Silent Whispers

Chasing Illusionary Butterflies!

Succumb or Perish!

Posted by Mritunjay on November 20, 2013

Sometimes you find yourself trapped at that secluded space of life where you find yourself unable to reach to anyone. You silently hope for others to reach out to you as one does to one’s equal. But that remains a hope. Just that. You are stranded in that corner as a loner, by choice and by chance as well.

When the entire world finds you incapable of offering anything substantial, you tend to turn into a plague for them. The words of hope, empathy starts appearing like begging bowls of pity and consolation. You can’t see any semblance of respect in those eyes. All you see is an intense gesture of revulsion whispering blames at your door for being such a miserable sight. What could be more devastating than that? It’s not just survival of the fittest but acceptance of the fittest also. Your acceptance is subject to your actual and perceived ability to offer. This actually completes a self-prophesying cycle.

From the journey of being an innocent boy to a bitter teen to a confused and disillusioned adult, occasionally you forget to let go of those unspeakable grudges. May be its because of a disenchanted spirit collecting garbage from others’ emotional outpouring combining with a ego fuelled soul? Or may be because of instability of emotional senses who could never really mature from half complete teen development?! How about the inability to hold back your tongue which insists on speaking your mind and putting across the forthright convictions emanating from it?

In a world made fertile by conspiracy theories of unscrupulous minds, isolation is often the natural culmination of your reluctance to compromise and you have no choice but to deal with it and suffer because you made the choices. World never owed you a loving, especially when you have a reputation for being difficult. Succumb or perish! 

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Vague Memories

Posted by Mritunjay on November 14, 2013

Some of those memories seem so far away. .as if they had happened to another person in another life. . Not you. . Not in this life. . So that’s that? Is this really another life and me another person?  Or is it just hallucination pulling curtains over your cognitive dissonance? Is this a case of reality blinded by imagination or my thoughts seduced by aphrodisiacal fallacies?

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Lessons I’ve learned About Life

Posted by Mritunjay on January 12, 2012

The year 2012 has begun on a peaceful note. It is that time of the year when you are experiencing chilled winter weather, all cuddled up inside the blanket, munching on whatever fatty items you could lay your hands on. Winter is said to instigate mood blues but in my case it is more of reflections of times gone by, that has kept me staring into emptiness. I have been on this earth for nearly three decades and that’s a long long period. When you are in a city like Delhi, where there are buildings that measure their age by the millennia, it helps to put that brief blink of the eye into perspective. I have been around for long enough yet the pattern of my past signals me as if I have barely begun.

Talking about reflections, I guess I have managed to imbibe certain lessons. No, I am not bright enough to grab these lessons when they first appeared but it’s more like repeated demonstrations of a given law by life when you are finally forced to make it a part of your bloodstream. Call it lessons or discoveries about life, world and people; I am going to list some of them. You might have read them before or heard from some motivational speaker but well..I am talking about my own experiences.

  • Nobody, I repeat nobody has it all figured out. Don’t even bother to solve all the riddles life throws at you.

  • People come and go including some close ones. But old friends stay there. Trust me, there is no better balm than spending a good evening with an old friend over a cup of coffee or better, a bottle of beer.

  • There are always subtle signals left on the trail. The idea is to identify them.

  • Too easy to say. Said often. Yet I repeat, let go of expectations. Whether it’s from people, books, job, family, beloved, just let go or reduce it to minimum. There is no point putting your expectations in a predetermined box that has little to do with reality. Imagine, you setting up an idealized version of the thing (or person) and then try to fit the reality into this ideal? Tell me how is it going to work?

  • Some of the best things in life are free. Totally. Think of a good book, an old friend, a walk around the neighborhood park, a good hug, talking to any random kid, rain during the winter or even when you are all cuddled up under the quilt. All are free.

  • The worst sin one can do is to compare himself/herself to others. I am unique. You are unique. Nothing else matters.

  • When you are fed up of your life, pick a book.

  • We Indians are generally terrible at accepting compliments as compliments.

  • Make sure your mind remains broad and waist narrow. Not vice-versa.

  • Having no friends is a sure recipe of a disastrous life.

  • Pharma companies want to cure us and not prevent us from diseases. No wonder, ever welfare-oriented governments still allow junks foods to be sold at schools and hospitals.

  • “Gut feeling” is a reality, not just a euphemism.

  • Comfort is the most common addiction in the world. Not for nothing, Seth Godin and Edward De Bono keep talking about moving out of your comfort zone.

