Topophilia

Topophilia (From Greek topos “place” and -philia, “love of”) is a strong sense of place, which often becomes mixed with the sense of cultural identity among certain peoples and a love of certain aspects of such a place

 

Whoa, a lot has changed!

2 weeks ago, I was in Ahmedabad, completing my MBA and trying to take in all that I could about that magical place. The two years I have spent in those hallowed grounds will always be special. When I was getting into the cab and going out of the campus one last time, I realized that there was so much that I wanted to do, experience and feel. Alas, time was not on my side and I had to leave certain matters untreated.

Well, that is not the end of it. 1 week ago, I was in Calcutta. I keep referring to the city by its old (yet regal) name as I can never be a Kolkattan. I will always be a Calcuttan, a guy who enjoys the simple earthen cup of tea while sitting on a rock lying on the footpath. This same city, which has raised me and made me who I am, was and will always be special to me and here again, I tried to take it all in, before leaving the city. The dirty streets, the mouth-watering street food, the innumerable types of delightful sweets, the old Architecture and the joyful language which brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. However, that also came to a close. And yes, some matters were left unfinished here as well. C’est la vie.

Today, I just completed 1 week of my first job (Woohoo, yeah! *Queue Shaktiman Music*). While undergoing my induction, I interacted with a lot of people and faced the same statement almost everywhere. “Must be missing home, eh?’

With not being able to find a reason to provide to the inquisitive audience, I got to thinking (wish I could say gazed at the stars while thinking of the future) and understood something important.

Irrespective of how much I try to take in or how much time I spend, there was no possible scenario that I would be able to take it everything I can of those places. There are simply exorbitant memories attached to these places. Some were good; some were bad, while some were downright ugly! Then why do we get into the whole “I want to take in everything before I leave!” mindset.

I guess it is because we all suffer from the need to hold on. But, hold onto what? We certainly can’t hold onto places (Picture Hanuman without the mountain, juggling a variety of places). What I realized was that irrespective of wherever I would go, I would always have people with me. The people with whom I have spent a majority of my life. The same people who have irritated me, made me laugh, cry, scream, and tear my hair off, red with anger and gleaming with joy. Think back and trying to remember, the places would seem hazy but the people would be clear as water.

 

And hopefully, they will take me with themselves as well. 🙂

 

(P.S. Finally writing after a year.)
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One Coin. Two Sides.

There are always two kinds of people in this world. The achievers, the toppers, the people who get placed the first by companies who want grade – A students and do not even look below 80%.

Then there is the other set. This set of individuals is what people or society likes to term and call (while looking upon them) as “Average.”

These average students or people are those who have taken the words procrastination and apathy beyond the dictionary and made it into something much bigger, they have made it a way of life. This is for those students who have never seen getting that one mark for increasing your grade from a B+ to an A, but one mark as a way of just passing the course. For them, the world is not always in a race and are always indulging into activities which are way beyond the pages of text or beyond the marks that are reflected in the life – determining document (again, hyped by society) called a Mark sheet. For them, attending extra courses is not for getting more on your CV, but something to just enjoy and understand. It is this student who sees Medical certificates as a life-saver and has found comfort in sleeping on the hard yet seemingly soft classroom desk. These are the students who love Slideshare and Wikipedia and for them, turnitin.com is the devil’s beloved creation. This is for those pesky neighbors and one – day relatives who come alive only on the day results are declared. This is for the Indian Society and the Great Indian Rat Race, another worthless creation of society and its dedication towards making young individuals feel bad about getting 79% instead of 80%.

Looking back on first day at MICA, you realize how competitive and collaborative people can be. It becomes an understatement to the fact that it is really difficult to not be drawn into that race, the race for being irritating and loving at the same time, to the same people. It is during that time when you realize that money does not grow on trees and credit adds up. You realize how you call up parents for money, when you run out and need more. They send it out and… the point is that we had come here as someone, confused and deluded of the fact that we have now entered a good b – school. However, over 2 years, you realize what you are. You realize what you are passionate about and what you are really good at. You also realize the difference between the two. And how it will affect your future that you still have no idea about. And irrespective what stage of realization you are, it is a gift that should be treasured, acknowledged and maybe remembered. To remember that maybe you are not a topper. You are not a Grade – A student. Maybe you don’t fit into that race and how you will fall beyond. To realize that maybe you are average. But, maybe, average is the new exceptional.

