As I kid I was hugely fascinated by the way the blinds at my father’s office spliced up the view outside into horizontal pieces. How with each tweak of the lever slivers of the outside got thinner and thinner until they were completely swallowed up by the blinds.

The blinds to me seemed a very fine way of shredding reality to bits. Especially that which didn’t appeal to me. In pulling the blinds I got to edit reality. Play god in a cameo role.

I also liked the word. BLINDS. The plural singularity of it. Blind, up until then only meant pitiable folk whom god or tragedy had deprived of vision. Nowhere did the word suggest a way of cutting up vision.

Whenever I went to my father’s office I’d sit by the window, grab the lever and begin my game of cutting and joining back bits of the outside. It was something my ordinary window at home could never do. God, I imagined, too must sit behind similar blinds, permanently obscured from us humans but privy to—whenever it suited him—our sorry state of affairs.
The young elephant who breaks away from the herd makes a choice. It’s a choice that is quite like a second birth. Because it has all the drama, the sweat, the pain and the thrill of being born. From where he is, the lush green jungle holds the promise of unlimited food and freedom. It holds the promise of a LIFE.

Free from the rules of the herd.

The vast verdant expanse calls out to the young elephant. Come out and enjoy the abundance we have to offer. You can’t see it from behind the trunks and legs of your elders. Their safety is like a prison grill. Don’t remain caught in it. Instead, come and play with us. We will give you freedom. And life.

But this freedom also means bouts of terrifying loneliness, attacks from wily predators, hunters’ traps and capricious forces of nature.

In the end what the young elephant makes of his second birth is entirely up to him. If he gets scared and rushes back to safety of his herd, he will live to a ripe old age, like millions of other elephants before him.

But if he persists, soldiers on on the path of freedom, then he becomes something else. Not quite an elephant. Not quite the opposite of an elephant.

But life itself.
There’s this guy who hangs around near where I live. What strikes you most about him is his height. He is no giant but he’s TALL, the way presidential ADCs are supposed to be. This man’s mostly known as a pronoun since he decided to make Atlantic Plaza (a shopping complex) his home. If he has a name, no one knows it.

Another thing about HIM is that he wears his entire wardrobe, all at once. Not that he has a lot but whatever he has by way of clothes he has it on. It seems a bit inhuman when you see him packed in layers of clothing (sometimes cap and socks too) when the Mercury outside is high enough to melt wax candles. I’ve been told that he used to be a driver. Driving people, well-heeled I presume, from one place to another, for a comfortable salary. You can see it in the way he walks and the places he chooses to sit down. He has this awareness of not becoming a traffic obstruction. Not coming in the way of things. I’ve also been told that he speaks well. Whenever he speaks. That too being a ‘fruit’ of his one-time gainful employment.

For his appearance and disposition he is pretty much left to his devices, especially by children and dogs: two breeds who can be particularly cruel to people like him. Even the adults don’t seem to mind him. Women don’t see a rapist lurking inside him. Men don’t see him as a car-lifter. Shopkeepers don’t keep an eye on him. Cops don’t ask him questions.

An abundance of goodwill seems to follow him wherever he goes. But he’s mostly oblivious to the effect he has on people. He’s lost to quotidian concerns and the appraisals of humans beings, and dogs. He eats what’s given to him. He sleeps on park benches and does nothing of immediate consequence.

His gaze is fixed somewhere at the vague eternity of the horizon. What is he thinking? What is he feeling? Why do people like him? Why doesn’t anyone think him mad?
Dreams have got the biggest image makeover in the past hundred years or so. The moving image is by far the most important GIFT of the 20th century. It has thrown open so, so many windows and doors of perception that it’s seriously mind-boggling. Watching moving images on a screen is like dreaming with your eyes open. The advent of cinema and TV hugely helped REALISE our dreams. They sort of helped us hang our dreams in a gallery of swift recall. Something that dreams by themselves could never be, at least for most people. With the coming of the moving image, that exception became the rule, largely speaking.

And now mini cams, camera phones and the software for virtual reality have further revolutionised the moving image. This has taken reality to a hitherto unknown transcendence. I call it the transcendence of reality because I am wary of making a distinction between dream and reality. Because in my opinion that distinction is pretty literal. So literal that it’s almost fake. And you don’t have to go very far to see that. Just take a look at our myths and legends and you’ll find a delicious absence of that distinction.

Dreams, for very long, were thought to be a glimpse of hyper-reality. Not flesh-and-blood reality as we understand now but something more real than reality. They were seen as a glimpse of everyday reality—thoroughly mixed, distilled and transmuted into a scape of symbolic activity. Depending on its content this symbolic scape was understood to be predictive or regressive. Or that it was either seen as a glimpse of the future or a highlight of what had been. Rarely was it seen as a purely idiotic projection of the mind. Dreams were accepted (and used) as the long arms of imagination. There were also not-so-rare instances of messages/messengers appearing from ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ sources. These dreams had the empowering quality of turning ordinary folk into prophets, oracles, seers and wise men.

Because of the technology available today, the moving image has de-stigmatised dreams of their unreliability. The distinction between dream and reality was essentially because of the latter’s unreliability in the realm of tangible gain and loss, reason and unreason, guidance and confusion. Because, while dreams did scatter some clues, their recall and visual logic was so FRAIL that they made very unreliable substitutes for good old experience.