  • Stay clear of cribbers. S.T.A.Y C.L.E.A.R!

  • Unhappiness is the most contagious disease. You know what you have to do!

  • It’s futile changing other people. You can’t. I have accepted it with heavy heart and so have others when it comes to changing me.

  • World is a grand stage and I am the greatest story ever told, accompanied by several extras, Each one of them overflowing with a strong character.  

  • Someone else will always have more. Whether it’s money, friends, perks, sex appeal or blog visitors. Forget that.

  • The world does not owe me a loving. Period.

  • Beware of free advice. It’s worth what it costs.

  • Possessions are best example of human stupidity. Cost you everything and add no real value to your life, except for instant gratification and earning some brownie points among your colleagues and neighbors.

  • Develop strong hobbies. They are cathartic and purge you of all your pent-up suffocations.

  • Not all of us have goals. And yet, we can live perfectly happy without them.

  • When greed takes over, we stop being grateful for whatever we have. Going by all the available social parameters of basic necessities, education, human capital etc, I think I am in the top 20% of the world population. I couldn’t have asked for more.

  • Don’t worry about what people think. They hardly do it anyways!

  • Career and life are two different terms. Don’t confuse them with each other.

  • Your body never lies to you. Give it a patient hearing.

  • Get some perspective. If not, develop it. Things always appear different when you think of a certain situation by imagining yourself as a third person.

  • Never trust the elegantly suited stock market analysts on CNBC. Read their faces and you will know, these experts are no different than well-trained parrots programmed to repeat certain things during certain periods.

  • Question everything. All that our parents, education system, media, critics want us to conform to. There are always alternatives. All our information sources are influenced by some ulterior motives or others.

  • Don’t judge people. Each one of us has certain characteristics that will appeal to others and certain other traits that will make them abhor us. Pick the parts that you like and work around it. Ignore the rest.  

  • Stop wasting your life watching 100-crore Bollywood grosser, Big Boss, SplitVilla, Roadies and soap operas served on prime time. Instead, find your way around NGC & Animal Planet. World will be a better place with this smallest of sacrifices.

  • Do less. Trying to do more all the time sucks the juice out of your own life energy.

  • Women are complex characters are they are also from earth. Deal with it.

  • One lesson that is hard to accept but that’s the truth- Sometimes you have to remove certain people from your life, even if they’re family.

  • Nothing is ever a certainty. Things keep changing their characters.

  • Finally, Nothing is ever in black & white. Everything is grey.

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Art Vs Entertainment

Posted by Mritunjay on December 23, 2011

Dabangg- 100 Crore plus. Ready- 100 Crore plus. Bodyguard-100 Crore plus. Singham- 100 crore plus. Yeah, we all know that oft-repeated piece of statistics. But does it convey any specific message? Or gives us a clue into movie-goers’ psyche? Does that redefine the way Bollywood movies are being made or will be made?

Yes, it does and many more. Let me list them:-

1) It is raining hits in Bollywood courtesy supremely glorified Heroes with bulging biceps and pampered pectorals. We are actually celebrating the re-arrival of 1980s where impregnable male protagonists are knocking the stuffing out of all competition. These Alpha-males with raging fire in their belly have succeeded in making ‘action’ as the flavor of the season.

2) Despite all the rumblings about how new-age filmmakers are trying to cater to so-called ‘mature’ audience that expects products with a difference, the truth lies in the fact that Indian viewers still prefer ‘masala’ films. Forget all that noise about emerging niche segments (read multiplex generation). We, the people still want our dose of action, emotion, drama and melodrama. Call it a sense of identification that average movie-goer associates with the Bollywood he has grown up with or increasing ire against the current political system, but this trend is here to continue.

3) Once upon a time, we used to look at south-Indian action flicks with considerable reservations as it did not match our class but now Bollywood can shamelessly copy/remake one southern blockbuster after another and set the cash registers ringing.

4) To the average Hindi movie watcher, the notion of Hero can do no wrong and it is he who always wins no matters what the odds are, still holds true. Screw the concept of realism.

5) The more they change, the more they remain the same. Whosoever said that, give him a hug on my behalf. Evolution can go backwards for Darwin’s sake. And that explains why we still love stereotypes. Whether it is an illiterate hawker or a sophisticated MBA professional working in a MNC, he will love Bajirao Singham equally.

