Twenty-third Ramble

Cheat post. Poem written in March 2014. Still holds true…

Write. I want to.

But Time. Where do I find?

Hollow words, stuck in a rut, life grinds.

O dear mind,take me tither,

where time doesn’t matter.

There is no rat race,

life goes on at a leisurely pace.

O dear mind, take me to the days,

when I was a kid,

and there was no need,

to choose from so many worldly ways.

There was only one way,

one thing, that I did.

Whatever my heart said!

Sixteenth Ramble : Today, I don’t feel like writing.

I don’t feel like writing today. Hey! I can post this same sentence over and over again in the rambles, can’t I?

No. I know. Also, I won’t.

But today, I really don’t feel like writing. Maybe I’ll write a few backlog posts that I have missed, but I don’t want to write today’s post.

Isn’t that really how I have come to think? Finish off tasks from days or years before today. What I have to do today can be done tomorrow. And what about tomorrow? Those tasks can be done day after tomorrow.

Writing is not a task though. It is a hobby. What is the difference between a hobby and a task? Can a hobby not have a task or can a task not be a hobby? I have to set weekly goals in my shooting, all of which require certain tasks to be done. Now shooting is a hobby…which has tasks…so can writing also be/have tasks? No. Somehow, thinking of writing as a task puts me off. Why does a task have to sound so negative? Tsk…tsk…

So yeah, I am not going to write anything for the 16th of February. Although I may write the backlog posts as I have said.

I have a Grammarly widget which identifies all sorts of ‘possible spelling confusions’ but does not give a prompt when I write ‘it’s’ in place of ‘its’. You are a failure, Grammarly extension for Chrome! That said, I must reduce dependence on it. Waise bhi, it was installed as a requirement for a content writing task.

Task…there we go again. Today is a holiday at the shooting range. I miss my shooting tasks. I have writing tasks waiting for me. I will do anything to wiggle out of them. I did my nails (that is a rare occurrence), and am even thinking of drawing (which makes me miserable; for I cannot draw what I want to draw and end up jealous with those having the knack of drawing) and cleaning my room (this is a fairly regular occurrence but I never finish the task…like I don’t finish writing. But I am willing to give finishing it a thought rather than finishing writing).

I see my blog staring  at me with a ‘I am disappoint’ look.

Sorry blog, but I just don’t feel like writing today. And like most of the times :

But am just showing up…because 80% success…blah…blah…


Sixth Ramble

Okay, I have jumped 3 posts.

My arms are aching from 3 hours of rigorous training today. That has resulted into a little brain freeze.

I have started reading books on mental fitness as my coach says I need to train my mind more now that my body has the basic stamina to go through the training. (Then why are my arms aching, sigh…)

Mental Combat is the first such book I read this season. I picked it up because the title is very catchy. Who wouldn’t want to be combat ready? I read it between my training breaks and I must say, it helped me from the word go.

It explains the scientific reasons for pressure in difficult/challenging situations – the physical changes that occur (racing pulse, adrenaline rush) and the resulting disturbance in one’s mental state – and how to tackle it.

I think it is a good idea to read mental fitness and competition technique books when training. The day I read it, there were no thoughts other than shooting in my mind. Talk about focus!

The voice of these books is so calming and empowering that you feel like Rambo or Sarah Connors or any other fictional character that you hero worship for their fitness (mental and physical).

I know I have not rambled enough in this post, but at least I have turned up. They say 80% of success is turning up!



Second Ramble : Why I don’t like the Coldplay video

I was mulling over alternate professions I’d have taken/can take up and other such topics yesterday. I write this post on 3rd Feb. Today I got a hint from the Lady that I wanted to write on the Coldplay video and the talk around cultural appropriation last year.

How appropriate a topic, as Beyonce is in the news again this time of the year.

So here we are. The video in question is :

I had to watch it again to collect my thoughts. Let me tell you, a year is enough to change one’s perceptions/look at it from a different angle.

A lot of hype was made about Coldplay doing cultural appropriation.

I found the definition I find most accurate here :

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, and behavior from one culture or subculture by another. It generally is applied when the subject culture is a minority culture or somehow subordinate in social, political, economic, or military status to the appropriating culture. This “appropriation” often occurs without any real understanding of why the original culture took part in these activities or the meanings behind these activities, often converting culturally significant artifacts, practices, and beliefs into “meaningless” pop-culture or giving them a significance that is completely different/less nuanced than they would originally have had.