We live in a society that professes how one should aim for fame, fortune, success and wealth. No matter how hard it is to accept that but the fact of the matter is that it will never be that. The average is never famous. It never gets the limelight. The average is more than that. It is more than what is society’s definition of the Alpha Human Race. It is doing more for others. It is about fun, happiness, sorrow, experiences, and memories. It is about taking that extra one hour to sit and just chill with friends, to read and to learn from anywhere except textbooks. It is about making sure that people around you, those who depend upon you have a life a little better than they did earlier. Average is the professor who helps you understand the meaning and importance of understanding life and not what ANOVA table is used for. It is that person who helps you get to know your own sense of identity and how it will make you stronger in the real race, the one you run against yourself. More importantly, average is the person who tells you that Breaking Bad is about Human Struggle, South Park broke cultural barriers and how Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai is the solution to finding enjoyment in everything in life and that Kyunki Saans bhi kabhi Bahu Thi or Balika Vadhu is doing nothing for women. Average is the person who realizes that the real fun in life was the cartoons we used to watch and the countless hours spent sitting and “wasting” time with friends. Average is the person who binge watches all the episodes of Friends again and again, just cause.

We as a society celebrate what is exceptional or who is ahead in the race. But, what needs to celebrated is the mediocre and that is what we generally forget and neglect. We should celebrate the cleaner who wipes your floor and brooms your room, just so that you can have a clean room to sit and achieve greatness in. we should celebrate the delivery boy who brings you food to your room. We should celebrate all those people around us who make our lives easier to live in.

Celebrate Average.

Average is knowing that you don’t receive respect, but that you have to earn it. It is the understanding that opportunities don’t come knocking on your door, you have to fight for it. And if anyone tells you any different, they are lying. Average is amazing. Next to the Generation Y and Facebook, average is taking over the world.

Piñata

Remember the last birthday celebration that you went to. Not the ones that we go to now. The celebrations where we used to take gifts and got a return gift, the instance where everyone used to be excited about since a week,  the experience of musical chairs and birthday bumps.

 However, between all of these, was the charm of the birthday Piñata, filled with gooey candies and small toys. As soon as the birthday boy smashed a whole into it, the room – filled with eager young eyes, lit up in anticipation and in awe of the wonderful waterfall of goodies that used to fall. Post that, it was a free-for-all. Grab as much as you can with your small fists and hands, using the birthday hats as a cup, putting everything into it. The mad scramble would be over in a blink of an eye and then began the wonder of what all we couldn’t grab.

Why did I tell you this?

Well, a couple of days back, my classmates and I, were discussing over tea, the value of memories. How quickly time slips by and we don’t even recognize it. From the first day we entered school to the Convocation is a period which passes us by in a flash. Some people we hold onto, while others are lost in the cruel translation of time; how one small argument makes everything different and a simple sorry makes life simpler. It is now those moments which have made us who we are.

We are now entering the last year of our college life, after which, everyone would take a different route, into the world that is buzzing with the sound of clicking fingers and the tapping of keyboards, where the world is measured by KPIs and the next loan installment is right by the corner.

With one year to go, we are again at that phase. The Piñata has burst open, the memories are flowing down. And once again, we’ll be scrambling madly to hold onto as much as we can as moments slips out of our hands. Only this time, there won’t be a second time. This is the start of what could  be a beautiful end. So, let’s make it beautiful. Let’s fill our hats as much as we can.

I know this post seems a little random, but trust me, go back and browse your Facebook gallery and the watsapp chat history… you’ll understand what I am talking about. If you do, just send me an “I realise.” I’ll understand.

The Tree

Shedding leaves and flowers,

Been here since forever, this tree of old,

It sees sensations of the mortal mind untold,

Of warmer winters and summers cold.

Every spring, sixty new leaves,

Into the shade of the tree merge,

From cities, streams and companies,

Into an unknown brotherhood converge,

Artists tune their strings,

Violins and guitars breeze songs in the air,

Diverse voices travel through tones of past and future,

But one voice they all share.

Poets write in unspoken words,

Power of drama silently screams,

Words jolt the bodies,

Fly away thoughts and dreams.

Shoes lie across the floor,

Come Evening, found no more,

The flood-lights sounds the call,

Some find calmness, some gore.

