Breaking it down

We see what we want others to see in us. [Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash]

Somebody recently mailed me asking why don’t I write longish blog posts. It was a good question and like all good questions, it was filled with pain. None of my recent posts have breached the 5-minute read span. Strange as it may sound, my arrival to writing passed through the lanes of poetry. Tiny, shitty poems between the age of 13 and 14 — that’s how it all started. Some of them beyond embarrassing and some of them close to pretentious. I read poetry and I wrote poems. I was more interested in the lyrics of a movie song than its dialogues. As years passed by, I gradually warmed up to the idea of long form writing and before I could realize my interest in poetry was fading away, carving out more and more space for prose and novels. As of today, I am as attracted to memorable dialogues as Ayushmann Khurrana is to brilliant scripts. Yes, all words matter but some matter the most.

Which brings us to all the questions that remain unanswered. If you noticed, I didn’t answer the question posed in the above paragraph.

Q: What purpose do pigeons serve in this world other than shitting on us?
A: Yes, it’s true that pigeons don’t need fans to get their shit hit. It’s also true that they don’t care about anybody else. If you were dressed up to attend a job interview that you scored after weeks of penance, they would still shit on your starched shirt. Whether they build a temple or a mosque or a mosple someday, the pigeons of Ayodhya would defecate on both the structures. We are reading glossy figures of tourists visiting the tallest statue ever built by humans but nobody is willing to come forward with the number of droppings on it. That’s the way pigeons function. They give a shit even when they don’t give a shit. So, the union of pigeons have this to ask the questioners: What purpose do humans serve in this world other than shitting on every other creature?

Q: How to deal with envy without having to deal with people you are envious of?
A: Envy is a natural state of mind. Almost everybody, including non-human species, are prone to feel envious of others. It helps in the competitive market of nature (survival of the fittest) and idea (survival of the profittest). That said, it’s also a symptom of weakness. A secure person doesn’t have time to squander on others. However, at the same time, a wise person has all the time in the world to observe and learn and improve. So, net-net, envy can be a constructive force as well as a destructive choice. I am not highly ambitious and seldom feel envious of others except when I am in a washroom and some guy is peeing with both his hands away from his groin; either they are resting on the separators between two urinals or he is stretching them out above his head.

Q: Why are married folks so hypersensitive as far as marriage jokes are concerned?
A: Let me share a joke I wrote recently but don’t have the guts to post on Twitter, particularly after having to delete a joke on Jennifer Aniston’s nipples in FRIENDS. [Context: A rather funny take on how Hollywood should have recognized their consistent performance.]

“Why do you wear your wedding ring on the right hand?”
“I masturate with my left hand.”

As a spoiler alert, again, it’s a joke. Doesn’t mean anything besides the fact that it’s supposed to elicit laughs. It says nothing about our beloved social institution called marriage. It doesn’t omit the love shared by the spouses involved either. If anything, it makes you think and go “Hmmmm, huh-huh!” And that’s exactly the sound made by those who masturbate with their left hand.

Q: Where do you draw the line between greatness and the cloning of greatness?
A: Everybody wants to be great and everybody wants to win. Probably not Nelson Mandela level greatness but still great at something. Possibly not Anthony Joshua level winning but still winning something. This desire stays in us for a long, long while and quite a lot of the blame should fall on our misappropriation of others’ stories. Just because XYZ did it, we end up putting ourselves in the gallows to do the same. Thus, achievement becomes our final frontier. For instance, I keep thinking what would Magnus Carlsen would do in my position except when I am playing chess. Bad humour aside, you must have heard that speech wherein Steve Jobs beckons us to re-calibrate our professionalism by waking up tomorrow and look in the mirror and inquire: Are you excited about life in general? Are you looking forward to the day in particular? Are you going to do your job 100% justification? I don’t know whether these questions make sense because they came from a man who built an empire and led a very effective life. A majority of us don’t have the way — or the leeway — to replicate his journey. In my opinion, you should wake up tomorrow and stand naked in front of your mirror and ask yourself a slightly different question: Are you happy with the way your body has shaped up?

Q: Who is the right person to heal you when you’re completely broken?
A: You, who else? Mainly because the question came from you knowing very well where it’s going. Also, something, somewhere, is always broken. It’s only a matter of time before decline is in full force. However, after every descent, there is a rise. The trick is to be around when that happens.

Q: When did you hear the most beautiful piece of music?
A: If I am lucky, I hear it after reaching home from office. I take Ranga up to our terrace for his evening urinal break. There are several pots of plants there and he sprays on them if he feels like it. And when he does, you can hear the stream but you can’t see much — Ranga is black and so is the sky — and to me, that sound is the most beautiful piece of music. It’s a tiny moment of relief for him as well as me. Like I said, it doesn’t happen everyday and that’s why I value it a lot. He has territorial issues with unadopted street dogs in our colony and we are left with no option but to pray that he doesn’t low down on the rugs!