. On an impulse, I hit the click to buy button. The book came and along with it came a wonderful journey of words. Memoirs of an imaginary friend is a cute teddy bear with a bright pink heart that you hug tight to feel warm and fuzzy. It is a kind of a book that leaves you feeling warm, nice and happy. It’s a Disney movie that you watch by reading a book. I think this is by far the most ADORABLE thing that I’ve ever read.

Memoirs of an imaginary friend , Matthew Dicks is a fantastic fantasy-adventure of Budo. Budo is an imaginary person. He is very much real as he is not. Max, an autistic child , imagines Budo and Budo has now been around for five years. Given the world of imaginary friends, five years is almost a near impossible lifetime for an imagination to stay alive.

Budo understands the world that Max tends to skip at times. Budo never sleeps and has a curiosity of a child. At five, Budo is torn between the world of adults and children. He’s too mature to be a child and a product of a child’s imagination to be an adult. Budo’s view of the world is often perceived as an outlook of a child.

The story picks speed as we soon realize that Max is a special child with special needs. Max and Budo’s conversations are a bliss to read. There is innocence sprayed all over the book in vulgarly copious amounts. Nuances and mannerisms of an autistic child are beautifully portrayed in the book. We , as readers, soon associate ourselves to Max’s strengths and limitations. We cheer him for the things he does. We feel bad for the things he does differently. Max’s challenges become our challenges.

While innocence does remain cemented throughout the journey of this tale, it’s Budo’s curiosity, his self awareness of being an imaginary being , and his questions on life and death; the difference between existence and fading away into oblivion that offsets the childlike tone of the book. Thankfully , Budo does not go Gung-Ho and spew philosophy. He has simple needs, simple wants and it’s that pursuit of needs and wants that drives the themes of existence and purpose of life in this book.

Budo would ‘Die’ if Max stopped believing in him. As boys grow older , they do grow out of the ‘having an imaginary friend’ phase. Max’s direction towards a better , fuller, normal life also means Budo ceases to exist. It’s this conflict that is so wonderfully nurtured through the book.

One fine day, Max goes missing from school and it’s up to Budo to embark upon a fantastic adventure in finding Max and saving the day. A challenge which would have been easier had Budo been a real bloke! The rest of the book is all about this excellent , heart warming adventure. The pace is perfect, it gives us beautiful moments to pause and absorb the adventure. The story doesn’t feel rushed.

I couldn’t help but draw some connections out of the plot. I imagined Max as the transient point in time. Max was a summation of the past, the present and the future. I imagined Budo to be the self. Budo’s status quo changes with how Max grows in time. Aren’t we like that. The best days of our lives, always tend to be in the past. We coast through the present, we exist. The unknowns of the future probes fear into our hearts and we do tend to worry about our existence.

“It’s very strange to be an imaginary friend. You can’t be suffocated and you can’t get sick and you can’t fall and break your head and you can’t catch pneumonia. The only thing that can kill you is a person not believing in you.” Budo

I refused to let myself wander away in thoughts. I enjoyed the story narrated. Far away from the land of murders, crimes, deaths, contemplations about life, this felt like a breath of rejuvenating fresh air to read.

Make time for Budo. Give his story a shot. You wont regret it.

Next stop, A man called Ove.

Karthik

The magnificent seven

And no, this is not a tale of the wonderful movie that rides by that name. Unlike the flick, this is not a tale of heroes, cowboys , the wild west and a battle of good over evil. Maybe a little struggle is left lingering in there somewhere.

MARRIAGES ARE MADE IN HEAVEN AND DECISIONS ARE MADE ON EARTH ☺️

The magnificent seven is the tsunami of lessons that I managed to acquire in a very short limited span of seven days. In a nutshell, I’d probably say that all it took was a week to rearrange the plans that have been in the works for nearly a quarter now. All it took was a week to offset all the plans for the future. A week, that attracted an investment of mind, thoughts and time.

One of the better lessons that I acquired was the way of Failing with dignity and grace.

Now that I think about it, historically, it has been very convenient to have a selfish , centred outlook towards most of my failures. It was easier to accept that I could never manage to do anything wrong and things fell out of place because of the inefficiencies that are abundant around the world. This time around, acknowledging the failure was a helpful endeavour. It was a reflection of what I was, what my limitations were and what I could and couldn’t deal with.

