Tuesday, January 24, 2012


X: So, what're you upto?
Me: Nothing much.

X: What's been happening?
Me: Nothing much.

X: How's work coming along?
Me: Okay, I guess.

X: What do you usually do after work?
Me: Nothing much.

X: What do you do on weekends?
Me: Nothing much.

{Awkward Silence}

X: You are an introvert, aren't you?
Me: I can't help it if I find my own thoughts more interesting than you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conversations with Bob and Others

We all know the story. 

One is convinced one would make a good artist. A good poet. An author, perhaps. A good something. Anything. 

But, alas. One is strait-jacketed into a routine job. One is forced to go to office in the morning, and to come home in the evening, and forever destined to continue this imagination crushing repetitive schedule, until One retires and by then, One is just too old to churn out anything of artistic value. It's not One's fault- it's society's. And society pays for it. It could have had, as an addition to it, a great artist. But because of its obsessive compulsive mainstreaming, it doesn't.

If only. 

If. Only. 

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am the abovementioned One. Since it seems, in hindsight, awfully presumptuous to refer to oneself thus, I shall henceforth refrain. Ideally, instead of typing out this para, I should also edit this post so that every reference to One is removed.

Sadly, this world we live in, it's not an ideal one. 

Reading the book Dylan on Dylan, I was struck by the variety of experiences Bob Dylan had exposed himself to by the time he reached the age I was still drinking my two glasses of Bournvita everyday. "He ran away from home seven times: at ten, at twelve, at thirteen, at fifteen, at fifteen and a half, at seventeen and at eighteen. His travels included South Dakota, New Mexico, Kansas and California. In between flights, he taught himself the guitar, which he had begun playing at the age of ten. At fifteen, he was also playing the harmonica and the autoharp, and, in addition, had written his first song, a ballad dedicated to..."

At the age of fifteen, my claim to artistic fame was a story written in my school magazine. At the age of fifteen, I had left my home state a grand total of three times, all three times accompanied by my parents. At the age of fifteen, my biggest concern was the weekly test held in school. 

And then I entered college. I listened to Dylan, I read Camus, I watched Bergman. And, having been thus exposed to world culture, I had the gall and the temerity to consider myself capable of writing outstanding pieces of poetry and prose.

At the risk of repetition, If. Only. 

Tonight, as I sit at my table, having taken a day off work because of a nasty fever that sprung up, like that unwanted guest, yesterday and listen to Visions of Johanna and engage in a bout of introspection as to why I am unable to, try as I might, tap into that well of original artistic material I'm convinced lies within, I can come up with the following tentative reason, after having studied, cursorily, the lives of some of the artists I respect. 

There is no well that lies within. The well lies without. The route to reach it is hard and littered with thorns. One needs to travel in the bus of Experiences. To board the bus of Experiences, one cannot afford to have had a comfortable childhood. A broken home gives one a legitimate excuse to buy a ticket on the bus- there are no expectations to live up to society's exacting, strait-jacketing standards and one is free to pretty much do what one wants. A broken home is a liberating license, artistically. A minimum height requirement for a roller-coaster ride.

Are you willing to sacrifice so much for the sake of art?

I don't think I am. The roller coaster might give you the ride of a lifetime. On the other hand, you might just puke your guts out. I'd rather be the guy at the fair who has enough money to buy cotton candy and is content to have other people ride the roller coaster and come down and tell me what it's all about. Heck, I don't even mind paying them for it. 

Pessi Mist

Where will you go
When the circus has left town
And you are the last of the cast

Holding the last half-torn flyer
Trampled upon by the long gone crowds
Yellowing, and full of yesterday's
Unfulfilled dreams.

While the mist gathers all around
Where the circus tents once sprawled
Signalling the end
Of yet another day.

All you can do
Is to slowly walk away
Cast a backward glance, maybe
Smile a sad smile
And say,
"Well, that's life."

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