Word of the Week #88:

Torpidity

night-michelangelo.jpg

My sleep is dear to me, and more dear this being of stone,
as long as the agony and shame last.
Not to see, not to hear is for me the best fortune;
So do not wake me! Speak softly.

— Michelangelo

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Word of the Week #86:

Caesura

Poetry… Who doesn’t enjoy that, right?

Well, I suppose some could say the same about tea, or beer, and I happen to hate them both, so who can say.

Regardless, we must not digress.

You see, I have always been one who enjoyed a good verse. I am more old-school with my tastes, though, most familiar with the names Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, and above all, Frost. Contemporary poetry, however, seemed rather alien to me.

From the outset, it appears somewhat formless. It is not bound by any conventional lyric meters or rhyme schemes. Now, I’m not a purist, but playing with no rules whatsoever seems like cheating.

However, over the course of this year, my opinion has changed, and after having spent the past weekend almost entirely dedicated to Spoken Word poetry, I have finally begun to get the hang of it.

You see, traditional poetry is like a fragrant mist. It will envelop and entrance you. Spoken word, however, is quite different. It is simple, stark, and unconstrained.

It is actually quite like an axe—hits hard and cuts deep. It is not a chisel that delicately shapes the world around us. Instead, it is better equipped at chopping away at the flaws.

Spoken word is not cheating. Instead, it is a different game altogether.

And, like with most games, I have no interest in staying a mere spectator for too long. I am here to play.


PS: All sportsmen will tell you that there was one moment towards the beginning, one flash of brilliance, that made them fall in love with the game. For me, that came as a line I heard this past Sunday:

Liars will say that they are artists.
Ironically, they are not lying.

Aditya Mankad, Pseudologia Fantastica

Word of the Week #85:

Revelry

Just this Sunday, my sister and I were sitting in a cab. I was looking out the window, as we whizzed past the flashing lights.

“I have a meeting till 5PM on Thursday,” she suddenly announce. “I don’t think I will be able to make lunch.”

“Huh? Okay,” was all I could elicit, at the moment, not sure what to do with this little piece of information.

It is not like her to make small talk, after all, nor is she known to volunteer information for no good reason.

Also, considering her schedule, it was almost always impossible for her to have lunch at home on a weekday, and I could not see why she would feel the need to specify it, that too days in advance.

I stared at her for another few seconds, before either of us could spoke again, and I was so wrapped in my thoughts that I do not remember even a word of what followed.

What I do remember is the sensation when, after an entire minute of befuddlement, realisation finally dawned on me: Thursday also happens to be my birthday.

It may seem odd to some, but to me birthdays do not seem like a big deal… Especially when we are talking about my own. If it is someone else’s, I would still love to make a big fuss for their sake. That is still fun.

But, you see, I have already seen enough birthdays. Their novelty has already faded. Now, it is no longer a day I look forward to for the weeks, or even days, that precede it. Moreover, I have not even been able to spend it with the entirety of my family, for the past two years. That rather dampens the effect.

Now, I do not say that I will not celebrate. It has been a good year, and all good things deserve a celebration, right?

But, more than Thursday, I am looking forward to Wednesday night. On 15th of November, 2017, we commemorate the third anniversary of the completion of the first draft of Arrkaya: Origins, after a marathon writing session that lasted 46 hours and ended only because the manuscript was complete. It is the time to remember one of the finest day in my short lifetime, and I could not be more proud.

So, the party does not start at midnight. No, it shall start at 10PM. Just as it did, three years ago…

This week should be fun.

Word of the Week #84:

Paternity

Do you have children? If not, would you like to?

And no, that is not an offer, only an enquiry.

It is just that lately, due to recent changes I mentioned last week, I have been pondering over the challenges of being a parent. Only the challenges, unfortunately, and none of the rewards, because, well, are there any?

I generally like to think of myself as a ‘silver-linings’ kind of a guy, but in this case, I just cannot see beyond the dull greys.

Children are stupid. That is just a simple truth. Sooner or later, they will find a way to put themselves or you or someone in grave danger.

Sure, they may seem cute while they are clean and quiet, but you cannot expect them to stay that way for too long.

Being a parent is tough, it is often said, but there are many who would disagree. In fact, even I would disagree. Being a parent, in and of itself, does not seem all that tough.

However, being a good, responsible parent, one who can strike the right balance between care and discipline and is attentive and neither too aloof nor too clingy on a consistent basis, now that is a tall order.

Interestingly, I forgot to pack any nightwear for my trip to Bangalore. Now, if I cannot even be trusted to be responsible for my luggage, how can I even comprehend being responsible for an entire new life?

On top of everything, we never receive any training whatsoever for what is undoubtably the most important endeavour one can undertake, but thank goodness I spent decades learning how to calculate the area of a cordate.

To be honest, I do not even like this idea of unilaterally creating life and then nurturing it according to our will. It is almost too much power for a single individual. For one, if I have noted anything in the past couple of years, it is that too many people are too stupid.

