Thursday, October 25, 2007

What to be

To be, no, What to be, that my friend, is the question.

Life is a series of choices. I really don’t know whether there is a right and a wrong. If yes, then who decides what. To go left or to go right. The choices we make reflect our character. Sounds simple.

Here’s what. There is no right and wrong, there is a right and left. If you don’t go the right way, you are simply left, in a lurch. You are left wanting, regretting. We usually know what the right choices are. There is a little voice inside each and every one of us that tells us where to go. It’s just that, as we grow older, the voice gets fainter. I bet as a kid I always knew when I was about to do something terrible. I also think that that voice can be worked on, like that of a singer. A good singer can be trained to sing better, but a teacher, who isn’t quite ready, rather qualified enough, would just make the potential good singers voice crack.

Okay, it’s official. I have lost it!

Phew! Writing can be such a pressurizing job! So demanding! I rally cant think of anything substantial to write about, but I must keep typing!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Freedom at Midnight- A Review

Freedom at Midnight
Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, while the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom…”

However clichĂ© it may be, many a sleepless nights would have been the price I would have had to pay if I didn’t give this introduction to the book that induced a much needed flavor of emotion into this oft-repeated quote by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of a free India.

We have heard this story several times, read it in the yellow pages of our history books, through the trembling voices of our grandparents, or in the comfort of a reclining seat through the colourful interpretations in the movies of creative ‘geniuses’. At yet, a most striking picture was painted by the authors of this book, unlike anything I have seen before.

Most books that talk about the independence struggle in India focus on the facts, the fighters and the struggle itself. However, the timeline of this book dates to January 1947. Now most of us would think, “well, what’s the point, the exciting bit is over!”, however, the authors (and many significant others like Gandhi, Mountbatten, and the millions living in India who’s fate was being pondered upon!) would beg to differ!
It was intriguing to see that this part of the story, which our history books usually wrap up in a page or two, was going to be told in a whooping 600 pages! I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was possible and what was even more pleasant (and equally surprising) was that it was nothing like my history book! A story was being narrated and with the turning of every page, a new twist would unfold and even though you’ve heard the story before, you can feel the anxiety and tension in the air.

Each and every character is immaculately described and well researched. Kudos to the writers for giving such a detailed insight into the lives of leaders we usually raise to a pedestal but never really know why. Gandhiji appeared far more human and real through the words of Collins and Lapierre than an over hyped God-man that no one really gets in most other literature on him. The Mahatma’s portrayal is one most touching, giving much needed clarity on a man most misunderstood, at least in this day and age. ‘ A soft voiced archangel of non violence’ with a clairvoyance lacking in even the likes of Nehru and Patel and at the same time possessing the subtlest understanding of India, its villages, the Harijans. Not Philips, but Gandhi was a perfect amalgamation of sense and simplicity.
One of the most tense debates this book takes up in the fifth chapter was the question of the Partition of India. What with Gandhi on the one hand not yielding to the demand for partition commanding the British to ‘Leave India to God’ while hordes of Hindus and Muslims ambush each other and with Patel and Nehru on the other hand, pro Partition awaiting to embrace the ravaged nation, ready to mold it into India of their dreams. One could only wonder what would happen next! With the advantage of having history on our side, we could safely say that Gandhi’s instincts were right, a divided India was not the answer to the communal violence pervading the atmosphere. The madness did not end, we still bear witness to it, in the form of many a bomb blasts and innumerable border clashes. No other leader of our struggle had the foresight that Gandhiji possessed, but alas, one can drive to this conclusion only in retrospect for he could give no reason or rationale behind his decision, only instinct, which at the expense of thousands of lives, wasn’t good enough.
At one hand the book brilliantly depicts the heartbreak suffered by the British on losing their crowning glory “India” and the joy of millions of Indians on obtaining the freedom on the other. The book would be more aptly titled, “Lord Mountbatten was innocent and Jinnah was a sick old man!”. It was in a sense Mountbatten’s side of the story, which is not surprising as the author’s interactions with the last Viceroy were a major source of their research. He was supremely glorified, and the atrocities committed by the British found no mention in the pages of the book. Jinnah was portrayed as pure evil, hiding the forbidden truth about his terminal disease of TB, which could have changed the fate of India and the ‘moth-eaten’ Pakistan. In the saga of the birth of the Indian nation, with Mountbatten playing the lead hero under the spiritual guidance of M.K Gandhi, it is certain that according to this book, Jinnah played the role of the villain, par excellence.

