Stereotypes

Indian.

Male.

General Category.

Engineer.

IIT.

Lives in Bangalore. Oh, he must work in IT. NO HE DOESN’T.

Some tags never leave you alone. But once you’ve fallen into this rut, very few break out. So what does one do to break out?

Some take up an MBA – oh, classic mainstream.

Some go abroad for an MS – Throw a stone and you’ll hit an Indian in the US two times out of three.

Some pursue Civil Services – Do I need to count the number of students sitting in Delhi preparing for India’s most prestigious exam for graduates?

Jobs – Don’t even get me started.

Even entrepreneurship is so pseudo-popular nowadays it doesn’t classify as “path-breaking”, but it is a noble course.

In fact, all of them are. My point, when I started to write this, was not to point fingers and call each one of you pursuing these paths “common”. My point is, standing out in India seems tougher than ever before. Everyone’s doing their best, which isn’t making it any easier.

In an ideal world, your hard work and effort is recognized and rewarded. In a non-ideal country with 1.3 billion people, no one gives a shit. Because they’re all trying their best to stand out, among their peers, relatives, friends, family. But the question is, can you be unique in 1.3 billion specimens of the same specie?

You can try. But won’t that make you all the same?

So why not stand down, take a step back, observe the rat race from afar and enjoy life as it comes?

Mostly, there’s no point to that. Not because it’s unproductive, but because someone’s beat you to it already. Population, bitches.

Dalton: I’m exercising the right not to walk.

- Dead Poets Society (1989)

An Insignificant Life

She was lost. Like everyone around her. Unlike everyone around her. And yet, she couldn’t recognise why she was different.

Too smart, they called her. Huh. That was funny indeed, considering she felt so dumb right now. She didn’t fit in right, anywhere. She was not dogged by bad luck, she was bad luck. And unluckily for everyone around her, she was good at being herself.

Friends had come and gone for years. She missed them sometimes. Sometimes she forgot about them. She had never experience true love. And yet it was all around her, making her feel hollow. As if life wanted to let her know what she was missing.

But then, she had accepted long back that she wasn’t the kind to love and be loved. She couldn’t possibly care for a person so much as to put them through so much pain. And she would change everyone she was with, so what was the point of loving someone who wouldn’t be the same in a few months time.

Her family was dead. She spoke to dogs when she felt lonely. And yet, here she was convincing her people could one day accept her for what she would be. Or was. Or could be. She didn’t know. Maybe.

And yet, she would wonder what would happen if she died. Would there be a funeral? Would people mourn? Would someone cry? Would he rue the moment when he wanted to speak to her but hadn’t? Would someone feel lonely, like she did right now?

Would she at all be missed? It was an enticing question. One that everyone would love to know the answer off. The question that really mattered. Did she have any impact at all on the world around her, or was the impression of her body on her bed the only mark she left in this world? She couldn’t answer these questions. She wanted to know the answers.

One day, she couldn’t take the pressure and decided to find out. It was an insignificant death.

 

Try

Try to understand.
It will be difficult, but I’ll give you a hand.
Mock me in front of your friends,
Walk with me, I’ll tie the loose ends.

Unless of course, you want to know,
I shall never tell you,
The pain it takes to let you go,
Is unbearable.

They, they laugh at me, in my lonesome ways,
Not knowing the fact of those glorious days,
We walked together hand in hand,
Through mountains, forests, and beaches of sand.

And though sometimes, I’ve moved on,
I’ve imagined a hundred times the sound of that horn.
Would it be different had I been close?
Could I have saved you? Pushing with all my force?

I lost you over a phone call, that’s not the way to end things, you know.
The voice on the other end, let me know, it was time to let you go.
I tried so hard, it’s been so long,
I’ll never be able to sing that swansong.

I’ll wait for you, as I waited then,
I’ll work my way up to heaven.
We’ll meet and talk and walk again,
My waiting shall not go in vain.

Now tell me, would they understand?
They mock me and my words behind my back,
They feel I’m loveless, crazy, lonesome, free,
They will never understand the real me.

Free of this lust, I jump once again!

Freedom, from prejudice and mistrust,
Unsettled by this gaining unrest,
I look, I search, I scour, I plead,
Under these bones of steel I bleed,
Uncertain of the air, forever lost in despair,
I search for my one true friend,
They say this is the end.

