The Twisted World of Accountable Freedom

Over the last weekend we had some close friends from out of town staying with us. As a family we’ve always been bordering on addiction to gregariousness. Conversations from the utterly inane to the intensely intellectual find easy acceptance in our friend circles. So during the near-ritualistic quaffing of a delicious Speyside single malt whiskey our talk veered towards impossible dreams.

While most impossible dreams featured private islands, limitless books and single malts and even socialistic endeavours, mine was one of ‘absolute freedom’. For the longest time I have been convinced that human beings have deceived themselves about the concept of freedom. Freedom as we define it comes with a plethora of terms and conditions. I like to call it ‘accountable freedom’. Accountable freedom begins at a very early age through social conditioning; and by the time we’re adults it is a way of life for most. Those who read between the lines and express their desire for absolute freedom get branded as rebels or misfits or even freaks.

Brain Cage

Think about it for 60 introspecting seconds. When was the last time you did or thought something for which you were not accountable to anyone, including your own conscience (which more often than not is a well programmed, socially conditioned machine)? The Government, school teachers, college professors, office colleagues, parents, relatives, friends, spouse(s) and even your beautiful children…everyone expects you to be accountable. You relent, partake and in fact advocate the system of accountable freedom.

While absolute freedom is an impossible dream for most, there are ways to get close to that ideal Neverland. For starters, make peace with your past. Try to actively face everything you fear or abhor, with a view to gain resolution or closure. Recall how Po faces his ultimate moment of truth and finds inner peace while encountering Shen, the peacock, in DreamWorks’ 2011 animated feature Kung Fu Panda 2.

Problem of Choice

In a world dominated by emotional, preconceived notions over a logic-based approach, external absolute freedom is a myth. But your internal journey can craft its own destiny. A path less travelled that shapes your willpower, and puts you on the road to absolute freedom. As a wise person once said, “You don’t make your choices. Your choices make you.”

Soulmate Spotlight

The sound of someone’s inimitable laughter. A feeling of intense bonding. Experiencing your thoughts, emotions and sometimes even actions emerge from another body. Feeling a warm tear slowly escape your lachrymal glands, as you get overwhelmed by pain or fear. The number of ways you can be attached to your soulmates is nearly endless.

A while ago I’d written a post about friendship titled ‘*Terms & Conditions Don’t Apply’. I got a lot of emotional calls, messages and even in-person hugs from many who understood exactly what I meant in my post. During some of my conversations with friends we happened to discuss intensely about soulmates. I’m deliberately using the plural form here because I honestly believe it is almost impossible to have a single one.

Soulmate Quote

Soulmates are like a mirror image of you. Imagine walking out of your body and observing yourself for a whole day or month from a third person’s perspective. Your best friends may or may not be your soulmates. Your spouse/partner may not necessarily be your soulmate. But your soulmates are definitely the best friends you’ll ever possess. It’s hard to distinguish but give it a calm thought and maybe you’ll figure it out.

All of us come across a sea of people every day but it’s hard to spot a soulmate. More often than not it’s purely intuition based…a bit like falling in love…you can’t plan it. Often people confuse soulmates being romantically involved, which is plain ludicrous. Your soulmates could be men, women, transgenders or from another species altogether.

So, go out into the big bad world full of positivity and have faith. Sooner or later you will bump into your soulmates. They may be people you’ve known all your life or someone you met fleetingly. And once you’re sure, don’t let go.

The Unsaid Words

For the first time yesterday, I saw her eyes. And they spoke. A lot.

I’d been observing her mannerisms, for quite a while. Since we shared a 4-seater cubicle we used to greet each other cordially. But that was it. None of us had made a move beyond ‘Hello’. It was almost as if both knew that any further words would lead to the unimaginable. No, not attraction. Pure, unadulterated pain taking shelter in those unsaid words. Neither had the courage to face that intense pain.

The only time that we had coffee together was as part of a larger group, working on the same assignment. As fate had it I was seated opposite her. But she shielded both eye contact and conversation with the help of sunglasses and a book. I didn’t take that nicely.

Over the course of the last year, I observed her and made critical judgements in my own mind. Criticising her for things she’d not said, things she’d not done and things she’d not thought. All the while, conveniently forgetting that I was equally to blame. She had become the central object of my mean disposition; and I, her subject of torture. Or so I thought.

As time consumed our better emotions, I took to extreme bitterness. She, to outright reclusiveness. Still we’d give each other the occasional glance, when the other was not looking. It had become an unhealthy commitment without being committed.

I thought it’s best to move ahead with death. Because moving ahead with life was something I’d tried and failed at. Miserably, if I may add. Starting with a peg a day, I soon vanquished a full bottle in two days. Such was my dedication towards self-destruction that one day I sat for an office meeting in an inebriated state. When my boss tried reasoning with me, I invited him to drink with me.

