Self is a story. A narrative about the past and the future that has a narrative coherence. As long as the story makes sense, we maintain the semblance of normal life. We don’t recognize that all we have is the present moment. We’re constantly analyzing the past to fit into the story we want, the story that would make sense, and in some ways it is important, to recognize where we are at this moment. To track the journey to the present moment, we continuously interpret the past into a version of a story we can understand.
In a similar vein, we keep planning our future to make sure our story continues the way we want it to. We make goals and have aspirations as per the story we want for ourselves. It is at least true for me. I’ve always planned goals based on what I envision my story to be, especially in terms of work. I couldn’t bear it that my story would be that of a “normal” life, an “insignificant” life, so I couldn’t choose the easy path. I had to constantly make harder choices for my future self, even while my present self was enjoying life, leaving the hard work for the future self. Because I never really knew whether I liked doing the work or not, I just knew what I wanted my story to be. This seems like a good way to live life. This seems like the only way I’ve ever learned how to live life. I set up goals for myself based on what I envision for my future, and I’m constantly learning how to create tangible action items in the present to reach those goals, complete with the understanding that changing my environment is more effective than motivation. But, now I’m starting to wonder whether I should continue to live life this way. What has this life been, but every moment spent analyzing “imperfections”? Each moment spent analyzing the past for lessons that can be learnt? Constant struggle and frustration? And disappointment that is largely driven by my story not ending up as I had envisioned it. That’s the sole reason age terrifies me, because age brings a narrowing of the future paths my stories can take, and it scares me that for all my grand plans, the choices I’ve made in each moment have led me down a path which is gonna end up in a “normal” or “insignificant” life. The reasons for this fear are a story for another time. They have to do with the past, and how my story reached here.
The main point I want to capture in this write up is this – should we stop pretending that we have a self based on the poorly remembered past and a vague dreamy future? Should we stop making goals for the future and try to live in the moment? That seems like a more terrifying thought. What ever do I want to do in the present, I have no idea. Wouldn’t that make me a slave to my animal impulses, driven by whatever fancy my mind caught at any particular moment? And that’s impractical, because my future “story” would probably end in poverty and extreme discomfort.
Ah! What a life. Lived constantly to prevent discomfort. Ensuring comfort and availability for the fulfillment of our base desires, while constantly denying ourselves these desires, and feeling guilty for enjoying them. Or is this life? Living in stories to steal some moments of indulging our base desires.
I recently had a conversation with a friend, which prompted me to write this letter for them. And this particular letter is addressed to them. But I want to say this to all my friends, that even though we might have never explicitly said this to each other, but I love you and I mean this for all of you…
Thanks for being you.
It felt good to hear that you don’t want me to be hurt. I realize I’m bent and jaded in a lot of ways.. same as anybody.. same as you. In a world, where we’re always trying to protect our inner child, always building walls, and putting up barriers, learning of new ways to hide and deflect, it felt good to hear that somebody’s looking out for me in some way. I hope you know that I do the same for you. It felt good to feel trust, and to feel that maybe we have a purer connection, beyond our walls and our barriers.
But I’m not sending this to you directly. Why?
As a teenager, I used to have a lot of friends here, pouring their hearts out in their posts and their comments. But as we strive towards adulthood, we’ve hidden this part of ourselves. Many have deleted their blogs, many have made them private, many have just stopped, much like me. Maybe they found better friends and didn’t feel the need to vent. Maybe they’re too busy.
Or maybe they’re too afraid of being judged. In a world where everything is entertainment, it’s too sentimental.. it’s too filmy.. too serious.. too easy to make fun of. So I’m shielding myself with a cloak of anonymity here.
But I’m still posting this.. and I’ll send it to you, because feelings, the plethora of medleys that our emotions create, the endless ocean of feelings that we feel, that’s the most fun part of being human. So I’ll indulge while I still have time here 😉
Iss qadar kyun chahte hain tumhe koi ilm nahi humein
bass chahat ki har hadd kuch iss kadar paar kar jaeyin
dil se nahi rooh se kuch pukaar niklti hai yun
tumhe paakar bass tum mein khud hum simat jaayein
dil cheer kr dekh lo, kuch khabar nhi kyu aisa kuch ho rha hai
bass tumhare ikk chehre ko dekh kar mera yeh dil ro rha hai
kuch yun tumhe apne andar jazb kar paate gar mumkin hota
kuch haalaat alag hote yaa kuch hum insaan alag ho jayein
dil cheer kr dekh lo, tumhara naam likha hai har kone par,
bass ab thake baithe hain har kona iss dhabhe se harra kar jayein
humein kadar nhi unn sab ki jo hum par jaan lutaye baithe hain..
bass tum par aakar aisa kyu lagta hai k sabki jaan luta jayein
tumhari rooh ko chuh lein to shayad jannat ka rasta mile humein
tumhare rooh ko chuh lein to shayad jahanum ko alvida kar jayein..
