Enclosed in Asterisks

Am sick of finding the right words; I want to say it with my eyes and engrave it on the canvas of your mind. Shouldn’t have to tell you how much you are needed. You know it, because I have told you before. But that’s how far it goes. There is no way to top that gesture if you are missing. If I could, I would brand it on your skin with my touch.

Let’s not share anything or go over every excruciating detail of the day. Why waste time? What good is it to know how your day went if I can’t hold you until I know exactly how you feel about it? How does it help if you can’t hold me back until you feel whole again?

And I don’t care if you are always “by my side”, or the fact that I can count on you. I need your body as much I have your mind. Lay down by my side. May be, stare in a different direction. Your smell and breath! I am done with intentions enclosed in asterisks and silly emoticons. Let me reach inside you through the lines on your face and read you like a book. Flared nostrils. The occasional glazed over eyes. I want to deal with character flaws, not network congestion.

These interactions should feel good; tiny little opportunities to touch you ever so slightly. But it’s as if each phone call, each text, each smiley, clears the dust on my window pane, and reveals, just a little more, the amount of distance that separates us; the never ending wasteland of promises and desires that lies between the small log cabin my life resides in and the nearest village I am welcome to.

Update [13th of May, 2014]:

Found this wonderful video that speaks of the ills of social networking and is in a peculiar sync with what’s written above:

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo

Constant Cadence

The optimal way to cycle is to maintain a more or less constant cadence; that is, the rate at which you pedal. This is not easy on a single speed cycle, but on a geared cycle you have all the help you need to keep pushing at an optimal constant rate. So, when you are riding uphill and it becomes increasingly tough to pedal, you just shift the gears down but maintain the cadence. You obviously lose speed, but the combination of a lower gear and optimal pedaling speed results in the best usage of your resources. You could stay in a higher gear and put more effort in pedalling, but that would tire you down. Gearing down and pedaling at the same rate is your best bet even if it means that you move slower.

This trick, like everything else about cycling, has an analogy in life. When you face a rough patch, or obstacles, or an unexpected lack of results, maintain your optimal cadence, your rhythm. While riding uphill in life, you automatically shift down to a lower emotional and mental “gear”. The win is in not letting the situation affect your cadence. Put in the same number of hours. Maintain your schedule. You will probably be less productive, but you will be better off than resisting the change or giving up altogether. In life, like in cycling, you can only control how much you pedal. The result varies.

Imagined Reality

We stopped checking for monsters under our bed when we realized they were inside us.

As a kid I used to be scared of the night watchman. Every night, during his patrol, as he passed by my house, creating a ruckus with his baton and whistle, I used to curl up into a bundle of pure fear. I could never dare to look out my window to invalidate my baseless imaginations but my young mind painted the image of a red-eyed hairy daemon, walking through the streets in search of kids to devour. The quiet of the night and the solitude used to make the moments all the more ghastly. I knew he was employed as a guard and it was his duty to keep thieves and burglars off our houses, but the knowledge never helped me feel otherwise.

As a kid, what frightened me most were imaginary things that I believed were real. As an adult, I realize how easy I had it back then. What keeps me awake at night now is the fear that what I believe is real might just be my imagination.

The Age of Documentation

This is probably the most adorable advert Apple has ever commissioned. The warmth and EQ is very christmasy, the message is subtle and the technology and features (did you notice the slo mo?) have been sprinkled ever so lightly. It is the perfect concoction of subliminal messaging and good storytelling and is bound to meet Apple’s expectations on the returns.

The advert aptly captures (and attempts to vindicate) our obsession with documenting our lives. Today’s technology has aided, and exacerbated, this nature. Before Instagram, Facebook and Twitter existed, people drew self-portraits, kept diaries, wrote letters and documented life as it happened, but the technology available was never simple and accessible enough to overshadow life itself. You didn’t kiss such that you could take a selfie at the same time, you just kissed (and someone else took a picture and made it the world’s most famous kiss).

Granted that photographs and videos are amazing ways to recall our most beautiful experiences, but somewhere between the Mona Lisa and hashtag we began replacing experiences with tokens of memory. We are so busy capturing the moment (and making it look beautiful) that we hardly enjoy it. Every experience reduced to a dead digital copy, like a thin slice of our life mounted on a microscope slide, labelled, sorted and stored. And let’s not even talk about how we make it even worse by sharing these “experiences” to the world in an attempt to gain approval and feel good about ourselves.

On Moving Mountains

You don’t move mountains. You don’t bulldoze them with the brute force of your will. They are stronger than the forces of your nature. You erode them. You chip at them with the strength of you determination. You annihilate them bit by bit with the power of your perseverance. You don’t need an unstoppable force to conquer an immovable object, you need an unending resilience that refuses to back down. Come what may.

Police evicting Kejriwal from outside Sheila Dikshit’s house a year ago.
Police evicting Kejriwal from outside Sheila Dikshit’s house a year ago.