Conquered by thoughts of death and suicide,
I dissolve myself in cyanide,
Looking for the answers, biding my time,
Is this the cost of sanity, heinous crime!
Forgetting what my morals stood for,
Uncontrollable anger, tastes so sour.

I feel like jumping, isn’t there any other way?
Doomsday! Doomsday! Doomsday!
Rattled by the consequences, I admire the ones who strive,
Untouched by the pains of agony, in life after life they thrive.
Why must it be me who bears this heavy burden?
Lay down with me, share my pain, in coming undone.

In a secret chamber by my heart,
Hidden is the answer, right from the start.
Yet, unable to see, blind to this cause I am,
No joy or kindness is showered upon this lamb.
Sacrifice is a must, someone must die,
So that you may go and live your lie.
Free from this lust, I jump, I jump!
Let me begone, sail my ashes away,
You never asked me to live another day

The Silent Listener

I stand in the lonely night, and I look thus and say to myself, “I am different and do something, I shall.”

He scoffs, and laughs while I talk to myself. “Who’s there? Show yourself.”
And I was surprised, as the whispering trees announced the leader, the tree that stands outside the yard.

“Human, you  look surprised. Know you not that every conversation of yours, we hear, and every insignificant detail about you we observe, as you while away your time and worry about how you shall achieve the greatness you so speak off?”

“You talk as if you have been so great, oh green one. What have you done, if I may so ask, rather than stand rooted to the spot you still stand of, unable to achieve your dreams? You only see such a small part of my life, and yet you figure you can judge me by my misguided search for paradise, for my destiny?”

“Oh naive one, if I may call you so,” he whispers, great amusement in his voice, “From when have you become so blind? I stand here, in my humble spot, ‘rooted’ you might say, but I remember the place where I have grown to become so huge as you see today. And thus I have grown to fulfill my destiny, while you still search for yours. True you are, I have not seen your world, but I have seen you, so sure of your abilities, while away your time achieving nothing but sadness, while I, I give life to the world with the air you so unseemingly breathe, with the food you so ungratefully eat, with the shade you so ruthlessly seek.”

“Aye, true that may be, but what makes you sure of the destiny I am so uncertain to achieve, that I so desperately seek to wrench from the gods, what makes you say that I so unwakefully walk this earth, aimlessly?”

“Simply enough, I have stood the test of time, unknown and ignored by all. I have seen many a man, walk from here, and sit under my shade, in the land of dreams believe that they will inherit the earth. And then those men, unseemingly as you, walk the earth under the pressure of the commons, delightfully completing the monotonous tasks that their monotonous superiors believe to be right, and forget that one day, under a silly little tree, they had dreams of achieving the unthinkable.”

“And so shall it be? Uncommon I am, surely even you noticed that? Challenge this world I shall, shall I not? I speak for it daily, do I not? I shall prove you wrong, I shall!”

“Those questions are not mine to answer, youngling. I do hope you do, because then a tale to the next one who sits here, I shall have. But no, I know your kind. Resentfully at first, of course, do your bidding once the world will, into a monotonous hell shall you plunge them too, you shall. And so, may it be known to the younglings who wish to achieve their dreams, that time will wait for none, and one day, the flower that blooms shall come to rot, and provide food for me, one day you shall.”

“Ah! You fault me again you do. Tell me oh wise one, where begin I should. Unrestrained your thought is, you claim. Then tell me, my dreams to be achieved are what, for god’s sake?”

And there in the silent night, whispering through its leaves,
Natures only creator, told me the secret of the trees.
No one shall understand my path, until they,
With further care, resent, and they may.

Secretly, they shared with me the joys of my destiny,
And in that moment of glorious epiphany,
Bespoke to the masters I did, and you know,
Their secrets to no one but me, did they show.

Silent once more, they rustled in pride,
In emotion, I ranted, I raved, I cried.
For unseemingly as I had walked this earth, I may,
Never come to inherit its greatness, I say.

And though it was a mirage, a dream, a memory,
Is etched in my mind, as clear as it was free.
And nevermore shall I try to be conforming, I swear,
By the light of the east, I shall fight, I shall care.

I do not remember, if this was just an illusion, but I shall try to live it to my best. Maybe a midnight’s dream came to me and showed me the way, but what I enjoy I must do, and what I despise I must change. That much is clear, my friends.

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