Something is different about this place,

Time is testament, the tree’s true,

From raised tempers to silenced walls,

To The Dark Knight they all turn to.

All seasons have passed,

Sixty leaves have to shed,

Lights off, silence engulfs,

Only remain shadows and warm beds.

The tree stands still,

Awaiting dwellers new,

But the place will never be the same,

The old have bid adieu.

Birth

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Pale lights, frosty air,
Old, dark, tiled floors,
Sitting on steps like corpses,
They tend to cerebral sores.

There was drama in the center,
Waiting for the next phrase,
SHE watched with precise, cold eyes,
Finding, through those metal glass frames, filing them in the race.

Midway through subordination-insubordination,
They heard a feeble voice crying for help,
No sound came, only souls turned to her,
Trying to hear her cry, shriek, shout, and yelp.

There she sat, behind all others,
Shivering and quivering, head to toe,
One would not understand if she was undergoing some metamorphosis,
Or a tribal prayer, in still waters, to row.

He, next to her, held her hand,
Turning his fingers around those rushing veins,
Hoping to calm her down,
Hoping to save her, only in vain.

She sucked out into the world,
Gasping for a strand of air,
Choking she was, without any hands,
Like a rusted old gear.

They urged, let us help her,
They prayed; let us make it easy,
Asked for a pause, for a minute,
Even HER assistant grew uneasy.

SHE looked around, glaring into their eyes,
Without even flinching, SHE laid that verbal thorn,
“Let us continue, she will manage,”
And the modern insensitive tyrant was born.

Unexpected

So, I had thought that I would have written about my first week at MICA as my next post. However, something happened today which compelled me to put pen to paper. I am talking about my first class of Post-graduation.

Idea Generation Workshop was conducted by Professor Amar Gargesh and for the first time in my life, I put five of my personality traits on paper, without using words. The fact that we connected our personalities with stones and garbage also says a great deal about the teaching techniques used here. Being from a background where learning has always been bookish and theoretical, this comes as a much welcome change.

Apart from all this, the interaction among the 40 individuals from all across the country was also overwhelming. To see so many different approaches to one object, innovative ideas and thought processes is what makes the fact true that one learns more from peers than in the class during post graduation true.

It maybe early days, but the actuality that the very first class was so interactive and left all of us with a smile on a face from start to end, gives me a lot of confidence that the coming two years would be full of many more such experiences.

Let’s see and as a classmate of mine today said, Reality is just a state of mind.

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Believe in Yourself!

This is not for the achievers. This is not for the successful. This is not for the people who stand above everyone else. The winners, the champions, the heroes, the excellent, the leaders, the world-famous, the center-of-the-attention, the favorites, the star, the rock star, the prodigy.

Many will not get the idea behind this. It is not for them.

This is for the underdogs, the Dark Horses, the followers, the people who finish just behind, the dominated, and the ones-in-the-shadows.

Today, I was sitting and reading one of my older posts and it seemed almost weird and alien. It felt too good to be written by me. And that was what frightened me.  It was a moment of brilliance, pure magic. A moment when my emotions were free and passion took reigns.  I thought about this and I realized that THAT was my moment. That was what I was capable of if I allow my mind, heart and soul work in cohesion with one another, without the fear of the outer world pushing me down or being critical of my work.

People today get bogged down by society’s never ending Principles of Conformism and the need of celebrating traditionalists. For example, it doesn’t matter who understood the topic better, the person adjudged to be best at it is the one who can vomit the rote learnt answers during the exam.

But the catch is that the problem here does not lie with society. It lies with us as individuals. Do we let society define what is good for us or what our moment of brilliance is or do we look back at our life and smile at those brilliant moments.

Because in the end what they say does not matter. In the end what matters is the feeling of personally defined greatness that accompanies it. Maybe that feeling lies only for an hour, a minute or a second. But it is in those moments that one pushes through and gathers momentum from time is not good!

It is those moments which allow us the strength to recognize our potential and persevere till we are exhausted or till each and every bone in our body quivers with pain.

The question that each one of us faces in our lives is that do we let mediocrity be our sky or push the barriers of expectations and taunts to reach the stars? 

What is written next is something which makes me believe every time I feel weak or vulnerable. Maybe it will do for you too.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

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