There is a basic conflict between this definition and the way we Indians view ourselves. The popular notion is Indian culture has always been superior to the others (mainly Western – Western includes Europe, America, Australia and parts of Asia which are not a part of the Indian subcontinent).

So how can Coldplay be doing cultural appropriation if we are not a subordinate culture? Also, if we are the superior culture, are we culturally appropriating them when we wear their clothes or light candles in Churches? Rhetorical. Don’t bother. I am just messing with those out to pick reasonless arguments for arguments’ sake. (Read trolls)

All this said, what is my take on the video? Do I still not like it?

I understand where they are coming from. They have tried to incorporate everything that they found exotic with a touch of the retro and present day. The two tenses have become so mixed up that I don’t understand whether it’s intentional or inadvertent.

Those Kaleidoscopic shows, Beyonce and Sonam, the obsolete TV sets, the technicolor taxi irritate me. I like the Mandir shot, as I have always maintained.

To counter my own question about the mix up of the past and present, I’d like to mention that a lot of my peers and seniors (all Indians born and brought up in India) said that villages like the ones shown in Swades don’t exist anymore (then). Their argument was – it doesn’t happen that a village has no electricity or girls are not sent to school, etc, etc, etc. I was appalled by their distance from the ground reality. Having been brought up in a town surrounded by such villages and hamlets, and after a 2002 visit to Toranmal (a hill station housing tribes which transacted using barter system), I was well aware that the problems shown in Swades were very very real.

Having lived in a city since the last 14 years, do I belong to the same category, refusing to believe the existence of dated projector theatres and old TV sets? But hey, who says that the video claims they exist? Can it not be cinematic liberty? Not even that – an artistic expression?!

I don’t like the loud colours. Okay. That is my view. I cannot accuse Coldplay of added dramatisation, when our own Rohit Shetty uses prints like the 60s technicolour movies or perhaps a tacky Instagram filter in motion. He likes his neons. So does the director of this Coldplay video. Big deal. It doesn’t really count as cultural appropriation.

My store of reasoning has been exhausted. I have demolished my own points. However, I still don’t like it. Am I saying it because it is cool to not like which is popular with the ‘cool junta’? No. I know I am not saying it because it will grab me a few reverent glances for being the one that doesn’t give in to the West’s attempted pandering to Indian sensibilities. Niet. I have my reasons. I DON’T LIKE IT.

It is too confusing for me. I don’t get what they have tried to do. (Now am I saying I don’t like things I don’t understand?) Sheesh…how do I express myself?

I think it will suffice to say (like I said on Facebook) – I like these kind of videos more :

The video is coherent, makes sense to me, shows a foreigner(?) in Indian setting with all the stuff the Westerners consider exotic but is still realistic and reflects the times it is shot in.

If you have made head or tail of what I wanted to express in this rambling, please let me know in the comments.

First Ramble : First book of the year

I had forgotten that today is the 1st of February. I often forget the occasions I look forward to, on the day itself. My ‘engagement anniversary’ is no exception. Recently, I called up my school friend Neha on Republic Day, and talked about everything under the sun (mostly nostalgic school moments) and hung up without wishing her ‘Happy Anniversary’. (Sorry, Neha!) To think, only a week before 26th January, I had called her and mentioned I will call on her wedding anniversary.

I remembered about the Ramblings only at 12 in the noon.

The first book of the year I read is ‘Dreams from my father’ by Barack Obama. It continued from December into January (yes, it is long). Obama is as terrific a writer as he is an orator. What a blessed man!

I had heard about the book since his inauguration in 2008, got my hands on it only now.

Here’s my informal review :

Dreams from my Father has been written way back in 95 (or earlier, since it was published in 95). It gives an insight into what went in Obama’s mind since his childhood, what drove him towards community service/organisation and subsequently politics. He is very honest about his family and his feelings towards the legacy that he comes from. That said, it is a bit lengthy and repetitive – needs a good editor and chapter/mid-chapter leaps (although chronological) leave the reader frustrated as he abruptly breaks his chain of thoughts in an event he is narrating. It may be a logical conclusion for him, but leaves the reader frustrated (doesn’t serve as a good cliffhanger tactic). His language is masterful. Good read altogether.

I am now reading ‘The Best of R.K.Narayanan’.

Which is the first book you have read this year?