ikk roz ye soch kr baithe the k aaj bhool jayeinge tumko
ikk roz ye soch kr baithe the k aaj bhool jayeinge tumko
fir socha kya maloom apni pehchaan ka tukda shikast kar jayein..
inn bahon ki bhookh to naa jaane kab se lekar baithe hain
inn bahon ki bhookh to naa jaane kab se lekar baithe hain
iss soch mein ab baithe hain k tere naam ko gumshuda kr jayein
teri jaan.. teri yaad k sadke.. ab iss hasti ko alvida kr jayein
Sometimes, writing is therapeutic, sometimes I write to calm myself, to see the truth, to not be lead astray…
Dil chodd de ye zidd inn dilkash lamho ki,
Inke Haq mukammal ho chuke zamaano ki baat hai
Inn aahton ki dhoop ki chahatein naa kar
Inmein jalke zinda rehna parwaano ki baat hai
And then sometimes, it just flows out of me.. like a stream I have no hopes of controlling, I can only wait for it to pass.. and hope that I can hold on, keep my feet on the ground and keep moving
Sab jod k ab chodd de, Iss waqt ka pahiya tod de
Dil dil ka chakkar chod de, Iss mod se ab muh mod le
Kuch dil k tukde baant de, Iss gum ka rasta chodd de
Gumm jaa hadd k galiyaaro se, Ab sharm ka ghunghat oddh le
Par maan le kaise baat ye, Iss dil ka dard prakop hai
Lad lein iss duniya se bhi ab, Iss zid ka koi naa tod hai
Ladna mushkil sa hai par ab, Uss nadaani si soch se
Uski baato ki nok se, Usske dil ki uss chot se
Anjaan bane baithe hain bass, Ikk darr se naata jod k
Hain choron ki hum basti mein, aur dil bhi humse chor hai
Lutt kar baithe hain kabse hum, ikk parde ka afsos hai
Inn bikhri tooti yaadon ka, kuch mol nhi unn nazro mein
Inn lamho aur tasweero ko anmol banaye baithe hain
Dil se ladne ka zor nhi, Kya haal banaye baithe hain
I had a horrible dream.. it was very sweet and enjoyable actually.. but it left me disturbed when I woke up, at the thought of my inner screwed up sense of love and relationship even if I’m outwardly very enlightened and intelligent about dealing with these matters now.. Anyway, I calmed myself by writing couplets and these are the choice couple out of half a dozen.. halfway decent I’d say 😛
Chahat ke bazaar mein roz ek nayi chahat se dil behlaate hain..
Mohobbat ke deewano ka yaha koi kaam nahi
Perhaps not self explanatory, cuz I had to actually explain it to the couple of people who read it.. here chah carries its literal meaning ‘want’. So what it’s trying to say is that the heart is a jitterbug.. chanchal you know.. it gets attracted to something new everyday.. it gets obsessed with something new everyday.. and it’s very selfish.. the heart wants what the heart wants.. and these wants change everyday as old attractions fade and new ones develop..
Mohobbat here refers to love, which is eternal, not limited to lovers, flowing in all directions, maybe more concentrated towards some people, but it’s not selfish.. it’s a positive feeling.. how can it be negative when there are no expectations.. there are expectations in relationships.. not in love.. it’s boundless..
Anyway.. here’s another one.. self explanatory
Shamaa ke bazaar mein parwaano ka sauda kar aye..
Iss khel ko yaaro hum uski chaukhat par khatm kar aye..
Boht laanat di dil k saudagro ne..
Hum dil k tukdo ka ikk aur taufa kubool kar aye
I just finished watching Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus. It’s an amazing piece of art by the way. One of the most beautiful and moving films I’ve ever seen. Anyway, I visited their FB page and there was a contest for free DVDs or something, and I just entered on a whim. In the form, there was a question, Is it still the same ship? Huh.. that got me thinking. So I just wanted to repost my response here, which came pouring out of my heart, through my fingers, some thoughts I didn’t even know existed. I just wanted to keep a record of this here.
From an outside perspective, for all intents and purposes, I’d argue that it’s still the same ship, because it’s playing the same role and the same part with respect to all the people that interact with it. We are not primarily defined by our own inner thoughts and ideas, but by our actions, our relationships, our gestures, our place in society and how we effect the world around us. It’s like batman said, it’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.
As far as the innermost self is concerned, it’s constantly changing. Each moment, each thought, each realization changes something inside of us that we can’t undo. We keep learning, we keep unlearning, and so we keep changing. Something that was so important to us moments ago, may no longer hold any value. So are we ever the same even if the body, the cells remain the same? Aren’t we reborn with new thoughts and ideas every second? Yet, we perceive our inner self to be the same.
You can choose to look at it any way you like, just as described so beautifully in the film, you don’t know where you end and where your environment begins.
P.S. You can watch the movie for free here: http://cineoo.com/sot/ Do watch it, it’s pretty brilliant.
Relationships can’t really be defined. Sure, we put labels on them, like friends, family, partner, lover, but there is no line that defines each of them separately. I mean is the difference between friends and lovers only sex? but don’t people have sex with strangers? Let’s just say they have different meanings for different people at different points of time. I always defined them as any form emotional connect between two people.