This new century, I think, is set to take this de-stigmatised reality to levels we have so far only dreamed about.
What is time? Is it simply the circular race of clock hands? Or the blinking of electronic dots and lines? Or is it the elliptical movement of planets? Or is time just a measure? Is time made up of hours or minutes or seconds, microseconds or nanoseconds? Can we stop time? Is there a quality of time that does not move? What does it mean to be frozen in time? Is there such a thing as the beginning of time? Will there be an end of time? Where’s the past? Who’s seen the future? Is past actually THE past? Or the future, really THE future? Is it possible to visit the past or the future at will? How long is the present? How do we know that this is NOW and not the past? Or the future? Is there a threshold between time and no-time? Does such a liminality exist between them? How do we cross this threshold? Is there a way? Is there a way back?
What do you mean?

When you say that the sky is blue
and the sun's yellow
and the teapot holding
crimson tea leaves
and water, white.

What do you mean?

When you say I am OK
and everyone's basically good
And the dog that shits
daily on your morning papers,
an effing moron.

What do you mean?

When you say I am sorry
and that we all screw up
And that your distant dad
is hard to forgive.

What do you mean?

When you say I didn't mean it
and that sometimes
you just say silly things
and that you and I
should be clear
bout things in life.
I am not a scientist but from what I've read I reckon most manmade systems and machines are analogues of natural systems. The plane being an analogue of the bird is the most obvious example, but there are many that we first 'invent' and recognise later. One such analogue is the computer. Through the generations of sophisticated and super-sophisticated computers we have been increasing our understanding of the way the brain works or sometimes doesn't. Or how it breaks down, sorts out, stores, interprets and reconfigurates for later use INPUTS or arriving information.
What I find most amazing is that all this information--audio, visual, sensory and now olfactory as well--is stored in binary combinations of just TWO numbers. 0 and 1. Which means all the information in the world is the play of just two numbers. The Universe then could well be inside a particle of sand. So how does all this compare to our own very personal computer? It is my belief that there also exists a similar unit of information within our brains. A thought particle, perhaps. A group or pair of these thought particles could be combining variously at unimaginable speeds to give rise to complex (relatively) thoughts and ideas. In the Age of Free Speech, I think, what's on is an equivalent of an atomic fusion. An atomic fusion of thought particles! And their fusion is giving form and life to these huge and remarkable mutants. And I don’t think we have seen mutants like these before. These thought freaks are being created daily, and with increasing rapidity, in the minds of millions of people across the world. On the surface this may cause a lot of confusion and distress. A lot of ideological ivory towers will crumble, philosophical safe houses will be thrown open to plunder and cherished beliefs will snap like matchsticks. But this will all be on the surface. A very deep surface, but still surface. Why I am saying this is because this fusion will bring a new UNDERSTANDING. A realisation of the basic-ness of thought. A realisation that something so basic couldn't really divide. We've already found out that at the genetic level we are all the same, a play of proteins. This is also a realisation of TRUTH. One basic indivisible truth. So tell me people, what could be so different when everyone’s speaking his/her mind?
A new thinking is emerging, I think, where people are turning away from conventional form and wisdom. We are in fact looking at an Age of Expression. An Age of Free Speech. It's a time when people are speaking their mind. Without the worrying concern of form and political correctness. And it's happening everywhere. People are not living stereotypes. Or roles assigned to them. The most recent and most talked about was the Father of Chariot Hindutva calling the Father of Muslim Pakistan, a secularist and a patriot.

I think this is also a time of great maturity. A time of expanding perspectives. Where a rabidly upper caste-opposed Mayawati serenades the most bigoted and orthodox caste group, the UP Brahmins. Analyses of the examples I have listed can produce hard-nosed explanations that will keep both believers and doubters happy. On their own both explanations could be valid and sense-making but that does not mean that they are complete and truthful. The truth behind our actions, especially our most significant actions, is made up of something more numinous than words. Something frailer than logic. Something that defies defining. But lately this frail, subtle and inexplicable truth is becoming louder, bolder and more urgent.

So will the world become a better place when people start speaking their minds?
I don't know.
So many of our insights on positivity are about light. Think about it... Darkness on the other hand is something we fear and loathe. But this fear of the Dark is mostly a fear born out of ignorance and misunderstanding. The fear of the dark is also our fear of the unknown. The unnamed and undefined, the undiscovered, the hidden. If we take the argument further, it is also our fear of nuances. Of finding versions among versions. Being surprised.

What we don't realise is that darkness is as important to us as light. Without darkness there would be no way of defining light. No way of seeing shadows and appreciating 3-dimensional depth. Just think of a scene bathed in bright, white light.

So why has this very important aid to light itself been kept in the dark for so long?
There's this buzz
that is silent.
It's the silent
sound of motion.
The sound of the earth
grinding on its poles.
The sound of the earth
It’s the sound
of meteors.
Of animals fucking
at night.
It’s the sound
of the cicada
All this is sound
not noise.
All this is the silent buzz
of silence.
I would define silence as the end of questioning. A place and time where things just ARE. Where there's sound but not the kind that has to raise its decibel-head to get heard. In this arena of silence there are different frequencies, different timbres, different rhythms, different tonal qualities. Each according to its need of being. This is what I define as non-competitive sound. And this silence cannot be loud or intrusive or nauseating or distancing or uncomfortable because the perceiver of this silence is NOT hearing what he wants to hear but what IS.



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As an art practitioner I work in a variety of mediums, what you see here are glimpses of my many creative projects. If you like or feel strongly something here please don't forget to comment



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