After reading the book, a person who has never been to ‘the land of the snake charmers’, would probably never want to do so either, at least a person his right mind wouldn’t. Barbaric, uncivilized, petty-minded, violent mobs, superstitious, eccentric, these are the words one would associate with the common masses of India.

The most incredible chapter of the book is interestingly enough, the twelfth. India is finally free, and for the first time in sixty years, I actually felt the euphoria and jubilation that the end of an era of resistance can bring. When Nehru gave his speech, my heart filled with pride. And when Gandhi’s heart pained at the sight of his vivisected India, I felt that too. So much more significance is now attached with the name of my nation- India. It is much more than the third fastest growing economy, or the world’s second most populated country, with rich heritage and traditions, India signifies struggle till the very end, it shows the world a better way, that of non violence, India signifies a dream and man’s capability to fulfill it.

Lastly, a must read for every Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi for reasons of origin and a much needed revival of nationalism. A must not read for everyone else, for colonialism cannot be justified, and the myth of the ‘uncivilized east’ cannot be reiterated however nice Lord Mountbatten maybe or however many times Britain clandestinely pleads its innocence.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Power of the Pen



Any kind of interaction or communication between few informed persons and the masses through print or electronic media, can be termed as journalism.

This definition has withstood the test of time.

However, the definition of effective journalism has somehow undergone many distortions and corruptions.

In India, the need for newspapers was felt during the freedom struggle as few visionaries saw it as an effective instrument for invoking nationalism and an awakening among the masses. Thus, the very rationale behind journalism was, believe it or not, for educating us on the policies and programs of the government and their consequences.

At the time, the articles embodied the thoughts and opinions of highly educated, conscious and revered men of society, free from all external influences. These commentaries were also aimed at creating a strong opinion among the public. Hence, the editorial gave points and counterpoints on every issue and it was up to the reader to decide his own point of view. Therefore, the media played a dual role, of an informer and of a creator of sound public opinion.

This was then.

Today, the meaning of journalism has got lost and its role is ambiguous. The core element in this entire cycle have been cheated and let down.

Currently, the print media is thriving on advertisements and sponsorships. For instance, Times of India, the highest circulated news daily consists of 32 pages out of which 27% are covered with advertisements, besides having a separate supplement for commercials. As a consequence, news is compromised on due to lack of printing space.

The problem is not only the quantity but also the quality of news that is printed. Does knowing the length of some girl’s skirt, or the name of some celeb’s dog, making me any wiser? That’s the question that every writer, editor and reporter must ask himself, ‘what am I offering to the reader?’ The answer will help him decide whether what he writes is synonymous with the true sprit of journalism or not.

A compromise on content gives the reader half-baked and incomplete information. Many a times, stories of consequence are conveniently forgotten. They are either not mentioned or by some great miracle they are squeezed into one corner, which you and I occasionally notice.

A perfect example of this would be the Jessica Lall case. Was there even a mention of her between 1999 and 2004? I don’t think a child born in the year 2000 would have even heard of this case till now! Yes, now. The effective action being taken now is a faultless paradigm of the power of the media in social awakening. How many more Jessica’s would get justice, if only the press would report news that matters with regular follow ups that would help maintain a steady pressure on the state machinery.

An ideal journalist reports facts as they are, or his own opinions backed by supportive arguments. Ideally Newspapers too, must report events in an unbiased manner, without tampering with information, letting the reader make his own, informed decision. But this concept is far removed from reality today. News can be easily influenced. It is used for money making, cheap publicity or popularity. The elements of accuracy and objectivity have been lost.

The Electronic media has brought along with it a plethora of tribulations, making sensationalism the order of the day. The perfect example would be that of ‘sting operations’ which use invasion of privacy as a means of entertainment. Reporters have even started blackmailing media magnets starring in sting operations, giving an impetus to a new kind of evil.

