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Monday, June 25, 2012

Moving on

Today in school we had a prayer service for our friend Medha and other members of her family who died in a car crash. We attended in white. White flowers were offered before her photograph. The service was extremely touching, and we were all in a very raw emotional space. It was difficult to remain composed while speaking, singing or offering the candles.
Now we shall all do our best to accept the truth and move on. We will support each other in grief and keep the surviving family in our thoughts. Eventually we will smile at her memory instead of weeping over her loss.
The day of the accident I changed my profile pictures (Google and Twitter) to a Rest In Peace plaque, which I also posted here that day. To herald moving on, I now change them back to what they were before. Medha was our friend and she will be missed, but holding on forever is not going to help anyone. Sigh.
Medha's photo will remain in the school chapel for a few days, and then kept in the library as memory.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Diamond fricking Jubilee. Urgh.


I hate monarchy. And I've said that before. In continuation of that and in context of this whole ruckus about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, I reiterate that I'm sick and tired of their worthless worship of people based on birth. I don't understand how educated people of a developed nation can be alright with holding onto something as disgusting as a monarchy, and not just holding on but celebrating it and indulging it at every opportunity they get. Maybe it is what they have been taught from their babyhoods, that's why. But I can give myself no explanation as to how some people, from all over the world, are hanging on to their TV screens to watch it. RuneScape, the MMORPG I am addicted to fond of, is from Britain, and they have put up a celebration inside the game! The game is not played by just the British, you guys!. To me, what RuneScape did sort of smells imperialistic: like Britain's still trying to rule the world. How can they brand the monarch of a nation 'a very Royal guest' inside a worldwide multiplayer?
Which brings me to a slightly wider issue. Meaningless ideas of superiority, including those involving race, religion, gender, etc. are present in every section of society. However, seeing them happen as something mainstream, within the territory of a permanent member of the Security Council (more on that irritating thing another day), is just appalling. They worship some people because of their birth, whereas very few of them compare to the standards of achievement set by 'lesser' people. The gender, race, public vs. private schooling and orientation ratios in the House Of Commons is nothing like the ratios in the population: if it was, then nearly all of Britain would be private-educated straight white men. A teacher who's been to London tells me that the city is organised in circles, and the higher classes live nearer the middle. And, something I recently found out: the Royal Standards flies in precedence to their Union Flag. That, I think, is the ultimate way to downgrade the importance of the common people. Unfortunately, common British people don't seem to understand that.

Which brings me to an even wider issue. Recently someone pointed out to me that the fact that some countries have monarchies and other's don't is greatly a matter of chance, if we look at the historical background of how their present governance systems came to be. I agree to that, and I wonder why then do we see this widespread worship? The current population of Britain and countries like it didn't make the choice to have a monarchy. They are completely exposed to the ways of the rest of the world. Then why? Would we behave the same way if we had a monarch? Maybe, maybe, maybe we would. We do have a strange affinity to unquestioned supremacy. It gives us a sense of false security and stability, which perhaps we have retained from our 'herd' days. That is why more people in the world prefer to follow the ideals of some other person, through religion or ideology. The thought of true independence probably unnerves us. I admit that the possibility of our love for 'people's power' holding only to a finite extent, scares me.
To conclude, I come back to the basic fact. Monarchy along with all its pompousness and impracticality is defended as tradition by a leading economy. Conferred titles and privileges continue to prevail (Also, House of Lords. Ugh.) The Britons are celebrating their monarch's Diamond Jubilee, and it eats at me. For the past few years, slowly but surely Britain has lost a significant part of its international respect, the more-credible-than-me analysis of which I will link to if I find a web version. Not that I care, as it can only mean good for its former colonies. Meanwhile, the swans glide on the Thames, and the Queen drives without a license.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The perfect diary

