PhotoSTOP!!!

“Cake fir se khilao, photo achi nahi aayi.”

This statement pretty much sums up last decade. We all have been to that dinner when we had to delay savoring the food, because the person-with-the-camera wasn’t getting a perfect shot, or when the birthday girl had to take multiple shots to satisfy the ego of the aunty feeding it, who wanted to eat the cake and not let the picture show it too! No offence, cake.

Be it your friend’s wedding, your kids first birthday, you having a blissful afternoon nap or the first time you shat in your pants, everything is documented, everything is captured, everything is rather lost in the process.

Right from waking up in the morning to going back to sleep (also in the morning, most times), we use this tool to document every microsecond of our life, like there is no tomorrow! Not to mention, this entire exercise is to re-live these moments “tomorrow”. Somewhere between fidgeting with the camera, looking for a better angle or the moment with a better light, clicking and uploading and counting the likes, we forget to enjoy the moment.

But if only some genius could tell me how to re-live a moment that you haven’t lived in the first place?! What is the point of scheming through this beautiful life (I am not saying this, your Instagram pictures are) through a 7” screen in between!

Didn’t have a camera by my side this time,
hoping I would see the world through both my eyes.

Today I finally overcame,
trying to fit the world inside a picture frame.

Maybe you should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes;
it brought me back to life.

—John Mayer, “3×5”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not disparaging the art of photography!  I think photography is a beautiful art form. When well-executed, photos are breathtaking. Furthermore, we’re a visual culture, so pictures play a large role in the way we communicate.

But the question is about how cognizant we are to our environment. Do we lose the knowledge, the experience of the impermanence of this moment, in making it rather permanent in our life? Well, for me, the concept of using pictures to reminiscence about the past in the ‘then’ present is debatable – but let’s keep that for some other time.

There is nothing sadder than seeing a couple enjoying the sunset with their camera. There is nothing crazier than people putting their life in jeopardy for a “perfect click”. There is nothing sillier than clicking the coffee every time you give a witty name at Starbucks (oh so passé). There is no skill in getting the candid picture right on your 176th attempt.

Or like someone tweeted the other day – We are a generation with maximum documentation of Human stupidity. I couldn’t agree more. Touché.

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Pat(riot)ism

I work. I work and I earn. I earn enough and pay taxes. Lots of taxes. I employ people. I develop skills. I pay them. They progress. And pay taxes. Taxes that are for the development of my country. I pay for rent. I pay for equipment, I pay for services. I pay more taxes. I earn shitloads of money and make an equal load of positive changes. Yet, I am forced to stand up for the National Anthem, every time I watch a movie (also, taxed) to prove that I am a ‘patriot’.

If the National Anthem is not played during the movie, it will not make me less of a patriot, just as when it is being played, it doesn’t make more of it anyway! The point here is not about me having to delay taking my recliner seat up because I need to stand-up for the National Anthem (actually, that too), but it is more about me having to prove that I am a Patriot with these silly laws cropping up every now and then. The whole attitude around these laws undermines everything else that I may be doing for my country.

When did patriotism come down to obeying and/or agreeing with the government? If you adhere to their views, their vision and support their prophecy, you are a ‘true patriot’, otherwise a downright anti-national! Frankly, the most patriotic thing people are doing today is talking about their mothers and sisters, followed by a word which I’d rather not mention here, on twitter and feeling immensely ‘nationalist’ about it. Bravo!

It doesn’t matter if you are bringing laurels to your country, or fighting for your country, or working hard for your country – suddenly all that matters is whether are you standing in the ATM queues without cribbing or not! Soldiers should not complain about the food they are getting, students should not protest against the injustice they are facing, people should not complain about the hardships caused by new laws being passed – because you do all or any of these mentioned things: “Go to Pakistan!” comes the quick reply.

6a00d83477d44a69e20167666d0650970b-600wiJust as an after-thought, I would like to question the whole concept of patriotism here. While ‘patriotism’ is generally seen as a uniting emotion, I personally find it rather dividing! If patriotism is one side of a coin, xenophobia is the other. I don’t think we can talk about ‘World Peace’ at various conferences all over the world, while also promoting, encouraging and forcing ‘Patriotism’ at the same time

I think Leo Wiener, in his article titled ‘Patriotism or Peace?’ sums up my point better, and says: “Patriotism cannot be good. What produces war is the desire for an exclusive good for one’s own nation – that is called patriotism. And so to abolish war, it is necessary to abolish patriotism and to abolish patriotism, it is necessary first to become convinced that it is an evil”.