It was a rather cheap lesson , and I use the word cautiously because the price I might have ended up paying might have been way too high, in understanding that one needn’t be wrong to fail. Sometimes even two rights make a wrong. All in all, I learnt to appreciate that a failure was not a reflection of all my limitations running a parade. I It felt nice to not delegate the blame. It felt nice to accept the failure and attribute that to my own way of viewing the world. The world wasn’t at fault and I didn’t care if I was at fault either. That did seem to help me sleep a little peaceful.

Expectations versus Intuition <<<

ver the last few years, I've been constantly reminded by the world to lower my expectations on life. I do find that funny because , a : not a lot understand what my expectations are and b : a lot pass their bias and their outlook towards life and assume that they are all interchangeable across different people. The wider lesson around this was to learn to isolate the things that bothered me and things that didn't. Fun exercise it was.

The last few months, I had revisited my expectations, or so to speak. If I were honest to myself, I'd probably say that I pretended to lower my expectations. That's still 50% of the story. it's also true that I had volunteered myself to adapt to the changes and deal with them as they came. I think the whole deal about expectations is the ability or inability to compensate for things that are either there or not.

Amidst all of this , there is that glaring intuition. For someone as opinionated and as delusional as me, it's hard to ignore such intuitions and gut feelings. I did the best I could to suppress them and dismiss them as 'pseudo intellectual noise'. The term pseudo intellectual is a fancy one. It pampers my ego by proclaiming that I'm an intellectual and at the same time by addressing it as pseudo, I do let myself believe that I'm not as smart as I'd like to be.

Intuition eventually caught up. Push came to shove and I grabbed on to my instincts rather than peripheral intelligence. I still don't know if I had managed to do something right or wrong. I do know that I neither regret nor have doubts on how I finally chose to conclude.

The lesson was simple enough. Intuition is both a blessing and curse. Knowing when to pamper it and when to dismiss it might be the answer to the holy balance of things. The wider lesson was that sense of owning a choice. A choice without regrets and doubts. I like such choices. Such choices deny me of hostages to hide behind. Such choices are a reflection of a clarity of thought. Being right or wrong is irrelevant to such choices.

Fears and insecurities <<<

he immediate consequence of any failure is the blaring conclusion that we remain, forever denied, to all endeavours in the future. I wasn't immune to that fear. In fact , by making that choice to fail, I had ushered myself to that tricky spot of a land of limitless impossibilities. The window of thought that lingers on our mind, constantly fuelling that fear of impossibilities is a very crucial zone. Buy into it and you are denied of the comforts of making choices without regrets or doubts. Coast out of it really quick and you risk missing out on understanding the magnitude of the situation.

This was the hardest phase in the week. It took me three sleepless nights to reach a consensus.

A little faith, a little courage, a little understanding of the extent of the failure , a little consolation of that willingness to live with that failure , these are the quintessential steps in escaping this purgatory of fears.

Choices and opinions <<<

his is more of a personal take rather than a generalized observation. I usually make my choice and then float around for opinions. People usually float around for opinions before they arrive at a decision. I had both, friend sand circumstances, that contributed towards that cause. The big war between choices and opinions is usually fought as a team. It requires a clearer understanding of your own indecisiveness and also a certain trust in your friends to help you make that right choice.

I remain allergic and averse to indecisiveness. I feel comfortable at failing rather than failing to commit to a decision. It's a contradiction. The time I've spent in this city, I've always remained indecisive about what to eat, what to buy, where to go and mostly because I really don't care enough to make a decision. My decisions here don't matter. None of it means anything to me. I go with the flow of whims and spontaneity.

The difference between choices and opinions was an interesting lesson to acquire. It helped me see why I couldn't stomach my choices. It made me see the pointlessness to all my justifications and also see why my justifications remained so special to me. Opinions were not for me to own and choices were not for others to make. This resulted in a shorter time for grovel.

All in all, the seven days had been one of the hardest weeks to endure. As I brace myself to live out to the consequences of my actions, I do feel lighter at the fact that I could understand myself a little better. The hardest thing in the world is to sell yourself an idea. The hardest thing in the world is for you to believe in what you do, believe in your choices, believe in your own ability to cope up. Marketing the idea to the world is a smoke screen which aims to distract you from owning your actions.

All that on one hand, I still have a mouse in the house that keeps me awake and jumpy. I'm still mulling over my choices in dealing with that little invader!!!!!

Karthik

Silent screams

Your silence unsettles me.

 

Image credit : Google!