Why cant the media shift its attention to where it is required? Like Narmada Bachao Andolan or a small village somewhere in Orissa, where voices rise in protest but are forced to die down due to lack of exposure. Will these people ever be noticed without a star coming to their aid?

Some newspapers and channels still give us hope. A Hindi newspaper from Jharkhand, Prabhat Khabar, is an exception to the present day rags that feed on celebrities. Dailies like, Indian Express, Hindu and Asian Age still maintain there high standards but still a lot needs to be done.
The time has come for journalism to redeem itself. Before covering a story, a journalist must ask himself the very purpose of his profession. If it is aimed at educating the readers, if it is an endeavor to create a better tomorrow for the people and the country, only then is the story worth reporting.

Barthesian Analysis


Barthes talks about the concept of ‘Myth Formation’. The media, and other such systems help in the formation of myths through constructed images. These images are so effective that they become embedded in our culture. His use of the word ‘myth’ strikes me as the most interesting as it deals with a concept that we may perceive as real but in fact it is consciously constructed to make us think that it is a reality, in short, it may be seen as a constructed reality. It makes us ask the question, ‘where are these images coming from? , ‘who decides what to show, how to show it and on what basis to show it.’ He also deals with the concept of meaning making. This process is never ending. Barthes goes beyond the level of the signifier, i.e., the object and the signified which is the immediate meaning that object holds. For instance, a ‘chair’ is the signifier that signifies an object to sit on, Barthes goes beyond the level of the signifier and claims that another level of meaning making now occurs, in this case, a chair may denote power or comfort. If we go deeper, it denotes politics-power play and even deeper, it may denote misuse of that power or the principles surrounding a person in power.
Slippage: When meaning moves due to a signifier calling on multiple signifieds. Also known as "skidding."
To understand these concepts better, lets take the example of a radio advertisement that was being played on the channel Radio Mirchi Frequency 98.3 as a part of the cricket world cup fever. It goes as follows:
“Aapne iss band ko suna hai (Silk route song is played)
Aapne iss band ko bhi suna hai (Colonial Brothers Song is played)
Par kya aapne iss band ko suna hai? (Hoohaa India Aaya India)
Team India wristband
Haathon mein pehno
Toh kaano mein gunjey
The winning formula
Iss world cup no.9 mein 83 ka josh”

Level 1: If we start analyzing the ad at the level of the ‘form’, we will say that, here is an audio ad, talking about cheering team India in the world cup.
Level 2: When we delve deeper, we can’t help but notice the voice of the man narrating the advertisement, since there are no visuals. The narrator has a deep and DETERMINED voice. Thus, even the style of narration has been made such that the listener is filled with a feeling of enthusiasm, excitement and it tells us, though this is a game, it must be taken very very seriously. It takes us back to the euphoria of the 1983 win and makes us want it, a kind of a false consciousness. Since the frequency is 98.3, the radio channel indirectly proclaims itself to be the voice of enthusiasm when it comes to the world cup, thus using the rhetoric to its advantage.
Level 3: The ad puts forth the idea of unity. By using the word ‘team’ even though the listeners are not directly going to be playing makes one feel as important as the players. Thus, the ad also uses the concept of democracy by making us feel responsible for the outcome of the matches. There is no discrimination on any basis. So, every Indian wearing the ‘team India wrist band’ and singing the song about Indian victory is supporting and has the power to determine the outcome of the world cup.
Myth Formation: The most striking part of this advertisement is that, it has been constructed to make the listener think that the power rests with the listener. It highlights this new representation of patriotism that is for the youth, which explains the use of a special song on the world cup. This kind of hype may have been constructed so as to deviate our attention from more significant issues of national importance. The biggest myth is that cheering can actually make India win. By making the listener feel responsible for the Indian teams performance, a myth that the patriotic Indian derives his self respect and national pride from it. So that if India loses, the people too feel defeated and if it wins, the players are treated like God-men.


