On Opinions

 

How do people form opinions?

Few days back a thought struck my mind.

Opinions, these days, are nothing but perceptions based on the limited knowledge that we gain and obstinately flaunt around in the manner of absolute truths.

OK, that is just my thought. That is really not my opinion. In fact time and again I have realized that I am not much of an opinionated person. I am scared of opinions. I often feel that I don’t have enough information to form opinions.

It really shocks me at times when I hear or watch certain people fight for their opinions. They get into verbal brawls on social media and it shocks me to see that people consider their knowledge supreme enough to put a foot down and say that what they say or believe in is the ultimate truth.

Phew! How do people survive under the weight of all that arrogance?

Wisdom comes with knowledge. Opinions also stem from knowledge. Then what is the difference between the two? Often grown-ups confuse opinions with absolute truths. If they can’t differentiate between the two, are they really grown-up?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I feel that wisdom doesn’t reside where arrogance does; information doesn’t really mean knowledge; opinions are not absolute truths.

I am not an opinionated person. I was a judgmental one (may be still I am – a little bit) but off-late I try not to be one. Maybe that is why it is difficult for me to form opinions. I feel I have no right to opine about anything or anyone until I am aware of the truth.

I often find myself speechless when people talk about opinions. Trust me, not having opinions comes with their own share of troubles. By the time I have dug enough to form an opinion about something, the chapter is well-closed and left behind.

I don’t have opinion on most of the things and often is taken for granted in making any kind of important decisions. But I am really not able to wrap y mind around the fact of forming an opinion base on limited information.

Can anyone help me out here?

 

 

To Those ‘Once Upon A Time’ People

Hi,

Once upon a time I knew you.

You knew me too.

We don’t know each other anymore.

I don’t know why I thought of you today. It is not that I have forgotten you. You stay in my memories, and they never leave me alone. But today I think of you as my ‘once upon a time’ friend and I smile.

There are so many of you. Your faces pass before my eyes like pictures imprinted on a roll of photographic negative film. I see us laughing together, crying even.

Once, one of you told me that I was an important shade on the canvas of his life and that I will forever be there. I want to tell this to all of you. You all have been very dear pages of the story of my life. You all played your roles so beautifully. Some exits were dramatic, some just phased out like they were tired out of the long-drawn drama; some got better roles and simply quit.

But all of you left me with fond memories and warm smiles. The embittered feelings are there no more. All that is there is the feeling of ‘what-if’. We didn’t work. Do I regret it? No. I have accepted it. But yes, I never wanted us to not work. And this is not my justification. It is my mere confession.

So, my dear ‘once upon a time’ people I truly wish that you are doing good. I really hope that you are happy and smiling. And I pray that life is kind to you and God, merciful.

And I also wish that you don’t think of me or miss me. Because if you are, then we are just like those two people who are sitting with their backs to each other and wondering why they are not able to see the other.

Though I do wonder. Yes, I do wonder.

Do you ever think of me?

Whom do I mention here? There are just so many of you.

Those school friends, those friends turned foes turned strangers, those crushes, those ‘best friends’, those guides, mentors, and inspirations. Those fellow colleagues, writers, bloggers, chatters, talkers, strangers.

And then there is that old, ‘once upon a time’ me. The one whom I left behind with you all to be.

recite

 

The Incomplete Masterpiece

image

That loss that you experience from the moment you are born. You are born a girl, your loss is you don’t know what it means to be a boy. You are born rich, your loss is you don’t know how the poor lives. Your loss is not knowing so much of reality that exists in the world.

The books that you will never be able to read and the places that you will never be able to see. All those wonderful people you are distanced from due to language or miles. All these obscure sorrows plague you and yet you move in life as if you own the world. As if you are going to live forever.

You are withering, every hour, every minute, every second, unaware of what is approaching and careless about it. All you think of death is like the thoughts of a distant cousin sitting in another land whom you haven’t met or spoken to… ever. You don’t think of old age which is creeping in your limbs without giving you any sign.