Of course, it is not entirely a unilateral prospect. Bilateral at the very least, right?

So, until I do not have a willing partner, it is all moot.

And, well, looks like it will stay that way for at least the foreseeable future.

Word of the Week #83:

Cataclysm

Who likes change? I don’t.

What is there to even like?

Let alone the big stuff, I struggle to even tolerate small changes in the weather. The very thought of buying a new phone or laptop or vehicle is enough to make me hyperventilate.

Of course, I have no money and cannot afford any of those things, but that is beside the point…

Now, we did talk a few weeks back about the changes a person undergoes, in order to reach greater heights, and that is obviously a different thing altogether. I don’t exactly love it, but I do understand and appreciate it.

However, there are certain changes that seem far less benign, and I count myself lucky for never having had to endure any of them. Now, I am still only thinking about things like switching schools or relocating, both of which appeared at the horizon at certain points in my childhood, and we somehow managed to evade both these looming disasters.

These days, however, I am living my life a little beyond my comfort zone, and experiencing these changes, albeit second-hand.

And, of course, my life is still enviably comfortable, so…

Nonetheless, a new chapter has begun. Our brave protagonist finds himself stripped from the warmth of his childhood home, into a mysterious land filled with unspeakable horrors.

Let us see how his story pans out.

Now you see me…? #teaser #Miem #Miyu #Miki #TheThreeHeadedDragon and #TheLoneDirewolf Legen… #waitForIt

A post shared by Shweta Mahajan (@shwtmhjn) on

Stay tuned for more…


PS: You see, ‘unspeakable’ because, well, cats cannot speak.

Word of the Week #82:

Narcolepsy

We have seen this happen to the people around us, have we not?

One moment, they are awake. They are talking, or singing, or cooking, or playing, or even driving. Whatever they may be doing, you know for certain that, at that particular moment, they are wide awake. And, the very next moment, you see that they are not.

We cannot say that they have fallen asleep, though. That would not be quite right. Nor can we call this a stupor.

If anything, I would call this a variant of a ‘pre-lucid dream‘.

You must have seen this, right?

For instance, let us say you are hanging out with a guy, narrative to him your latest escapades, perhaps with a little creative editing of your own. Now, towards the beginning of the story, he is all ears. Head nodding, hair bobbing, and, if your story is good enough, lips parted in an inaudible chuckle.

You grin back. Take a sip of your Thums Up, because, what else would you rather drink. By now, however, he is no longer awake.

He just lies slumped in his seat, shoulders drooping and neck arching to the front. He is already caught in the dream.

You try to resume your story, but he is oblivious to your babbling. He is held captive by the bright colours flashing before his eyes.

So, you have seen this, right?

It is already a wide-spread disorder, and it may well be one of the greatest threats our society has ever faced.

Yeah, I know hate-morgering-extreme-right-wing-pseudo-nationalism is pretty bad. I hate it too. But trust me, this is worse.

You see, unlike sheer stupidity, which some people just do possess and some just do not, this can affect almost every living human on this planet… Except maybe the poorest of guys, but really, they already have their hands full…

Your parents may say that you are the ones trapped in this, but we all know that even they are as vulnerable as you; perhaps even more so, one may argue.

Unfortunately, there is no real cure either. I mean, you could wake them up with a quick whack to the head, but really, how many of them can you handle by yourself? And for how long?

Be smart. Save yourself.


PS: You have seen this, have you not? 

No? Odd.

Well, the dream is somewhat lucid. Maybe you could try to wake up.

 

Word of the Week #81:

Scavenger

Have you seen one?

You probably have.

You may not have noticed them, or identified them for what they really are, and one cannot really blame you for that. They can be quite the masters of disguise.

They roam our world, lurking in the shadows, largely unseen and unheard. They lay in wait for the weakest of us, and when they find us at the weakest of our times, they pounce.

Occasionally, you can find them lurking behind traffic signals, often in packs. Sure, they are camouflaged perfectly as men seeking to serve and protect, but be sure you are not lulled into a false sense of security. They are waiting to lunge at you, any moment they can get.

Sometimes, they wait in your schools and colleges, your cricket fields, your gymnasiums. This may seem like their natural habitat, but do not be fooled. Without the slightest of warnings, they will slam upon your young shoulders the heavy burden of their broken dreams.

Quite often, they will disguise themselves as one of us, and with the promise of a better tomorrow, lead us down the sheer ravine. Of course, these vultures can fly, and look forward to the feast you provide.

Lastly, there are some that make inroads into our offices and industries, and often find their way to the very top. It is a good vantage point, you know, The Top. From up there, it is quite easy to spot the perfect prey, and to hunt them down with impunity. They get what they want, and then get away with it. Easy.

Now, with all these predators swarming around and above you, the question rings through your mind: How do I protect myself?

Well, you could try growing some spikes. It works for porcupines, it may work for you. But, unfortunately, that is not an option for most of us.

So, what do we do?

Maybe we could try growing some spines, instead?