Images of a broken home
Finding a cure, but the disease is unknown
Fighting voices in my head
I am and will be, forever alone

Thought I had forgotten
But clearly I haven’t
Like a bee, they sting me
Haunt me, those memories

Who can help me?
Who will rid me of this pain that wont let me go?
I thought I had forgotten,
But clearly I haven’t
And I see it every time I open the door

I had convinced myself that I had moved on
I had forgotten, forgiven, perhaps ignored or withdrawn
What’s the difference really?
The only feeling that remained was nothing
Numbness, those were happy times for me

But now they are back
Those ghosts of the past
They are around me and within me
They hate me or do they love me?
I don’t know, they just wont let go

Can anybody hear me?
That screaming from the depth of my soul
Or is it me and me alone?
Are the voices echoing in my head, as loud and clear as ever?
Or do you just want to wash your hands clean of it?

‘Enough!’, he tells me
Forget, forgive, give up, withdraw again
What’s the difference anyway?
Besides, it’s really easier this way
You fool, you were hurt for so long and you still feel the pain?
You really haven’t learnt the rules of this game

Become numb, it’s the only way you’ll
‘Live’, an overrated word that is,
Not something you’ll truly miss
The pain is a part of you now
It’ll never go away.
However hard you wish, you hope, you pray

So, make friends with it, don’t try to ignore it
And ask yourself everyday,
When did my life end?And when did I let pain take over.



October 2, 2007, was declared as the ‘International Day of Non-violence’ by the United Nations, in commemoration of Gandhiji.
Isn’t that a bit absurd? An International day of non-violence? What are we supposed to do…. not harm anybody for an entire day? Twenty-four hours? Gosh! Now that’s asking too much!
Mothers’ day, Fathers’ day and now even daughters’ day I can live with, but a Non-violence day? This time the UN has just gone a bit overboard.
On a more serious note, the point I am driving home is this, is this what ever exalted doctrines have been reduced to? A mere twenty-four hours of ‘non-violence’, ‘peace’, boring speeches in the Assemble hall of the United Nations? Somehow, I am sure Gandhi never intended it that way.
One cannot deny that debate and deliberation on world issues is essential before any action can be taken, but isn’t this enough that there are people being bombed, military and civilians all over the world. Instead of a day of non-violence, why not have a day of ‘conflict resolution’, where representatives of all countries find constructive, ‘peaceful’ solutions to the problems at hand. Make that a week of conflict resolution! Wouldn’t this be the best way of showing our love and respect for the Mahatma?

But the scholarly diplomats, and leaders of the developed and ‘not-so-developed’ countries of the world didn’t think of this. Or is it all just hogwash to keep the spotlight off more relevant issues, to avoid any active discussion in the public sphere?

Russia, France, Germany, China, Afghanistan and among others, of course Britain sponsored this day as that of non-violence.
What is alarming is, that Russia is the world's top supplier of weapons, a spot it has held since 2001, accounting for around 30% of worldwide weapons sales. Russia is the principal weapons supplier of China and India, and provides weapons to Iran, Algeria, Venezuella and other countries. With 350 nuclear heads stockpiled France is the world's third largest nuclear power. Most of us are aware of the severe human rights violations in China and Afghanistan.

India introduced the resolution in the UN assembly. A nuclear power, vying to strengthen its relations with the United States, the most irresponsible nuclear power there is.


Well, all we can hope for is that, every year on October 2, Russia wont be selling weapons, China and India wont be buying any, and maybe, after some million years, we could hope that nuclear weapons will be destroyed, that is, if they havent already destroyed us.

For those twenty-four hours every year atleast, let peace prevail.

Boy Meets Girl

Music brings hearts together. This is exactly what happened in the summer of 2004, during the practices for the Inter House Western music competition in Somerville School, Noida.

Aman Kapoor and Natasha Puri, guitarist and singer respectively, found each other in this musical situation. They had known each other as casual acquaintances much before the year in reference, through these very annual music competitions. However, this year would change everything.

In her tenth standard, board year, Natasha used to attend tuitions in the sector where Aman lived. A compulsive wanderer, Aman would be out of his house at around six every evening. And six, is what Natasha would wait for. This was the time when the first connection was made, atleast for Natasha, as the tall strapping lad, had no idea that she was beginning to develop feelings for him.

