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…

 

Fifteenth Ramble : Ek manjar range ke andar…

On 13th February, the day was passing usually, till suddenly I began to hear ‘cat meows’ with my headphones, which were supposed to give only Pro-Timer alerts. (For the uninitiated, Pro-Timer is a workout app).

I was at the shooting range, doing holdings (lifting a pistol in front of a wall and staying there for 15-30 secs, and then putting it down). I thought my brain had gone cuckoo (see, I never go cuckoo, it is always the brain, ALWAYS) because the earlier evening, Abhijeet had unceremoniously dragged me away while I was trying to coax a momma cat and her 2 carbon copy kittens down. (They were perched on an electric pole.) I was so cat-sick, I wished for a cat to appear anywhere I went after that evening.

I asked the neighbour whether he was hearing the mews too? He said that there are cats living beyond the target panels. Huh? How is that possible? Maybe I had not heard him right. To me, it was as if the kitten was stuck in one of the AC ducts above me. Now, how is THAT possible?

Since I am working on self-discipline, I tuned out the alluring mews and went back to holding.

There were sounds of a scuffle at the far end of the range. Someone was shouting ‘Catch her!’ I could hold myself no longer. I set out to investigate.

A kitten skidded in front of me and went straight towards down-range. Heck! It is suicidal, I thought and was about to shout ‘Cease-fire!’ when I realised the bottoms of the tables are blocked and it was too small to jump up on the desks. Phew! I continued trudging towards it, now in the opposite direction, since it ran straight to where I had come from. A lad tried to pounce on it, it swerved deftly and ran straight at me. (Well, diagonally. Diagonally straight at me). It realised that and ran straight towards the stands. (I am going to set a record in using straight in a blog post).

It sat mewing in panic in the corner, trying to figure out if there was a way out if it jumped up. Niet. And it was too small to know aggression common to cornered cats. Meanwhile, I had jumped the railing in pursuit and was looking at it from a distance. (Also trying to soften its state of mind by mewing back soothingly.) I told the others not to try to catch it by force. Let it settle, and I’ll take it out. (Not with a pellet!!!)

An ace rifle shooter from our academy came from behind and caught it when it was trying to run back in the other direction. So much for knowing cat psychology, hmph. He caught it but dinno what to do next. So I offered to drop it outside. The poor kitten was panicked and frightened beyond imagination. All it could do was to wail and try to climb over my shoulder and run for dear life. I assured it by my genteelness in holding it that I am not a predator.

I took the wailing fellow downstairs into the office and at the gate, thinking they would know the whereabouts of its family. Everybody agreed that they live in the space above the false ceiling of the 10m range, but nobody knew how they get there. So the watchman, the caretaker, me, and 2 of the rifle shooting girls decided it best to set it free by the neem tree at the end of the parking lot, where it would be safe from the puppies which are seen goofing around the building these days. Momma cat would come to the rescue there since she had not come to the range.

It was trembling. Its brain had shut down. It didn’t know how to react to the petting it received from me. One second it liked it and looked like it would settle down comfortably on my hand and the other second it remembered it had to call his mother and wailed. If not for the genuinely frightened fellow, I would have found it highly comical. When it could think of nothing else; it hid its face in my elbow, like a true blue ostrich.

The peon got milk from the kitchen. It would not drink in front of company. So I took it at the end of the parking, and set it down. It wanted to run away outright. But I picked it up again and made it smell the milk. It was torn between the urge to lap it up and the instinct to run for dear zindagi. In the end, it decided to stay and have the meal, because in any case, if it were to die, it would be better to die well fed. With tail firmly lodged between its hind legs, it lapped up the milk while I sat beside it, giving it complete freedom after 15 minutes of smothering it with the most luxurious petting anyone could ever receive (and give). It stole looks at me – probably thinking : petting done, feeding done, now the predator is going to eat me.

Unlike the tiger from Life of Pi, it did give me a backward glance after sprinting suddenly, leaving the milk midway. It even ran back to me. So I thought. However, it was only to sniff at the dead giant cockroach lying upside down 2 feet from the milk bowl. It decided that the cockroach dessert wasn’t worth it, especially since the predator had risen on its two legs. So much for gratitude. Paah!

And then it ran straight into the bushes, exactly like the tiger from Life of Pi. It did not vanish and was not never heard of again afterward though; because on 14th, when I walked in to the range, I found the rifle shooter and told him about where we dropped the kitten yesterday. He smiled and said that a big cat had come today. (Thankfully, he doesn’t know the difference between kitten (chhoti billi), cat(badi billi) and big cats (???) otherwise I would have fainted. I am dead afraid of big cats.)

Abhijeet wouldn’t let me pet the cat in the mall parking. So what? GOD sent me a cat right where I was practicing the next day. (Selective atheist me?) Such an amazing Valentine’s Day gift!

Even today, I could hear the distress calls of kittens and the cajoling/scolding calls of the momma cat from the ceiling. Thankfully, they were restricted to the ceiling only and there were no magical apparitions to tend to my cat-sickness anymore.

 

 

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.