Time, the most powerful. It grows on you. You grow with it. Past is nothing but a painting which you consider you have finished but the truth is different. It is abandoned. It looks different everytime you see it. Look back into a memory which you thought would kill you, did it? Look back to a moment, a big achievement which you thought were your biggest. Does it seems so now? Has it changed? It is the same past. It is the same painting; the same indelible strokes; and yet it all feels different.

Time is the healer. It subtles your losses, calms your burns, and even smudges your sorrows. Those obscure sorrows, those nameless ones, which you feel, which you know but cannot define. Befriend Time. Befriend your losses. Befriend those obscure sorrows. Life is limited. Live on. It will see all of you but you!

You will never have enough of it to see all of it. You are not an expert, never can be. You are just a passerby. So while you pass, paint it into a good incomplete painting. And may be someday the world will call it a masterpiece.

23rd July 2015 – 8.30 am

Now that the hunger has subsided, let’s get down into the stream of consciousness. Travelling in train in the month of July is something I don’t think I have ever done before. And now as I sit in the sparsely populated 2-tier compartment, with people still devouring the depths of a slumber which eludes them during their mundane daily lives, I have finally gathered enough mettle to jot things down.

I would have loved to do it with a pen on real paper. But oh the spoilings of technology. That reminds me he had asked me yesterday about keeping a pen along with me. It had happened while I was giving finishing touches to my packing. It was a question that I had let gone unanswered. I guess it is Murphy at work all over again. I felt the need of exactly that what I had not bothered to pack.

Getting back to travelling in train during monsoons. Its certainly bliss. Especially if you have caught on to enough sleep during the dark hours to wake up at day break. The view from the window is serene. It is all green to the last inch of horizon. The air is cool and fresh and the entire nature seems to be on a weekend mode. Spring definitely is the weekend for nature.

There are the freshly ploughed fields with soil which is not caked but looks beautifully dark after being washed by a night pour. Then there are certain fields which are done with sowing and tiny plants have started to emerge from earth’s surface. Some of them probably celebrating the days when they finally witnessed the sky. They remind me of my own back at home. I am the careless mother to them who are being tended to with utmost love by their father. Yes, of the two of us he is the one with the green thumb. All I do is breath in their freshness and greenness that too for my own comfort.

This journey is turning out extremely blissful. With the company of a heart-warming book I have a vast expanse of green carpet laid outside the window. As the trees run past many things crop up in my head and all of them barely make their presence felt. It seems like a melee of thoughts but a happy one if something like that is even there.

I look at the tiny bird which is flapping its windows with all his might trying to soar to better heights. Then there are those stray skeletons of dwellings standing little away from the tracks which often make me wonder about their stories. There are those huge electronic grids the rows of which go till the horizon. And those hidden shrines and ruins of some small temple hidden beyond the dense wilderness.

All this raises just one urge inside of me and that is to know about their stories. Stories of those farmers who have ploughed all those fields, about those who used to dwell in those abandoned, ruined dwellings and about the million others who walk those small muddy roads, who live beyond the small stations beyond which I cannot see. I wish someone could tell me. I wish Ruskin Bond could tell me.

Stack of Houses

image

The houses that were built upon me, they feared not of the doom that faced them. Happily unaware, they went on building them, one upon the other.

I am weak. I am no more able myself to carry this burden. Should I take it off? Should I take it off and keep it aside? And yet I wonder not of the weight that is burying me inside. I wonder of the fate of the houses.

I never wanted any more on me other than me. I knew I was not made of those bold stuff to carry them. But yet they thought I could. They stood on me and continued doing so. I carried them somehow.

One day I could no more. I took it off and kept them aside. Some fell and broke, some shivered violently. Some just shook in silence. I picked them up no more. I let them be off me. They yet stand still.

Secret-Keepers

image

How they arrived.
Making no sound
like drifting or more like floating.

I was on a train to a land
long forgotten by me.
A land of memories.

I looked past the rushing trees,
the blurring greens.
I looked at the barren fields.