Parks, were their favourite hangouts at that point. “The first time we sat together in the M-Block park in sector-25, I remember I had waited for aman to come out of his house for nearly 15 minutes after my tuition got over. Wow! He was so amazing to talk to, not to mention he was the hottee of our school (wink wink)…I was so excited! I still can’t believe that after all that, I managed to score a 90% in my boards!”

Then finally, they met somewhere, which was neither school, nor a park. They went to watch the movie ‘Dhoom’. This was a landmark meeting between the two. While Natasha was confused whether it was meant to be a date or not (with much help from a certain guy friend), Aman was clear that it was just an outing with a friend. The kind of person she is, she couldn’t hold it in. she had to tell him how she felt! So she did. That too in a dramatic way. Modern technology, with the advantage of communicating without verbally communicating. Natasha sent Aman a message which said, “I don’t know whether this is appropriate or not but I like you.” The deed was done. The best part was that Aman was sitting right next to her! Yes! She sent the message while watching the movie! “Quite a wacko she is”, admits Aman (I am sure you do). “I was so nervous! But I knew I had to tell him..i have a very strong desire to express myself when it comes to these matters. Anyway, what followed was, well, relieving but also slightly disappointing. I guess as a response to my message, Aman offered me popcorn! I didn’t know what to do! Laugh or cry out of embarrassment!” recalls Natasha. Well, what followed was an awkward ending to what could have been a friendly outing.

After that evening, things became normal. The matter wasn’t discussed so the scene was quite peaceful. Natasha was happy. But the near future looked dim. Her heart was to be broken twice on the same day.

On September 18, the Inter House Music Competition was held. Her first solo, to which Aman strummed the guitar, was called, ‘To love you more’, a surprisingly apt title for the state of mind she was in. Alas, even though the emotion was there, the voice wasn’t ready. Out of the four girls competing, Natasha stood fourth. If you think that’s bad enough, the day wasn’t over. Hoping to find some solace in the company of the school’s Prince Charming, she met Aman in a park in sector 25 that evening. The forbidden topic was brought up again, by Natasha (Man! She is a wacko!). And thus happened the second heartbreak. “I don’t think I am ready for a relationship.” That’s what he said. “You don’t know what you are missing…” pat came the reply (read wacko).

That meeting was a landmark in their relationship for another reason. It was the first time Aman (now Amen) met Natasha’s (by that time Nutsy’s) mom. It was the first time Aman; an aspiring Armyman at that time, experienced an encounter. Perhaps that’s why he changed his mind and got ready for the relationship..who knows.
Well, seasons changed, Aman grew taller, Nutsy grew…, well, Nutsy grew, till they could grow no more! The rest as they say, is history. Or in this case, Chemistry ;-)

(For a part II click here: An Ode to Ordinary Love)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Legend of Jatropha

The Legend of Jatropha

No, Jatropha is not an illustrious King, nor is it a war hero. Jatropha, is a weed. He grows on almost barren land and requires very little water and hardly any fertilizers. For many years, Jatropha was a pain for the farmers, an unwanted wild plant that would grow alongside their precious crops. Its awful smell and taste repel grazing animals, but alas, little jatropha’s secret was finally out. Its seeds could be crushed to produce biodiesel!
In the seeds of that wild plant, lies the answer to a momentous question of a periled generation of humans. This, is the magic of renewable sources of energy.

Originated in Central America, the jatropha plant is believed to have been spread around the world by Portuguese explorers. Its potential to be used for fuel needs, especially in developing countries is very high. It is advantageous at many fronts. The very nature of the plant is such, that it can be produced on infertile land, as a result of which, fertile land as an important and limited resource needn’t be compromised on. While other biodiesel alternatives like palm oil, corn and sugarcane require productive land, additional irrigational facilities and expensive fertilizers thus, impinging on fertile agricultural land, jatropha can grow on waste land, with minimum irrigation and nutrient-rich seed cake, left after the seeds are crushed, as a fertilizer. It can even grow alongside food crops without hampering their growth; in fact it can serve as a repellant to keep the animals away due to its smell. A country’s foremost worry is its food security, especially with regard to the third world. Since this plant does not encroach on agricultural land, food crops do not suffer indicating a better utilization of land resource. Environmentalists hail this new discovery since the plant prevents soil erosion and does not even demand felling of forestlands, at the same time provides an effective solution to fuel crisis hovering over our heads.