Now, my personal ramblings-

Some of these blockbusters are actually so bad that your wife as well as you yourself can’t understand how you can bear to watch them. That these movies are so dumb, they’re actually hysterical. And yet we love them. Why? A mere flight of fantasy or a trip to escapism? If yes, why? Because we are so much disgusted with current system and its propagators/politicos that we will whistle for anyone who can beat these bad guys to pulp? Remember the excitement you felt when Mr. Singham and his esteemed colleagues thrashed the corrupt neta in a locked room. We so wish we could be there and do the same.

Most of us are pseudo-intellectuals who cannot really go ga-ga over for instance, something like a ‘Dhobi Ghaat’ because it’s a slice of life film that doesn’t rely on special effects, reminds us of struggle of everyday life and because it does not boast of chest-thumping villain or a one-man army hero or an actress who keeps threatening us with her bursting bust. It is so hard for us to accept that life is simply grey and not black and white as an average masala movie would have us believe. To me, movies are a significant medium of art. But powers-that-be are simply offering us crap entertainment. This might lead to eternal debate of Art Vs Entertainment and I know, people these days are just not looking for art. They want entertainment and I have no issues with them. But do you seriously think, likes of BajiRao Singham, Chulbul Pandey or a Lovely Singh can be bracketed under ‘entertainment’? Are we that screwed up in our lives that we will accept any garbage that film-makers are offering us under the garb of entertainment? But then, I should not really blame such intense movie-watchers who are brought up on Santa-Banta & Khuswant Singh jokes in the name of humurous literature!

Salman Khan and Rohit Shetty have repeatedly said, we are offering what audience wants. Yes, they are right. They are right about we people being so moronic with a poor taste. They are selling what audiences are lapping up with glee and excitement. If people are so much hailing the anti-establishment hero in 80s mould, shouldn’t they go back to watching movies like, ‘Paap ko jalakar raakh kar doonga’, ‘Kasam paida karne waale ki’, ‘Data’, ‘Mar mitenge’, ‘Loha’, ‘Ilaaka’, ‘Khoon bhari maang’, ‘Hukumat’ etc? After all, we are living on the nostalgia factor!

David Cronenberg once said, “Entertainment wants to give you what you want. Art wants to give you what you don’t know you want”. A fellow blogger says, “Entertainment is terrified of losing you, and is willing to change itself to be more to your taste. Art doesn’t give a f*ck whether it loses you — if you’re lost, that’s your problem. Entertainment condescends to what it perceives as your level. Art assumes you’re at a high level and wants to take you higher — it accentuates.” That explains everything, doesn’t it?

I am sick and tired of the cliché that people love such movies or David Dhawan’s movies simply because they want to escape from the brutal reality faced by them in their daily lives. If this is true then world deserves to be a cruel and barbaric place. I am not sure how many people actually agree with me on these false notions and eulogizing of ‘masala capers’ because in the end, audiences will say ‘it was paisa-vasool’, silly actors and directors are getting lots of new offers, multiplexes are happy about increasing footfalls and producers are laughing all the way to the bank.

As one guy would say “The bottom line with Bollywood movies as with Hollywood movies is MONEY. Audiences want and expect a certain formula, music, dancing, romance, barely clad women gyrating and a hero. I think the typical movie viewer wants to escape for a couple hours from their own life and watch a fantasy world unravel before them. Bollywood is working with bigger budgets, sets and technology now so it’s becoming more sophisticated according to the audiences tastes.”

By the way Oscar Wilde once said, “Yes, the public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.”

I am ready to be stoned!

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Child Suicide

Posted by Mritunjay on November 15, 2011

Early morning. 7 AM to be precise. My phone rings loudly. I, instead of soaking the morning sunshine, wake up irritated. But few minutes on the phone and that intense irritation paved way to puzzled and a frightened state of mind. The caller was not known to me. He was a teenager calling from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. He sounded helpless and extremely anxious. He told me about his intention of attempting suicide if his conditions do not improve in coming few days. The kid also talked about distressed family environment which is partly because of domestic violence committed on his mother by her in-laws and mainly because of the exam stress and poor academic scores registered by the guy.

Distress calls from friends and acquaintances are not a new phenomenon for me but yeah, it was definitely shocking considering it was coming from a stranger who actually thought and believed that I could help him in such matters. The story goes like this. A year or two back, I had posted a press release on “Growing trend in Child and Student Suicides in India” with the purpose of promoting a particular website. I did it for a client while I was still working as a freelance writer. The article was simple, I posted and forgot it. The post also had my email id and phone number. That was that.