I had tried maintaining a diary in 4th grade, but my activity on it dwindled and finally ran out sometime in 5th grade. Looking back the diary is a good read for myself (though embarassingly childish) and I still like the idea of documenting my life date-wise, except I don't really feel like writing everyday. Sometimes I feel like drawing, doodling, scribbling, trying my hand at calligraphy... and often the problem is I don't want to get up and fetch my diary. Another thing I don't like is making my diary a fortress of secrecy: I prefer not writing things down that I want to obscure from the public eye forever. Sure, I don't want people to read my diary. Tiny little embarassing truths and private moments will be there, things I won't intentionally tell anyone: but at the same time I don't want to spend time hiding it. Moreover, (and I know this sounds crazy) I very rarely feel like writing secrets, and sometimes feel like the stuff I'm writing about is not worth a diary. Somehow the conventional diary puts me under a compulsion to be absolutely honest to that piece of paper: something some people might like feeling but I don't. I like to sort the difficult things of life out inside my head. I don't want to write everything down. I don't like making it a day-to-day journal. Maybe I want to ignore. Maybe I want to forget. Maybe I want to draw something instead, which may or may not reflect what I'm thinking.
A diary I received long ago was lying empty with just contact details written in it, on my computer table, at or near which I spend at least half my free time (the TV's in the same room, so are old magazines). I initially started using its blank back pages for drawing. Then one day I decided to take the plunge and start drawing on the 'actual' pages. Then I felt like opening it up to writing... but I don't like writing without giving it a title... and I'm terrible at putting titles... why not just put today's date? And then it struck me that this could be my new kind of diary -- my anything, everything, whatever-I-want diary. I could draw on it when I want, write when I want-- it would be the ultimate space for indulging my whims. It would be a chronological progression in tandem with my life, at the same time I wouldn't have to sit down and spend a long time filling it. I could make a doodle while my game loaded, another while my inbox loaded... and in a way it would document every day, in more detail as the intervals would be smaller. Then again sometime it would only highlight one incident, if I wanted it to. It would automatically be filled a little bit almost everyday as I sat at my computer. Since then I have drawn human figures, anime figures, cartoonised Egyptian pyramid art, weird figures, flowers, faces, doodles and what not. Few days ago I wrote a poem in it. I wrote about Medha on it. And I finally feel happy about the whole diary deal.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Venting

All day today I've been feeling pretty frustrated about how people who are different have to suffer. Not that I usually don't feel like this, but today somehow I was especially angry about the sidelining, and in many cases even abuse, faced by people who refuse to go by convention. It happens everywhere: in homes, schools and colleges, workplaces, public places like markets, public transport -- and even within establishments dealing with social work or religion. Some bigger issues of this kind permeate every mind and are usually discussed, but I was worried today about the small things, like someone not obeying the tenets of their religion or political party, or deciding to care about things they're not supposed to care about, or vice-versa. I can understand people of a religious/social/political circle having problems with accepting rebels as one of their own: after all every group has rules for its members. But no, people in general will point fingers, because they didn't fit the society's expected image. And in most cases these people are too greatly outnumbered to fight back. If one has to survive undisturbed, with their feelings (and sometimes more) unhurt, one has to conform. To be very direct, they have to be someone else and put up a fake personality that everyone will like to see.
As it happens when I think too deeply about something, I got all worked up about this, and needed to vent. And as usual, I turned a teeny bit poetic. I thought of a phrase 'known by another name', and started writing, which resulted in this piece that took up six pages of my thoughts diary. (More about that later, it was actually the next post planned). I don't know if I can really call it a poem, however since I sort of broke it up into lines, that's how I'm presenting it, and also labelling this post 'Poems'.
=====================================
Alias

No one knows my true name.
How could they? I never told them.
Every time they ask I give them that other name
That they like to hear:
A name that is pleasing to their ears,
Sweet in sound and meaning;
A name that embodies every bit
Of the grace, the cheer and the unassuming sweetness
That makes them love me --
And they cannot tell.

Yes, it is a precarious deception,
Yet an act necessary in order to be loved;
Not just loved, but to be given a sterling reputation
As one possessing every expected value;
To be respected
As honourable and morally upright;
To be conferred those titles -- titles t
hat I hate.
They reek of passive conformity.
They disgust me.

Must one behave thus?
Yes, they say, for that is 'right'.
Will you have me believe that we all show our true colours
And yet remain so similar when
We submit without protest
To every imposed ritual and convention?
I disagree. Perhaps some more than the other,
But we all are a different person inside
Whom we try hard, everyday,
To stifle and suppress
For that is the only way to have peace.
Those who do not try to please and to conform
Must fight. And I don't have the strength.

Not quite yet, at least.
Everyday the will to fight rages inside me,
Spurting at times from my raw wounds
As words of rebellion -- words that surprise the people:
And they ask if I'm alright.
I apologize, I smile, I draw back however I can --
I know I'm unprepared.
There is much I must see from beneath my veil
Before I can bring it all crashing down.

No, I am not lost. I am not defeated.
I only seek to protect what I love:
To cloak my tenderness with a will strong enough
To withstand whatever the heck they throw at me.
In the meantime, the act must continue.
Under my pretentious cover
I can safely grow and learn,
until the day  
I feel ready to reclaim the reins of my life
And define myself the way I want to;
And make it known to the world.

That day I'll be fearless of what they might do
To stop me; uncaring
Of what they might think.
Meanwhile, I enjoy the little bursts of freedom
That I can harmlessly allow myself.
They remind me that I am but asleep, dormant: waiting
For the opportune moment to strike;
And although I do not complain now
Inside, I am still the same --
I'm just known
By another name.

===================================== 

I feel better. Phew.
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