Underemployment and poverty, the two major problems faced by developing countries find an answer in the seeds of the jatropha plant. Like tea, jatropha too is labour intensive. Its production, distribution and various other stages require the setting up of estates, at least if it is to be made commercially viable. If a bottom-up effort is worked at, it can tackle the problem of poverty by making it an agricultural practice by the farmers. In Mali, Africa, one of the poorest nations on earth, a number of small-scale projects aimed at solving local problems — the lack of electricity and rural poverty — are blossoming across the country to use the existing supply of jatropha to fuel specially modified generators in villages far off the electrical grid. Thus, this tiny seed can empower a tiny village in some remote part of India to produce their own electricity or even run their tractors. The blessed plant can even be grown in the merciless terrain of Rajasthan.
With a little clairvoyance, we all can predict that in the near future, ‘fuel’ will be the buzzword. With a limited supply of fossil fuel, it is essential that nations are ‘independent’ in their energy production. In the long run, by producing large yields of jatropha, countries could cut down on their fuel imports, and maybe gradually start exporting biofuel.

Most experiments with the use and growth of this plant have proven to be successful. A company based in Singapore has announced plans to plant two million hectares, about 4.9 million acres of jatropha in the Philippines. In September this year, a vehicle fuelled with oil from the jatropha plant traveled from Atambua in West Timor to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, a 32,00 km trip. Jakarta plans to make at least five million hectares (12 million acres) of former forestland available for palm oil, jatropha, sugarcane and cassava plantations in a bid to create jobs for up to three million people. The government hopes that biofuels will supply 10 per cent of Indonesia's transport and electricity fuel needs by 2010.
However, it seems that the jetropha carcus has no takers in India. The big shot corporations show an absence of foresightedness by ignoring the demands and needs for effective investment in renewable and environment friendly sources of energy like the jetropha. It would not be incorrect to say that most, hold huge stakes, rather have their hands dipped in ‘oil’ at the moment.
Even if jatropha proves a success in Mali, it is still not without risks. If farmers decide that the cultivation of these plants is more rewarding and viable than food crops, it could have an adverse impact on the country’s food production.
In light of such undesirable effects of biofuel, the UN report states that, “the benefits to farmers are not assured, and may come with increased costs.”
One thing is for sure, in a world where the control over limited energy source might be the raison d'ĂȘtre for the third world war, the jetropha seed, will be hailed as a messiah of peace.

Forging thoughts

12.23 a.m.

Forging thoughts

If you knew me, you would know that I often ask myself whether there is any such thing as an ‘independent thought.’ Sure, I mean, we all have our own minds but is their really any thing like ‘originality’. Every thought is inspired from someone else’s thought isn’t it? Am I really capable of making a sound ‘independent’ decision?

I really doubt it. Only very few people are gifted with this ability. Few because they know so much that they can take everything into account and then take a sound, unbiased decision. That’s it. To make an informed choice we must be well aware of all the perspectives, the perspectives behind the perspectives and those behind those perspectives. My pet dog just sighed; I bet he’s glad he isn’t human.

Talk about responsibility.

God is a funny guy. Or girl. But I personally think some seven year old boy, wearing a baseball cap with braces on his teeth and huge black rimmed spectacles holding a half eaten chocolate bar in his hand, is running the world. He was tired of playing videogames, I mean since he won every single time because he had obviously created the damn thing, he decided to throw these little people down on earth, added a layer of oxygen, another one of carbon dioxide and some other gases, and he discovered he’s allergic to all of this and his eyes started watering as a result of which seventy percent of the earth was covered in water. He didn’t know what to do with the overflow so he decided, ‘Eh, what the heck, let’s try freezing it at the top and the bottom of the ball.’ And Voila! The poles were created. Since he’s a boy, he decided that it all must start with a Big Bang, because, well, that’s entertaining.
And so he dropped us here, curiously waiting to see what we would do next. Amusement he wanted, and amusement he got. We were a laugh riot! What he found most amusing was how we fought to ‘rule the world’! But he enjoyed the wars, he really did. He’s a boy after all. And when everyone was happy, and it all got really mushy, he changed the channel, switched to the next planet where everyone was killing each other.