Few days later, I got an email from a kid. I will paste that message here:-

“Sir,
I know that we should not suicide but we are getting lots of pressure from our parents. Take an example of me, recently we had class 12th board paper and the result has also been declared. Usually i used to get marks between 40-50 in mathematics but today my luck is not with me i was failed in this subject. I have scored 17 out of 100. It was an unbelievable for me. I cried a lot and then i talk with my father and he didn’t scold me but my mother is not knowing about my result and i am very afraid that she will scold me. During that time i thought its better for me to suicide than showing my face to my mother. My father told me that he will console my mother but i know her very much. She will not let me come to my home. She will kill me if she came to know me that i am compartment. I failed in mathematics. I don’t know what to do. I just want to leave this world. I want to suicide. My mother has never understood me and i know that she will never forgive me and I don’t want that to happen. So I thought that its better for me to suicide. I am so sorry to my parents that I can’t contact them because I know that if they came to know that I am going to suicide. Sorry sir, but I can’t control myself. Good Byeeee sir.”

I was stunned. I immediately wrote a reply and tried to explain and convince him with the best of my abilities. There was no phone number given so I couldn’t reach out to him through any other way. He did not reply. I mailed 2-3 times after that. There was no reply. This happened almost a year back but this mail still haunts me. I still think about that guy and wonder what happened to him. This mail was followed by few other mails but those were mostly about data pertaining to children suicide in India or for some research reports or from NGOs.

And now this call. I am unable to get over his shivering voice screaming helplessness. I kick myself for not doing much because his parting note never felt assured or consoled. He was on the verge of crying. Though, he mentioned about calling me again but he hasn’t. I tried calling back on that landline number but the person picking phone says, it’s from a STD booth. From STD booth at 7’o clock in the morning??

Why have things come to such a pass? Something must be terribly wrong with our society when young kids decide to end their lives? Thinking of it, how many of these victims would actually be able to spell suicide correctly? According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), students’ suicides have witnessed exponential increase in last few years. The data for the year 2010 places the figure at 7379. It also means, on an average 20 students left this world every day. Who should we blame? Parents or our social system? How many parents actually try to read the distress signals that their children keep sending? The signals could be anxiety disorders, avoiding social gatherings, lack of confidence etc etc. Is it ok to expect our children to be the smartest kids in the neighborhood? Not to forget, we would also like them to be most intelligent, possessing highest IQs, excellent in extra-curricular activities along with studies of course! We keep changing the rules and establishing higher benchmarks and all of a sudden something snaps. Love, care remains there but understanding goes for a toss.

I know, blogging about children suicide in India is not going to make much difference. But not writing about it is also not going to make any difference either. Even I felt the pangs only when I was at the other end of a seemingly small incident. A writer once said that more than one soul dies in a suicide. Children are fragile and break easily. When will we learn this simple, plain truth?  I wonder, what sort of social order are we creating in one of the fastest growing economies of the world?

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Delhi International Art Festival 2011

Posted by Mritunjay on November 3, 2011

Dilliwallahs are in for an extended treat despite the culmination of the festive season. A fortnight long Fifth edition of Delhi International Art Festival (2011) commenced on 31st October wherein more than 2000 performers from 28 countries are going to exhilarate the mood of art lovers. I did not get a chance to attend earlier editions but after witnessing 3 days of consecutive performances, I can safely pronounce myself as a fool to have missed previous festivals. All forms of art including international bands, visual arts, plays, film screenings, dance and music programmes are on offer from countries as diverse as Egypt, Hungary, Spain, Colombia, France, Mexico etc apart from our very own India. Hard to visualize any art lover resisting this temptation.

More than 25 venues are scheduled for diverse performances. I was instantly hooked on when, Mawlawyiah Dervish – a dance troupe from Egypt gave us Whirling Dervish. Honestly, I did not understand a single word of what singer Amer El Tony sang but then, whoever said -music knows no barriers, stands corrected. One did not actually require understanding the Egyptian language. Audiences were enthralled with the circular dervish dance, whirling around singers. It was amazingly soothing. I managed to record to a small video though the quality the not very good.

Warsi brothers from Hyderabad had us rooted to our seats with their soulful Sufi renditions. It was for the first time, I was watching a live Qawwali show and I must say, I had a gala time.