And then they came.
Rushing at me in their
silent clamour .

I was knocked out of breath.
My vision empty
but my insides full, my heart.

I sunk in their eyes,
and saw every fantasy of mine.
They dripped.

Each of them turned into
a giant teardrop containing my thought.
And they dripped and PLOP!

On the ground I saw them falling,
I saw them leaking and breaking
into a million pieces.

And I could do nothing.
The secrets were out
they knew it all.

And no one knew anything.

Outrage is the new ‘vogue’

Disclaimer: I am human and I am not perfect. The views expressed herein are just my opinion and I do not mean to impose it on anyone. I respect the fact that everyone has their own point of view and theirs might not necessarily be same as mine.

Last evening, while scrolling through my facebook timeline I came across a video shared by one of my friends. I am pretty sure that by now most of you would have either watched it or heard about it. Yes, I am talking about the Vogue Empower video which features 99 women-of-note from India, featuring a piece written by Kersi Khambatta, recited in the voice of Deepika Padukone and directed by Homi Adajania. If you haven’t watched the video yet, then watch it here.

Since the video went viral, a lot of strong reactions have been stemming from people all over the social media. The reactions are both positive and negative. When I first watched the video I reshared it on my facebook timeline stating “This is powerful”. The video has that effect on women. But looking at the flak that it is getting from people, I feel it has not gone down well with many, women included.

I was not aware of the furor caused by the video until my brother pinged me asking about the video. He said he wanted to watch the video and wanted to know what the hullabaloo is about. He said that the video has created quite a controversy and I replied saying “some people just need some topic to outrage and I don’t find anything controversial in that video.”

When I asked him what he thought about the video, he said that it is bound to offend male ego. He said on one watch it seemed that the video’s sole purpose was to kick men’s ego and boost women’s ego. It was then that I realized that the video will obviously have a different impact on the two sections. It is definitely very strong.

My brother clearly explained me that just because he feels that the video hurts men’s ego, doesn’t mean that he is against women empowerment. As well as I know that guy, I know he is one person, who holds women in high regards and well agrees with the evils that women around the world are being subjected to. We have had long discussions on these issues many times and never once has he come across as someone who is in favor of male dominance.

He went ahead and explained me that, if a person looks at the video as a piece of art, the narration especially, then it will serve the purpose. This got me thinking. I guess the part that hurt the people most was the narration which talks about women being open to sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage etc. which are a taboo in our society. If only people could realize that the piece is more symbolic than literal in nature.

What I understood from the video was that, it is a message to both the men and women in the society. It asks men, not to take the women in their lives for granted. If one listens carefully, it asks men to value the love of the women. It also goes ahead to caution men to not be a fool to think that a woman who comes home early is all virtuous and the one who comes late is not. It also sends a message to women that, no one can really empower them unless they themselves work towards empowering themselves.

But, let us chuck discussing and outraging about this video. Personally I feel it’s frivolous to spend our tempers and time over fancy awareness videos. Yes, Vogue Empower is investing and roping a lot of eminent people for their cause. I am not belying the work that they are doing. But, the main irritant for me is the unnecessary importance that is being given to this video. Why can’t people rather talk about the real actions that are being taken towards the social issue of women empowerment?

Another point that had cropped up through this video factions the society into feminists and menists (fairly a recently coined word). Few people think that being a feminist means bashing men all the time. I don’t know how exactly feminists are supposed to be, but irrationally bashing men is so not feminism. If asked about feminism, I would like to favor the opinion given by Emma Watson as a UN ambassador for #HeForShe campaign. She has aptly put that feminism is not about man-hating but more about achieving gender equality.

I have myself gone through a myriad of changes in opinion while witnessing all the outrage that has been going on out there. At a point of time, I was skeptical to even put up this post as I was not sure whether  what I am trying to say would be taken in the right spirit or not. But then, as I said earlier, everyone has a right to their opinion.