Maybe because of this simplistic interpretation, I’ve always been aloof about relationships. My rationale is pretty full proof too :P. I mean, we have not seen or experienced life without our parents, there is no version of reality where we existed without them. Still when we lose them, life doesn’t stop. We still go on, we learn to live without them. So we must be able to live without anybody. Sure, it might take us time to get over them, but no matter how important they were to us, no matter how dependent we were on them, life doesn’t stop and we learn to cope.
But what about those relationships that we lose along the way. The friends we haven’t called for years who were our other halves, the lovers we thought we couldn’t live without, the acquaintances we lost touch with. What makes these relationships different? Why is it that some relationships leave gashes of despair when they are broken, and some end without so much as a whimper. It’s not like they weren’t deep connections, it’s not like you weren’t dependent on those people, it’s not like you hadn’t shared secrets with them, or hadn’t spent countless hours contemplating the stupidest bullshit, and yet you don’t even feel their absence, you don’t feel that connection slipping from your heart.
So where does the difference lie? I don’t have the slightest idea.
I know it happens, I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it. And I do have a theory. I think it’s because of the fact that human beings are selfish assholes. I think the reason we don’t feel the loss of some relationships, is we don’t perceive the importance of the relationship based on the person, but on the role that relationship plays in our life right now.We need certain people to play certain roles in our life at different times, and we value them for that. But, as soon as that role is no longer important, the person loses importance as well.
Maybe that’s how relationships deteriorate. People change, and their needs change, and maybe you are just not needed anymore. Your emotional needs are more like baggage, and there is always a breaking point for how much someone’s willing to carry. Maybe that’s why some relationships sustain, when people change together, you know, “You have gaps, I have gaps, together, we fill gaps”. I think that’s why it’s a little easier later in your life, to cope with your parent’s death as well. You don’t have that strong a need for that role of a guardian and guide anymore.
Maybe.. but your guess is just as good as mine..
I used to mock this one friend, whose girl(friend) was kind of moody, got angry frequently, yelled a lot. And although admittedly she’s a fun person when she isn’t being all that, I always advised him.. dude is she worth it for you? Is the drama worth the good times?
These days, I feel I was being a complete idiot 😛
I mean relationships form themselves, you don’t really work actively to develop a relationship with somebody. Even if you do, if there isn’t some genuine feeling behind the action, you both know it. ‘Salesman’ class of people can fool you for some time, but some cracks start to emerge.. eventually. If a relationship is developing, even by conscious effort, beyond a certain point, it’s out of your control.. it’ll keep it’s own pace.. it’ll grow or not grow naturally.. you can’t force it beyond.
And when a relationship has formed, this is it. It’s a part of you now. There’s no fear or at least there shouldn’t be. You don’t fear your best friend’s gonna choose another friend and then he’s not gonna be a part of your life. Even if that happens, you don’t fear it, or at least you shouldn’t, because it’s out of your hands now, the relationship will charter it’s own course. It’s alive, actively affected by other’s thoughts and actions.
And why I feel like a fool for saying what I said? Because relationships aren’t business transactions, they’re not logical.. they’re random. You can choose to rip it out of your life,sure, but it’s gonna leave scars.. it’s gonna take a part of you with itself. You’ll feel the suffering of the relationship as it rots. And the relationship truly isn’t worth it when it’s being yanked on and pulled because of your actions, or the other person’s actions or the society’s actions. And you’re willing to suffer the pain of cutting a part of yourself because the pain of that thread slowly pulling apart is just too much to bear.
Maybe my opinion will change. Maybe I’ll realize that you can manage relationships logically without feeling you’re putting on an act. Maybe it’ll not feel so fake. Maybe.. it does come naturally to some people.. maybe sociopaths are the ones who really have it all figured out.
Kayi duniya ke maare mein
Kuch shayad kismet se bechaare hain
Sabko bhar bhar milta hai
Ismein koi jaat paat ka sawaal nahi
Kuch mann kho kar mol chukate hain
Kuch muft mein hi batorte jaate hain
Kuch khelon ki tadbeer sahi,
Kuch apni hi taqdeer sahi..
Tohfe mein sabko milte hain,
Duniya ki ikk reet sahi..
Kuch mantar phoonk chalate hain
Kuch zehr ka zor apnaate hain
Kuch doob jaate hain terne ki firaak mein
Kuch paniyo mein ghul jaate hain
Kuch ikk nayi si baat bhi bataate hain
Jaante hain k ise lauta nahi sakte kahin
Mita nahi sakte naa bhasm hote hain ye,
Haar gaye kayi gehraaiyaan dhoondte dhoondte,
jahan inhe abhi bhi poori tarah dabaa nahi sakte
Samet te hain pal.. bade shaunk se ye
Inn gehre kaale paniyo mein motiyo ki talaash karte hain..
Kuch hassne hasaane ki baat kiya karte hain shayad
Kehte hain, dukh apne liye rakh, Anand sabke liye