For those curious about Warsi Brothers- “Warsi brothers is an Indian Qawwali musical group (traditionally known as qawwali party) comprising of brothers Aziz Ahmed Khan Warsi and Zaheer Ahmed Khan Warsi and eight accompanying artists. Based in Hyderabad, the group kept the qawwali tradition alive by accommodating multiple genres, especially those composed by Hyderabadi poets. They represent authentic form of qawwali”. – Source-enotes.com

Apart from that, there was “Ocean of Love” by South African group led by Veruskha Pather. Show was based on ragas and contemporary music along with African drums and other folk instruments. A beautiful blend of Russian ballet, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, and African folk dance.

To finish with, I must mention performance by Paté de Fuá, a Mexican band at Kamani Auditorium. The strength of the band is combination of different musical influences, which gives it a rather unique touch. The instrumental variety includes accordion, bandoneon, cavaquinho, banjo, cornet, alto horn, guitar, vibraphone, marimba, contrabass, drums and voice (I was not really familiar with some of these names). According to DIAF booklet, the band dabbles in genres, such as, Dixieland, traditional jazz, tango,pasodoble, bal-musette, etc.

DIAF does a wonderful balancing act of showcasing us established artists and simultaneously introducing us to young, unknown talents. Life doesn’t come easy for any of us but these cultural galas can satiate our search for faith, catharsis and some of the answers.

P.S- One can find detailed schedule of coming performances on diaf.in.

Apologies for the video quality but that’s as good as I could manage from my sitting position.

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My Yoga Voyage to Isha

Posted by Mritunjay on October 31, 2011

I am in a state of duality. I am not sure about which stories to tell, what to opine and what to ignore. All stories seem same except for my yoga sojourn. I am not too much into planning and plotting so it does not really surprise me to have decided on a stay in Yoga Ashram two months back. I was tired, exhausted, in extreme pain and frustrated. I was just going through worst year of my life and I needed an escape route desperately. Nothing was going my way and I had totally excluded myself from any sort of social connections. Additionally, my intrinsic nature prevents me from sharing my fragile feelings. So bottled up feelings coupled with crippling state of reality and terrible joints pain. Consequently I ran away to Isha Foundation, Coimbatore. My dear friend Rajiv’s blinding faith in the Ashram further boosted my decision.

Honestly, I had no inkling of what I was signing up for when I headed for my yoga voyage. I wanted to learn yoga, Asanas, meditation, pranayam and anything that could help me in subsiding my chronic pain. The idea was also to remain away from the cacophony of my surrounding. Thankfully, there was no internet, newspapers and endless mobile usage; in short I was forced to stay away from all of my addictions. I was enrolled for two programs, Hath Yoga & Bhav Spandan Program (BSP). My first brush with Isha Yoga was in 2009 when I had attended their Sambhavi Mahamudra (Inner Engineering) program. Though, it did seem beneficial but I could not continue it for more than two months. Purely my fault! Nevertheless, I was here to rectify my mistake and go a notch above.

I had expected to find clean air, picturesque location, solitude and a break from the tedium of daily life and I must say, I got all these and more. Hath yoga was 3 days’ workshop introducing us to Sun Salutation & various other yoga Asanas. I was pushed to the limits. Each and every body part was aching and yet I could not have felt more joy. Participating in each activity was compulsory and we were supposed to wake up by 4 in the morning. It definitely seemed tough initially when you are accustomed to sleeping by 2-3 in the night. In that sense, this program was unlike any common notion of a yoga holiday or retreat. But I was glad, programme was designed that way. My body that was practically inactive for last 3-4 years started to find its rhythm back. The pain was inevitably sweet.

The food offered in the ashram was enormously healthy, practically oil-free. Sharing your meal with more than 200 participants was a completely different experience. Most of the participants were from Tamil Nadu and the best part was interacting with them. There was language problem and not many were proficient in English and that made the entire communication even more interesting. It was fun using broken English, sign language, gestures, nod and what not, to convey the message. The Hath Yoga program was in Tamil and I was more like an outsider there but in hindsight, I could not have made a better choice. I received wonderful help there whenever I stumbled because of language barriers. People were genuine, warm and never shied away from offering help. In fact, I have a new found respect for Tamil natives.

The BSP program was a different concept altogether. It is about letting go of whatever baggages you are carrying. The structure of the program does not allow participants much to reveal but it is worth attending if you can.