I am now tired of discussing this video. In fact, I never understood the point of outrage in the first place. As I have said earlier, I would rather concentrate on reading, hearing and talking about the real actions that are being taken rather than a publicity campaign. Also, I want to say that, whoever has watched the video are people who are educated and have access to technology. Considering these two facts, I feel I can safely say that all such people are capable of rational thinking. And if the same is true then I guess such enlightened minds can decide what is right for them and what is not.

I don’t think the video is going to alter the cases of adultery or extra-marital affairs in any way. If a person has to get into an extra-marital affair, he or she will get into it irrespective of the fact whether they see the video or not. Moreover, half of the oppressed women for who such campaigns are being run might not even be aware of the video. Do we see the pointlessness of it all now?

There are few questions though, the answers to which I wish I could figure out.

Why the social media junta of our country only pick at the one negative point of any social efforts that are being made for any social cause?

Why the positive always gets shadowed by the negatives?

Why people take so much pleasure in talking about negatives rather than positives of anything for that matter?

I really would like to find out some answers to these.

And just so that I could end my post on a positive note, I will talk about something really heartening that caught my attention more than the vogue empower video. I want to share the story of the village Piplantri in Rajasthan where daughters are celebrated. Here, every time a girl child is born, 111 trees are planted in celebration and taken care of. And that is not all. Read the entire story here, if you want to know more about it. This is what makes me happy. This makes me more hopeful. And mind you, here are people who might not even be aware of the Vogue Empower Video. Let’s take some lesson from them.

This is another story

Anika was late. She got caught in the web of the web and got late. She had not planned to put on the dress she had put on. But while pulling out her choice of dress she chanced upon that soft, cotton heap of peach and out of sheer whim she pulled it out and wore it.
When she looked at the mirror she was delighted with what her reflection showed. She dropped the idea of putting on too much makeup and ended up just applying kajal.
Satisfied with the final look she picked up her phone to click a few selfies. She was loving the way she looked. It’s got to be the perfect date look, she thought to herself, he will be totally floored when he looks at her.

It had been years since she had actually made so much effort on her looks for any meeting. She was hoping that he likes it. She was doing it all in order to impress him. Right then her phone rang. It was him. She picked it with a panic.

“You already landed.”

She was supposed to be at the airport by that time. She quickly wrapped up the phone call, picked up her handbag and looked at the mirror for one last look. Something clicked inside her. She picked up the red tube kept on her dressing table and pulled out the brush. One stroke. Yes, now things were perfect.

The kumkum shimmered on her forehead. This time, she wanted the world to know that the guy who held her hand while they walked was the one to whom she belonged.

Eccentricity

She lays there
her lids shut.
A pink tinge
on her cheeks.
A mystic smile
playing her lips.
I look at her long
and wonder long
Is this what contentment is?
What does it feel like?
I know not what
she hides.
What dream goes on
behind her eyes?
I have been running,
searching, digging,
delving
trying to find this peace
that she wraps around her
and sleeps.
She walked miles,
crossed oceans,
climbed mountains,
and came back empty.
Her hands empty,
she gave it all.
Her heart empty,
she poured it all.
Her eyes empty,
all tears gone.
And yet she seems
filled.
Brimming, not overflowing
with peace, she claims,
shall remain unruffled.
Its her gift, she says,
for giving it all.
Her peace, her soothe.
I look at her
while she talks
I see her words
I hear them not
I drown in her eyes
in search of her soul
only to realise
she is no more a body
she is now wholly
her soul.
I have lost mine
I need to find.
I look at her long
and wonder long
she is lost
unable to be found
is this what contentment is?

Questions

Today I feel as if I have lost a part of me. I try searching it, but the search bears no fruit. I have been making these efforts for a long time now and I keep failing and today I feel a strong bitter twinge that has my heart in some kind of clutches. It squishes my heart and I can literally feel it.
Yes I mean it when I say that I can literally feel it. I have lost my stories. I have lost the verses of my poetry. I have settled myself in a mediocrity from where my subconscious and conscious don’t seem to be coming out. Is it somekind of writer’s block? But am I even one?