When he got bored, he added another catch in the system, like creating a hole in the ozone layer, and dropping people like Bush in the United States area.

Aaah. But there is something else we must know. God is actually that kids mom. By letting him run the galaxy, she’s just trying to teach him ‘what all not to do when I hand you the world the next time around’.

After all, God needs practical schooling.

An attempt to write

11.30 p.m.

An attempt to write

Writer’s blocks are tricky things. You don’t know when you’ll have one, or how long it will last, or whether you even have one while you are having it or not.
I have been struggling to put an end to this block since some six months. First I tried to read more, hoping something would inspire me to write. When I was inspired, my English gave way. So then I decided I must work on my language, read more, learn more. Then I read somewhere that a writer must write everyday, so that’s what I am doing now. Writing everyday. On Anything.
It’s amazing how we derive everything from our work. How we feel about ourselves, how we feel about what we have achieved in life, what we consider good and what we could live without, all our definitions are dependent on two things, what we love to do, and how other people look at it. Rather, how people who matter to us see our work. This is when a writer’s block can be a writer’s death. It’s grueling when you are not able to do something you absolutely love to do, and when someone else, anyone else is able to do it better than you. When you derive your self worth from your work, you are at an advantage because, well, it’s better than deriving one’s worth from an individual which is hundred percent risky and unreliable, and you are also at a disadvantage because your work too is fluid. It might ditch you at the very last moment.

On the road toward the end to my writer’s block, I discovered many things, about myself, about people, phenomena and all those things I researched so as to be able to write about them. Most inspired me. And yet they couldn’t get a good article out of me. Why I do not know. I just could not do justice to them. Those people, people like Mahatma Gandhi. I read so much about him. Whatever I read completely changed my opinion about him, although I must admit my earlier thoughts on him were mostly uninformed and childish. How was I to tell the world in archaic, flowery language that the man was simply a genius! Though popular opinion today on Gandhiji is extremely unsure and skewed, but we must admit, there are no two ways about it, when Tagore called him a Mahatma, he was not kidding. Gandhiji was a Great Soul indeed. His clairvoyance was extraordinary, beyond what you and I are capable of, at least in this lifetime. We want to live a king size life, comfortable for us, or more so, for our family. Some of us with a slightly bigger heart and a slightly larger vision want to work for our communities, or our nation. Gandhiji might be at the fore of our national freedom struggle but let me a sure you, his vision was far more holistic than any of us can imagine. His message of love and non-violence was truly universal. He reached out and touched the most basic instinct in all of us. The innate ability to love. It couldn’t be taught, only realized. I wouldn’t be wrong if I said Gandhiji came to us in the form of our conscience. Not only awakening the Indians to the power and force of the truth but more so reiterating to the world that violence is all that is unnatural, evil and it must be stopped, not by violence, but with a weapon long forgotten, love. It’s funny how we all understand the same stuff when J.K. Rowling says it in her Harry Potter books, which are strangely fictional. That is exactly what Gandhi fought to make us realize, these values and ideals do sound strange and impossible to live by, but there was a man, who lived them till he breathed his last. That puny old man defined a different kind of courage, much like Harry Potter does today, the courage to fight without arms, to love with an open heart and to hate no one. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. Gandhiji signified change. He signified a better, saner existence. The funny part is, we all realize he was right, we all appreciate what he did for us, but none of us have the courage to be Gandhi, to walk the path he paved for us. He was right, he still is right, and we all hope that one day we live to see Gandhi’s ideal world, without making much effort in creating it.

In a sense, most of us want to be saved.

Life is a just a series of choices.
Wait for a miracle or Be the miracle?
You choose.