That statement is both a declaration and a confession. Silence leaves me nervous and fidgety. It kindles and stirs the insecurities in me. It breaks me down, leaves me defenceless and vulnerable. I’d be lying if I attempt to downplay the effect that your silence has on me. It puts me on a destructive path and always I find myself spiralling down into a misery.

A simple thing like silence, and I defeat the simplicity by forcing my mind to interpret that in myriad ways. How I react to your silence is a testament to how much I feel broken and shattered. It sure is funny, the way I react to silence. I can sit beside you and enjoy the silence blissfully and yet when you are out of sight, that silence consumes me.

I feel lucky. I’ve clocked mileage on the road called call. It’s helped me tag many faces to the statement, ‘your silence unsettles me’. There have been quite a few ‘Your’. There have been quite a lot of memories to those faces. I also realize the awkward truth to that realization. I feel it would be pointless to debate the existence of the many faces that have donned the role of instigating that dreadful silence. Curtailing the journey to just one person would have kept me away from being what I am today. The contradiction is ironic. Do I celebrate the diversity that my life is? Is it also not a long history of cracks that show the extent of how much broken I feel on the inside?

I can’t undo what that’s already been done. The wiser option is to assess and acknowledge my life for what it is. It’s that acknowledgement that eventually led to this catharsis. Your silence unsettles me. Your silence breaks me down. Your silence reminds me of how insignificant I feel and how I struggle to overcome my demons and pretend to smile. Your silence rips through my masks and it exposes the crippled child that I feel that I am.

The present and the future get shaped every day. While I’d pretend that I put a brave new face and meet the challenges with an open mind, an open heart and work towards a better today and tomorrow. The reality is that while I pretend a new start, I’m also battling the demons from the past. It’s a daily existence of a struggle with the past, a struggle with the fears that shape the tomorrows, a struggle to find courage to dream that one day everything will fall in the right place at the right time.

The story of what I am today cannot be told without understanding the story of how I got here. My surrender to your silence is a cumulative result of my battles with silences across time. The way I react to your silence is a eulogy to the many dreams that I’ve buried in time. Like how the world manages to get bad things move to worse by trying hard to fix it, I’ve only managed to align myself to this way of the world. My efforts of dire desperation to make my world a happy place is also one of the reasons why I could never get things fixed.

I’d like to believe that redemption is a commodity that never arrives too late. I no longer blame the ‘yours’ of my world. I no longer hold the world accountable for all its silences. I no longer yearn to burn the world to atone my sins. I wish I could say that I understand and wish I could say that it’s all ok.

It’s not. I don’t understand. It’s not because I refuse to. It’s because I don’t know how to. There might come a day where I find myself in a place where I can understand your silence. Today’s not that day. Your silence represents something else to me. It introduces me to my demons whom I’ve managed to ignore. My demons aren’t gone. They’ve not been slain. They have been shoved away beyond my line of sight. Out of sight, out of mind is how I manage to coast around the day.

With another day, another chapter in life, another silence to deal with, I did what I’ve always done. I tried to deal with it in a way I saw fit. This chapter, has been a little different than the others I’ve carried out. I learnt the distance that I can cover by having an open mind. I learnt the value of my gut instincts. I learnt how instincts conflict with an open mind. I’d like to believe that now I understand the virtue of the two vices; Instincts versus and an Open mind.

I am what I am. I refuse to change that. I am what I can be. I acknowledge the degree to which I let myself adapt. I accept what I’d always be. I’ll probably always be a little nervous around your silence. I’m learning to tell the difference between what you mean by your silence and what I think you intend to convey.

Karthik

Book review : His bloody project

Cover page of His bloody project

His bloody project , G M B.

I picked this book because , 1. The cover page looked awesome. 2. It was heavily discounted. 3. I wasn’t thinking much when I picked the book.

In a short span a few months, I had comfortably moved away from comforts of reading murders and the satisfaction of accompanying a sharp mind in deciphering the twisted mind of a heinous bloke. While this was the genre that got me into reading, I had found myself moving towards other philosophies of life. I had this book for nearly six months before I eventually got to it.

I was impressed with the book. Yup, it makes for a well constructed , gripping narrative.

This is a story of a boy , Roderick Macrae. His not so simple life leads to a not so simple situation. Roddy is charged with manslaughter of not one but three people. The story is not a cat and a mouse chase of who-dun-it. With the dirty deed done cheap, the story kicks off with Roddy’s confession of the murders. Soaked in mind, Roddy goes on to getting himself imprisoned.

