Word of the Week #208:

Incubation

Okay, visualise this:

The quarantine has ended.

My favourite friends are throwing a party at their place… Because, that’s what you do when a quarantine ends, right?

I’m late, but not too late. I’m just at the right time, really, when the party is already in its full flow and everyone is already having fun. No more awkward small talk while everyone waits for people to join in on the dance floor. 

I can see her through the open door. I watch her as she prances about, her long, lustrous hair bobbing around her waist and her beautiful smile lighting up the dimly lit room. 

She turns. Our eyes meet.

Cue the music

She sees me walking up the stairs in slow motion, my hair ruffled by the soft breeze and my black shirt just unbuttoned enough to offer a glimpse of the recently-chiseled body underneath.

Striding in, I place my hand at her waist and spin her into my arms. Our eyes meet again, and we know what we want.

The chorus rises.

Without hesitation, we break into dance.

I was made for lovin’ you, Baby,
You were made for lovin’ me.
And I can’t get enough of you, Baby
Can you get enough of me?

Sounds fun, right?

Well, anybody who knows me knows that I cannot dance. At all.

Do I have a chiseled body? Maybe if it were chiseled out of foam.

Actually, I don’t think I even have a black shirt.

So, what is the point of this daydream?

In tough times like these, it is important to dream. And not just dream idly, either. Continuing to work towards your goals is important to sustain sanity when the normalcy and the noise of a routine are taken from you.

This is not the time to pause your dreams, but to feed them, gestate them, and prepare them to be borne into a new world.

Isolation can be the best time to work on things that scare you. Use it wisely. Keep working, not from the fear of failure but from the joy of the pursuit. And soon enough, things will be back to a new normal. 

I have my list:

  • Learn how to dance
  • Keep working out
  • Get a black shirt

Let’s get to work, shall we?

Word of the Week #207:

Quarantine

So, all my life, I have worked from home. 

I mean, okay, “home” is a weird topic, right now, but that is an entirely different thing. 

Anyway, spending long hours sitting in front of my Mac, typing away furiously with nary a distraction, that has been my life for as long as I can remember… Or at least as long as I have had a Mac…

Hence, imagine my consternation when the one time I decide working from home is not going to be enough, the entire world seems to want to reverse course. And that too when I was just beginning to feel at home where I currently am. Now, the stores and malls and, well, everything is closing around me.

Fate has a keen sense of irony.

I have little food, little money, and little reason to stay, but I don’t think I should leave either. Also, I don’t want to leave. 

I plan to stay my ground and fight for the home I’ve built, here.

The vibes, right now…

When the gusts came around to blow me down…

That song is just perfect…

But it doesn’t end on a pleasant note.

Then again, what does?

Word of the Week #206:

Abode

Home…

It seems like a simple concept, right?

And yet, for the past several months, it has continued to elude me.

Actually, I only started actively thinking about it in the past few months. I suppose it has weighed on my mind for almost all my life.

As social beings, humans are forever cursed to seek somewhere they belong. I have been seeking for as long as remember.

And it has been a struggle. I could never relate to people, never connect with them. I could never feel at home.

I will accept that I have been lucky to have been surrounded by many people who love me, and a few who might even understand me. I wonder how many people are afforded that luxury. And yet, I always struggled to find somewhere I belong.

And after several months since the stark realisation that I have no home, I have only now begun to understand what I need to do.

I cannot find somewhere I belong because that place does not exist.

Time has come for me to build a home.

This is a place where I don’t feel alone.
This is a place where I feel at home.

— The Cinematic Orchestra, To Build A Home

Word of the Week #205:

Nonpareil

We tend to normalise the things in our lives, right?

I mean, we HAVE to. Otherwise, our lives would be far too skewed.

Still, I believe that when we do this, we tend to overlook too many of the most important things about the world around us. 

We might not notice how comfortable or pleasant our home was until we move away. Because, why would we? Comfort is the norm within our experience, right? A deviation from it is noticed, but its sustained prevalence is forgotten. But after having moved away and struggled to feel “at home” ever again, we realise just how special and valuable that sensation is.