I ended up spending close to one month in the Ashram. I found myself totally immersed in yoga, meditation; chanting and you don’t really feel like coming back. To my utter surprise, things that were integral part of my life like newspaper, internet and mobile, ceased to matter. They just did not matter. Things previously considered important were actually no more that important. Staying in a dormitory with tens & hundreds of other people was something I can never forget. Lights off at 10 P.M sharp and waking up at 4 o’ clock in the morning; it felt so so good. How can I forget about the meals? I doubt, I ever had a chance to eat healthier foods than what we were being offered at Isha Biksha Hall. It was delicious, sumptuous and completely sattvic food.

Isha Foundation is nestled in the foothills of the pristine Velliangiri Hills so in effect you not only get to receive best of the Ashram but also find an opportunity to soak the beauty of Mother Nature. It could not be more soothing. I cannot finish without mentioning the wonderful people I met at Isha. I had got a rare chance to make new friends and I did not miss a single opportunity. What more, many of them are in constant touch. Total bliss!

It was definitely one of the best thing my wayward spirit has ever done in life. I am feeling far better emotionally, physically and mentally. Throughout the month as I practiced, chanted, relaxed, breathed, meditated, worked and ate with thousand others, I was learning that all I needed to really learn and to do was simply be myself. My belief in the theory that if I could just allow myself to be, then everything else would follow perfectly, was further reinforced. It is really okay to be whoever you are. And as Henry David Thoreau would say, “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify, simplify!… Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose”.

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Living the Lie

Posted by Mritunjay on August 27, 2011

How do you know where the alphabets are? Perhaps you are aware of the story unfolding through your life but will it be relevant or worthwhile if you are still not sure about the words, sentences, language and most importantly, alphabets? A story of your life is more like a continuation of indelible fingerprints of your past. The past, that I thought I had left behind, buried in the earth, in my conscience but past always has this nasty habit of surprising you every now and then.

Clearly, I am ranting. Not even making sense. But do we really need to make sense all the time? Logic by interpretation can be as flawed or as perfect as you want to make of it. The problem with our lives is that, we tend to rely on another’s meanings of our individual lives. Call it fantasy or a figment of reality created by our own fantasies which just about manages to make our lives more livable by the sheer virtue of it being meaningless.

We are at crossroads. In an era of mix-n-match where reality and virtual, original and duplicate, truth and lies etc tend to overlap each other. Every new discovery highlighted in the science section of the newspaper is contradicted with a contrasting revelation next day in the same space. Then, are we really what we assume us to be or is it merely an extension of what we have portrayed ourselves to everyone around us? Think hard. Keep pondering. Let me know if you find an answer or did you just switch the mental channel? It’s hard to find answer when we know, we see what we want to see or what we are conditioned to see.

In the ongoing chaos, life that is, it is not really uncommon to run out of things to say to everyone. In the same vein, it does not take long to miss your inner voice and kindness that you usually used to offer all and sundry. When did the transformation take place? Was it intentional or nature’s way to cure us of our own imperfections and vile? Withering of virtues like love, integrity, trust, empathy etc in this season of discontent was natural progression of increasing restlessness. These virtues become mere words which you are no longer able to connect to. It is a futile attempt to disengage with the detachment that has slowly engulfed your existence. One can still feel the feelings or mull over emotions as he/she used to do few winters earlier but connection is lost now. If this is what has started to define you then what is actually you & what is me?

The crux of the problem is internal. No matter what you do on external, it can’t be fixed. Hatter does not offer any tricks here. Neither fighting your way to catharsis ala Tyler Durden will cure the restlessness and this constant buzzing of lump at your core. It’s painful when people, family no longer trust you but it’s simply unbearable when you don’t trust yourself any more. What more, you tend to dive deep in the abyss of withdrawal hastened by emotional disconnect. The cacophony of the world gives way to complete silence. Eerily quiet. You tend to feel even more scared. Even the Neo Andersons of the world cannot solve life’s rubric cube all the time. Yes, it’s mundane stuff but does knowing its mundane attribute stop us from having a two-sided conversation where there is only one person involved?

You know, we all feel guilty. Rather, we all are addicted to guilt for everything and anything. So what you want to do about it? There is no answer as far as I know even if you remove the whys and wherefores from the discussion. It’s almost like an onion where you peel one layer after another, you keep shedding tears and yet the unraveling of innermost layer will not be much different from the outermost one. Perhaps, we should apply different perspective by measuring relative worth and value of the layers. Oh!