Now that was a twist in the tale that got me intrigued about the book. While in prison, Roddy is encouraged to write a memoir of the things that eventually transpired in the act of cold blooded murders.

The book is split into three sections. Roddy’s memoir of things that led to the murder. Roddy’s present in the prison. The retelling of the trail that decided upon his fate. I found the trial to be extremely engaging. Cheap thrills. The court room drama was both efficient and thrilling. I particularly enjoyed the sequence that the book follows. The memoir and Roddy’s time in the present are beautifully unravelled. With each page turned, one finds oneself closer to the nature of Roddy’s life.

There are brilliant questions that the book leaves us, the audience, with.

‘If an insane bloke proclaims to be insane, is the bloke really insane?’.

‘What justifies a murder?’ .

The book also explores the environment that nurtures a mind which readies itself to carry out the crime.

Are we born a murderer or do we grow into that role?

I did enjoy reaching my own conclusions about Roddy. I am intrigued by my not so ‘black and white’ outlook towards moralities of life. I’ll let you experience the narrative and form your own opinion about the curious case of Mr Roddy.

The horror that humans are capable of chilled me to the bone. Now that I think about it, it doesn’t take a lot for something within us to snap and embrace the animal in us. The book explores the simple clarity of a damaged mind’s conclusion that eventually does lead to a murder. Murders rather.

Maybe this book is not for everyone, then again, the whole act of murder is contained within a chapter. I guess in that sense, this can be picked without too much fuss.

I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the thoughts it left me with. The greatness of a book is not measured by the words used to describe it, its measured by the amount of thoughts it leaves , once that story is read. In that respect, this book manages to achieve just that.

Karthik

Book Review : Atonement

Coverpage of the Book : Atonement

Atonement by Ian McEwan

There is something so familiar in this book that struck a chord. It’s a tale of an affair with words, the world of imagination , the choices made and consequences eventually atoned for.

This is a story of Ms Briony Tallis. She’s a bored little teenager who dreams big of being a writer one day. A summer that changes her life and the lives of people around her. The story is set amidst the boredom of this girl, her way of coping up with the boredom by imagining a world of drama and thematic challenges. With her brother Leon returning back home from university, it presents her with a wonderful opportunity of hosting a play to entertain the guests.

Briony’s world is her home, her sister Cecillia , Robbie; who is the son of the housekeeper who helps around the Tallis household, Lola and the twins who are her aunt’s kids and are guests in the house. Briony engages Lola and the twins to take part in her play. Briony has a change of heart and decides to call off the play.

She also happens to witness the raw and crude strained love that Cecillia and Robbie share. Her age of ignorance and naïve innocence, her lack of understanding of young blossoming love, her pampered outlook towards life, all of this results in her bearing witness to Robbie assaulting Lola. Briony’s testament , her dedicated unwavering conviction to her testimony seals Robbie’s fate.

The story then branches out to its next two acts. Set in the backdrop of Dunkirk, Robbie is now a man, a solider who has one and only reason that drives him to survive the war and return home to his one true love Cecillia. Robbie , of course, is innocent of the crime that he was charged with, finds it hard to forgive Briony but also wants Cec to unite with her family and sister again. The incident had fractured the family and the lives of its people. Forgiveness becomes a commodity that is not easily exchanged.

Act three revolves around Briony’s penance. In time, she realizes the magnitude of her childish act. Now fully aware of the consequences of her actions, the striking difference between words of fiction and words that are stated in the real world, Briony is plagued with the knowledge that her thirst for fiction and drama in life had resulted in fractured lives. Briony decides to face the consequences of bearing the truth.

Atonement is a book that bored me to hell. The pace was slower than a dead horse trying to drag itself from point a to b. While the premise was promising, the execution lacked drama and was far away from it’s potential. Briony’s atonement was barely a crescendo. It fizzed away and drowned in distracted narration , much like a sound of triangle getting lost in a blaring orchestra. By the time one reaches the end, we don’t feel Briony’s burden, we don’t share her guilt, we remain unaffected by the choices of the characters.

I’m glad that this was the last of the 5 that I picked up. Another day, another book read, another lessons learnt and a few ones skipped. I wish I felt inspired to explore the themes that the book covered. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with it to bother that effort.

If you have the time to kill, if someone gifted you this book and you feel compelled to not cheat, not sneak up the plot in Wiki, then have fun reading the book.