Then, almost surreally, time stood still. It was a Monday morning. I came to office, a little less drunk from the earlier night. Bloodshot eyes but walking and reacting perfectly. By now, most people in office used to avoid me. And the only reason I was still employed was because I was making the company richer. I walked into my cubicle and saw her sitting. Almost as a knee-jerk reaction I was about to turn away (I had no idea where I was going to go) when she turned in her chair and looked right into my eyes. And there it was…the very pain we both feared. But she had mustered up the courage to face it. I? I was still grappling with my own miserable existence called a life.

For the first time yesterday, I saw her eyes. And they spoke. A lot.

Ajeeb Raahein

Jeevan ke safar mein kuch raahein aisi dekhi hai

Kahi mehsoos hui mann mein kashmakash

Aur kinara choomne se katraaye hum

Kahi hawaaon mein thi ajeeb si tanhaayee

Phir bhi apne rooh ki pukaar sun na paaye hum

Jeevan ke safar mein kuch raahein aisi dekhi hai

 

Jab takraaye hum tumse inhi raahon mein

Waqt kho baithe tumhari masoom nigahon mein

Kiya na pyaar ka izhaar, na door rehne se inkaar

Phir bhi qaid mein the tumhare saare jazbaat

 

Din badal gaye saalon mein

Hoton se ek labs bhi na nikla

Shaayad darr tha tumhe khone ka

Shaayad aham ki jeet aur pyaar ki haar

 

Bichadne ka samay aa raha tha

Haath badhaane ka lamha kho gaya

Aisi thi dastaan humaari ankahee ki

Zindagi ke panno mein ek kahaani si

 

Jeevan ke safar mein kuch raahein aisi dekhi hai

Kahi mehsoos hui mann mein kashmakash

Aur kinara choomne se katraaye hum

Kahi hawaaon mein thi ajeeb si tanhaayee

Phir bhi apne rooh ki pukaar sun na paaye hum

Jeevan ke safar mein kuch raahein aisi dekhi hai

Super Short Story 6

The final goodbye

The final goodbye

The Beauty of Abandonment

Lackadaisical Loser:

Terrific piece on being abandoned. Worth a read.

Originally posted on Aware of Awareness:

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I spoke with my father today, for perhaps four and a half minutes. After a bit of courteous small talk that revolved around the weather and summer plans, he rushed to get off the phone.  I’m not sure why.  I didn’t ask.  Perhaps he had company, an appointment or something pressing on his mind.  He might have been in physical pain.  As a survivor of a traumatic accident, my father has multiple health challenges.  Walking is profoundly difficult. Even sitting isn’t easy for him.

I’m not sure what reason he had for getting off the phone so quickly, but I can’t say I was surprised.  Our last call – about six months ago – was similarly brief.  I felt so many things in those four and a half minutes. Concern about his health. Happiness at hearing the warm, deep tones of his southern drawl.  Guilt over waiting so long to call…

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Movie Review: The Amazing Spiderman 2

I went to see The Amazing Spiderman 2 at PVR last evening. Here’s what I thought about the movie.

Story: Pretty well told from Peter Parker’s perspective. His past demons haunt him and his discovery about his parents’ past is narrated in an unexpected manner. The emergence of the villains is pretty disappointing. It’s a tad too simplified. However, the intense adulation turning into pure rage is captured well.

Screenplay and Cinematography: Completely written for a 3D viewing experience. I watched the movie in 2D because I personally don’t fancy 3D that much. But lovers of 3D will surely gasp a couple of times. The shots that stand out are the slow-mo ones and the musical grid one. Just brilliant!

The Amazing Spiderman 2 - Spiderman vs Electro

The Amazing Spiderman 2 – Spiderman vs Electro

Acting: I think this is the biggest plus of the movie. Both Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) and Electro (Jamie Foxx) put in spirited performances. Be it Peter Parker’s tough yet vulnerable avatar or Max Dillon’s obsession for his idol, both are a joy to watch. Though I must admit, Jamie’ role is author backed and hence he brings more life to his character. The juxtaposition between being a complete nobody with a need for social acceptance and being a rage monster is well captured.

Direction: To be fair, this is not much of a director’s movie. But some scenes like Spiderman’s first interaction with Electro, Max’s own delusions, the clock tower scene are well captured from a direction viewpoint.

The Amazing Spiderman 2 - Plutonium

The Amazing Spiderman 2 – Plutonium

Editing: This is the biggest goof up in the film. Disproportionate editing. There’s too much happening in too short a while, specially in the second half. Either they should’ve extended the movie by 20 min. or hastened up the first part of the film (which for the record is better than the latter half, even though it lacks the most critical fight scenes).

Overall: I’d say do give this movie a watch. Expect to see some good 3D effects, cinematography and some solid acting from Jamie Foxx.