Value system is a skewed thing. You were taught about it. Preached about its importance and yet you cannot find/develop a perfect value system. Instead, your values oriented conscience coerces you to make up for the flaws and unfairness of a million things in the world. Same loop of errors. We can always look at what is yours and what is that of others we were dealing with, but ‘what is mine’ will always draw a blank stare. A disaster awaits at every nook and corner when you are too much focused on value system.

With increasing age, it gets real tiresome to be in constant conflict with surroundings of the world. Imagine the trouble of moving along barbed wires on all sides while scraping your soul in search of peace and contentment! It’s no longer fun to ride this rage-enjoyment-obnoxious cycle. Most of our problems stem from the gap between ‘is’ and ‘could have been’. It is also the cornerstone of who and what we are. Not all of us want to be something or someone by reducing this gap between ‘is’ and ‘could have been’. And that’s especially true for creative people who usually tend to face the worst and feel the worst amidst the standard hegemony of mediocre souls.

I guess, ranting does liberate you a bit. Noting more than that. Ranting, raving and screaming for a greater cause, for an ideal goal, for a wonderful vision is actually a mirage. There is no goal. And world will not be affected even one bit whether you find your mission or not. It’s a sign of delusion to impose self-supremacy on your being. A far more feasible idea would be to try being a normal, ordinary and decent human being. The emotional cycle will keep running in the same fashion and yet life will remain unaffected. Let’s go back to circles. Let’s live the lie.

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Connecting the Dots

Posted by Mritunjay on August 11, 2011

Words are easy and comfortable. If they were not, Boyzone would not have found such stupendous acceptance with “words are all I have to take your heart away”. But in the quagmire of modern communication, words also regress to the lowest common denominator. Usage of words differs from person to person. If I talk specifically about myself, words serve as a tool to indicate my external needs. At one point in my life, I used to indulge in rambling ragas but now a day, I don’t feel like saying much and whenever I do, words never seem adequate.

Life seems much more comfortable when you are cocooned in your own bubble. This is no ordinary bubble. It’s a magical one hiding customized thoughts about things I have done, things that I want to do and things that have gone right and things that have gone wrong. Past eight months have witnessed a little bit of everything but mostly as afterthoughts. In the process, you do come up with plenty of revelations. But like everything, revelations cost you. It could be despair, darkness and brutality of factual and perceived reality. Talking about reality is one thing and accepting it is a completely different ballgame altogether. Like Alice swirling into a vortex, you too, also find it hard to see any light. You hope for the gravitational pull to work against the overwhelming despair you keep encountering but life does not offer you answers for each and every thing.

Life is a motion in perpetuity but not all of us have the will to attempt any sort of motion, all the time. Finding a path is probably easier in a Norman Vincent Peale’s book but what do you do when you are lost in a maze, unable to find the path- the existence of which you are aware of but you simply can’t find it?  Things get trickier when you recollect from your memories that a path was used to be there somewhere but is not visible to your eyes.

Most of us seek alignment in life. We like things to be in order. In place. Just a few days back, you have cleaned the top shelf of your drawer and this morning, you find a fine layer of grey dust on it. What now? Go through the same rigmarole? See, alignment was disturbed all over again. You start losing your urge. Inner mooring goes for a toss. You go through the process of rinse-repeat so many times that you are no longer aware of your own feelings about the entire process. What, how and why of the feelings get back to that swirling in the vortex stage.

You call yourself a weirdo or a reincarnation of your own dormant desires.  But it wouldn’t help either. Then comes the question, ‘What do you want to do with your life’. I am no Zig Zigler.  So I wouldn’t be able to answer that. Also because, such answers are conditional to your own expectations and the expectations of others, which doesn’t help either. I would have tried forcing a philosophical angle to that but for the fact that, it is an absurd ritual to find your own importance and place in life. You keep experiencing a new layer of your hidden persona, your buried perspectives and skewed value system every day until you become a permanent slave to the flaws and unfairness of a zillion things in the world. Perhaps, I am still learning about the mysterious ways of life however, learning seems much better in retrospect than in real time. Intent and outcomes need not work in sync. Connecting the dots of our life is more of a fantasy and that is what existence is all about.

Posted in Silent Expressions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Corrupt Indian Health Practices

Posted by Mritunjay on July 12, 2011

The news of corruption in India is perhaps as shocking as presence of Taliban and Al-Qaida in Pakistan. So when you come across corrupt medical practices and experience it yourself, it can only create a stir in your heart and nowhere else. I have always been somewhat aware of seamy side of commercial medical practice because of my personal background but never been a direct victim of it, until now.