Karthik

Under the same sun

French, German, English, Indian( throw in a few languages there), African, European… the list goes longer and I’m limited by my ability to spot the subtle differences in ethnicity of the world. London , to me, is a wonderful city of sights , sounds, people and life. Commuting in the city is a big part of the life here. It is through such mundane , sober daily toils of a journey, where I’ve come to realize the simplicity of context of my existence. We are, more or less, same under the same sun.

The day started early. I had to find my way to a place where I’ve not travelled before. A friend had called in a favour and I felt obliged to help. This commute took me places. A walk, a bus ride, an over ground rail , an underground tube, a bright sun in the sky, a Friday to appreciate the little things of life, a cup of coffee in hand, a soul that felt rejuvenated from the experience.

I do like to view myself as an observer. I enjoy the state of feeling insignificant in a world filled with people. People who mind their own business, carry out their set of chores , connected and yet disconnected from the world around. This morning was special indeed. A little girl, probably around 4-5 years of age. Could be younger than that. She was a little talkative lady. Innocence had a voice. Beauty had a form. Angels had a face. It was all evident in the little one. She spoke her magic words, she smiled her lovely smile, her mother tried to wash her hands using a mild alcohol rub and the little one played along by not bothering to put up any resistance.

It was a warm fuzzy experience , watching her rub her hands and talk to her mum in a language of her own making. Words spoken. Words that conveyed sincere meanings. Words that needed no translation to transcend the human made boundaries of comprehension or bias. I found myself lost in the moment of sheer bliss. I stood watching the mother and daughter go about their business.

The mother spoke in cuddly cooish French. Ca – Va was all I could comprehend. Ca va , the child acknowledged.

I couldn’t help but reminisce over the nieces and nephews that I’ve had the pleasure of building conversations with. The words have always been similar, the enthusiasm has always been similar, the arguments have always been cute and pointless. There was a sense of familiarity to the whole episode. The angel in that one kid was the ever present angel that I got to see in all the kids that I’ve ever seen.

My undivided attention was soon divided. German this time around. Another mum, another infant. This one was a lot younger than the French little lady. Talkative too. I was surrounded by innocence. I felt relaxed in such a company. The writer in me, the deluded voice in my head , found this to be sigh from the universe that would stand to remind me to embrace the truth. We had the capacity to remain innocent. We all do have the capacity to resist that erosion of moral fibre. We have it in us to remain brave, grounded in principles, surrounded by goodness. Yeah, the writer in me wanted that, Desperately.

The months where I’ve lived in this wonderful city, I’ve seen many cultures. I’ve observed many good people who earn an honest day’s living. The kind of goodness that defies the world plagued by fear. The kind of goodness that reminds all of us the meaning of being human. Mind your business, help those who are in need to be helped, spread the joy through smiles. Face life as it comes. I’d very much like to believe in that version of life.

I’ve also seen violence. Interestingly, in stark comparison to events, it’s not the abundance of violence that overwhelms me. It’s the abundance of love, care and staying human that overshadows the sceptical world of my making. For every act of impolite rudeness, there are ten more that bestow kindness. For every act of deception, there are ten more that remind me the value of honesty. For every sin against the fabric of human, I see a hundred more that sing the gospel of how wonderful it is to be a human.

We are divided by borders, we are divided by beliefs and belief system. There are gods, there are big data data centres, there are folks who believe in either options as the one that would take us to sublime salvation. There is hate and there is love. These two are not engaged in an eternal conflict. Ironically, they both exist. They both are in place and they do leave us with the choice to rest our faith in either of them.

As far as the day is concerned, I feel happy knowing that we are born innocent, we are nurtured to the way we are. Which also implies that common sense dictates that , we as a species, are quite capable of staying human. Kids are a wonderful example of how one stays immune to the pollution that corrupts the fabric of staying a human. It would be childish to say that we can learn a lot from the kids. It would be unwise to discount the simpler truth that kids do lead a simpler , easier life. Not because they have nothing else to do, or strings that don’t mandate their motives. It’s because they have a simpler understanding of the world around. They do what they have to, they learn, adapt and are yet to see the world through filters of bias , fears, insecurities and prejudice.

I think it’s not a stretch to assume that there would come a day, where we’d feel saturated by pointlessness to ideologies of faith, text, cultures that don’t hold water given the context of life. I’d be more than happy should that happen in my lifetime. But it’s coming . It’s inevitable. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

The innocence is proof enough that the future is safe. After all, aren’t we all the same under the same sun!

Karthik