The same goes with people, of course. While we have them around, we do not notice what we have. We may never learn some of the most interesting things about the people we see every single day. Is that not an opportunity too precious to lose?

As an artist, one never knows what single word or idea may spark a masterpiece of a lifetime. Inspiration may be lurking in any corner of your world, just like that scary snake we spotted in the parking last night, which led me to add a new, interesting chapter to an ongoing project.

As I said, inspiration may be lurking in any corner of your world, and you never know when it may strike. 

So, look at the world. Look at the people around you.

See. Understand. Absorb. 

Word of the Week #199:

Hominid

Humanity.

How does one define it?

What makes us human?

Is it the best of us, or the worst of us?

Even the scientific community has had major disagreements over the concept. Is it a species? Or a genus? Or a sub-species?

For several centuries, the “best and brightest” of the time believed that certain ethnic groups to be superior to others, a belief that justified the array of atrocities committed at the time. 

Strangely, though, some acts that are defined as inhuman when committed by some (see Holocaust) are brushed under the rug when committed by others (see Bengal famine).

In fact, the entirety of human history is a history of humans committing horrendous atrocities on anyone that seemed even slightly different, be it their clothes, language, skin, hair, eyes, beliefs, handedness, whatever it may be.

The history of humanity is a history of fear and hate.

Humanity lacks humanity.

 

Word of the Week #193:

Retribution

We all like superheroes, right? 

Who wouldn’t love characters like Batman, who fight crime, go after bad guys, and maintain peace in the world.

However, such individuals are better suited to the fictional world.

In the real world, people who operate outside the law and execute their own brand of justice are not called superheroes. They are are described by a different term: lynch mobs.

Over the past few years, I have noticed that in the wake of any highly publicised violent crime, amidst the usual outpouring of grief, there is a strong public demand for an immediate, equally violent retaliation. Ones who advocate basic concepts like “due process” come to be seen as dinosaurs, and their character comes to be questioned.

While it may seem natural to give in to our basest of instincts in a moment of pain and anger, one most always remember the difference between vengeance and justice. They make look the same when we are blinded by our emotion, but they are quite distinct.

There are practical reasons that could explain why following the due process can be beneficial to the society at large, but the simple fact is that we should not need reason and logic to do the right thing.

Isn’t that the very definition of a civilised society? That we can look past our immediate emotions and do what is right for society as a whole?

As the Chief Justice was forced to articulate, in response to the recent events:

“The criminal justice system in our country must change its attitude towards laxity and the time taken to dispose of each case. But I don’t think justice can ever be or ought to be instant, and justice must never ever take the form of revenge. I believe justice loses its character of justice if it becomes revenge.

—S A Bobde, Chief Justice of India 

Word of the Week #192:

Lamina

Are some people better than others?

“He/she could do so much better…”
“How on Earth did he/she land someone like that!”
“He/she is just not good enough for you…”

How often have we heard these words? How often have we said them ourselves?

It is probably a natural thing to say, I suppose, considering:

  1. I’m at that age where scores of my acquaintances are getting engaged or married every passing week
  2. How pervasive arranged marriages are in my geographical vicinity
  3. I actually said all three of those over the past weekend

However, the question remains… Are some people better than others? 

If we really thought about it, we would conclude that humans are—obviously—too complex to be assigned a single, objective rating, right?

What if we considered something simpler? Something inanimate?

Can we rate different tools in terms of their utility? Are hammers better than crowbars? Pliers over screwdrivers?

The answer would probably depend on whom you ask when. Sure, power drills are useful—and objectively cool—but one would not really use them to fit a new sink, right?

I suppose the same could be true of humans, right? The person I want on my basketball team might not be the one I want on my publicity team. The person I want as a business partner might not be the one I want as a romantic partner.

And, in hindsight, if someone ever questioned my choice of mate, I might be tempted to bash their skull in with a crowbar. Just saying.