PS: it’s the ‘Republic Day’ week, and my patriotism-level may look as low as the number on the thermometer, but: East or West, India is the Best. There, I said it. I am not an anti-national.

An Unsuitable Idea

‘New Year, New Me’ looked like the flavor of 2017. I think if it’s the alcohol that makes people so positive around the outset of another year, I’d rather have them stay drunk throughout! How can it be “New Year, New Me”, with my old thoughts, old resentments, old beliefs, old opinions, views, etc?

If you have been following the headlines for the past 15 days, unfortunately, there is nothing new in the way we create news, in the way we present news, in the way we perceive news. The only thing that probably is changing faster is the hair colour trend!

If I had to pick only one fascinating aspect of us Humans- as we know today- out of the many that we have, it would be to defy something that is natural. Karan Johar’s coming-out story was quite the talk of the town this week. Whaaaaaaaat! All these years later, and we didn’t even know it! I didn’t see THIS coming! Did you?

Well, since ‘Koffee with Karan’ isn’t sizzling as much as Karan Johar would have wanted it to, we can totally trust him to find one way or the other to occupy all our free time – and with everyone talking about it, I can see that we have enough of it!

Karan Johar, in an excerpt from his autobiography called ‘An Unsuitable Boy” has hinted at being utterly scared of coming out in this country. For people who do not know, your sexual orientation is something that you naturally feel, and not something that you would “do to yourself” – and given the acumen of all the people in this world, a person would really be silly to actually not feel in a particular way and still fight the world!

But then, we are above nature! We are Humans. We even come before ‘nature’ in the dictionary. How can ‘nature’ defy our logic?! So if we don’t really account for the LGBT community, and render it unnatural, so it is. I mean if nature doesn’t change itself once we have called it unnatural, nature is inhuman! Of course!

"...The only thing you need to 'GET' is out of our way."It is rather inhuman to treat them as unnatural. All of a sudden today, a word that was used as an equivalent to ‘happiness’, cannot be said without a sneer anymore! And even after applying all of the little brains that I have, I cannot come up with one logical explanation to this behavior of ours! Never before have had I understood ‘Live and Let Live’ better.

The sooner ‘we’ take this authority that ‘we’ have given ‘ourselves’ to decide what stays, what doesn’t, and what stays at what position, away, the better will be the news, views and all our muse.

Boys Will Be Boys

Laxmi was sweating. She was doing the dishes and finishing her daily chores. Today marked the payday. Generally, people are ecstatic about this day, but not Laxmi. She was getting flashbacks of the same time last month. She was well aware of the drill.

She would finish work and go home. After a tiring day, she wouldn’t have the luxury of even sitting down for a cup of chai, but will directly get to cooking for her hungry 2, 4, 7, and 10-year olds – all of this while avoiding the eyes of Ramu, her husband sitting with a bottle yelling abuses. She doesn’t want the day to get over, her husband to hit her, to snatch the money, and to give double the pain after the children have slept than all of it put together in the day, for him to sleep with a smug face. While no one is out there to listen to the cacophony in her heart.

Because we live in a country where “Boys will be boys” is a valid undertone, and ‘raping wife’ is not even a reasonable concept!

*******

It was about 10 pm. Little black dress, tall black drink. It was just supposed to be a super-chill evening at a high-society club – a treat to herself at the end of a hectic successful week. She was in the middle of the dance floor, matching her movement with the music.

It was then that she felt a grip. She was disgusted. She tried to free herself, but the hands were too firm for her tipsy brain. She tried to resist, to shout, to struggle. No! Don’t! Leave me alone! But to no avail.

It’s only when she woke up she wailed. It was a cold parking lot, with her clothes torn, her hair awry, her heart yowling in pain, in disgust, in weakness.

Because we live in a country where “Boys will be boys” is a valid undertone, and holding a drink is an invitation.

*******

raf750x1000075te5d6c5-f62bbf65ee-u4Hanging her school bag, she was waiting for the rickshaw to come. For her, the day is darker than the night. Every morning is a struggle, to accept something that disgusts her as a norm.

Every day she is touched by the driver in the ways she doesn’t even holds her dolls. She doesn’t like it, she doesn’t understand what is happening, and she knows it is very painful, but she doesn’t know a way out.

After all, she had tried telling her Mum about it when her uncle visited. But her Mum shushed her and told her to not tell anyone! The sooner you accept, the better it will be for you. Playing with her dog she always wondered how wonderful her life would have been had she been able to switch it to that of the dogs’.

Because we live in a country where “Boys will be boys” is a valid undertone, and being a GIRL is living a life that of an object!

*******

Because “Boys will be boys” till someone teaches them to be more.