The story goes like this- I had some problem in my lower back so I went to a reputed Orthopaedic specialist. Found him yawning while I entered into his chamber, witnessed his continued yawning while he pretended to hear me for 2-3 minutes and he was still yawning when I left his chamber. His profile says, he regularly visits some of the most prominent private medical institutions in Delhi. He did not ask me much about my medical history, nor checked me personally. All he did was to recommend complete MRI scans of lower spine, dorsal and cervical. Note that, I only had problem in lower spine but the Respected Doctor prescribed all the three parts with specific instruction to go to a particular diagnostic center of his choice.

Now that’s for you, are the modern doctors today. A profession which was/is associated with charity/generosity is being used by pseudo life-givers as a tool to earn unscrupulous amount of money. Whether it’s paediatricians peddling gratuitous medicines by playing on the fears of parents or surgeons insisting on large sum of money before they can commence operations during an emergency or gynecologists pushing for caesarean by scaring the minds of patients or simply writing prescriptions for irrational drugs, majority of doctors have stooped too low. Some doctors, as in my case, prescribe expensive and unnecessary tests for the kickbacks they receive from diagnostic centres or pharma companies. There is no dearth of such cases.

Corruption amongst Indian doctors is rampant. It is my personal experience to witness doctors collaborating with Sonography doctors who do the Doppler’s test and write phony reports about the foetus development. Report will mention things like, the child is upside down or cord is around the neck etc. Private hospitals can’t earn much from normal deliveries so they use all the tricks to make patients go for the caesarean. It does not end there. Several pathology labs (mostly in smaller cities) will take the blood samples, will throw it in the back alley and will submit a report of someone else to the patients. Imagine, these unfortunate patients are prescribed drugs on the basis of such reports. The health professionals who are considered closest to God’s presence on earth because of their life-saving credentials are shamelessly playing with emotionally distressed people.

It is hardly surprising that most of the people have lost faith in the moral and ethical values of doctors. A famous Neurosurgeon in Delhi recommends on an average 10 MRI scan every day and for that he gets to earn 40% commission on every recommendation. Who can we trust when the Supreme Court of India declares the governing council MCI (Medical Council of India) as “den of corruption”. Arrest of its chairperson Ketan Desai further proves that medical education is acknowledged to be a business investment and medical practice gives the returns. Love of money has replaced the basic foundation of modern medicine, i.e., philanthropy. Deception, bribery and conflict of interest have become the new troika that defines modern day health practices in India. Though, these elements are dangerous for any business but downright deadly in medicine. It’s a shame that healthcare has become a money-spinning game.

Every year, thousands of Indian physicians and surgeons visit exotic locations. These visits are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies in lieu of unnecessary prescription of drugs by the so called messiahs of the society. In the light of such revelations, no wonder, doctors hardly prescribe alternative medicines for their patients. Last known, nature never offers bribes. How could these doctors whom society places on a high pedestal look in the mirror afterward? Is it self-deception which allows them to live with the fact that they are being bought? Or they stop questioning these practices by terming this a routine practice in medical field?

What’s the solution? I can’t seem to find any. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), largest association of doctors in India, has never taken an initiative to the declining standards of morality in its members whereas the heads of the regulatory council of medical education, the Medical Council of India is embroiled in allegations of payoffs.

A doctor’s confession published in The Hindu- We, doctors, know for sure from our long years of grueling studies that most of the symptoms are self-limiting, most others are trivial and very few are serious. In the name of evidence-based medicine and defensive medicine, we order a battery of investigations even for trivial symptoms. The cut practice and cost recovery of hospital equipment play a prime role in decision-making. Unnecessary tests are a loathsome burden on patients and, at times, result in false positive results leading to unscientific treatment.

Another practicing Psychiatrist says, Corruption occurs in three forms- split-fee, pharma-company interference and performance of unnecessary tests and procedures. In my experience corruption is practiced by almost all doctors.” To finish with, it would be too harsh on my part to generalize these revelations. There must be a good many doctors who voluntarily choose to put the care and welfare of their patients as their first and foremost priority and concern however hard it may be in an increasingly difficult and competitive market economy but these doctors should be considered more as exceptions rather than rules! The regulatory bodies must take control of the deteriorating health practices in the country or else…

And by the way, I got MRI done only on the lower back and did not visit that orthopaedic specialist again.    

Image courtesy:-themanipaljournal.com

Posted in Random Opinions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
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