Category: Life and Other Such Things

Empty Heads

The Science of Doing Nothing and the Art of Wasting Time

Life and Other Such Things

The notorious imp of eternal idle-ship has crept under the blankets of us the young every now and then. As it did about a few months ago, infest me, in my most vulnerable time; I obviously have had a lot of spare day dreaming periods in hand to think about the graveness of this topic. It’s not so very difficult, letting the feather of laziness weigh you down in one spot for elongated clusters of tick-tocks, in an utter unwillingness to move and let it fly away. For it’s very characteristic, to give you the feeling that your extravagant expenditure of hours on the ‘jobless beach’ has a certain superpower to stop time from running at your will, is addictive and most temptingly unavoidable. That those who waste time are fools, I know not if it’s true; but I know this for sure that the falsity or truth of it has no whatsoever effect on it’s widely practiced traditions and socially accepted cults. To the extent that certain practitioners, or devotees, or victims (as some may address to these sans motivation creatures) do so in groups, together, in closed environments and in public.

That was all about others, now coming back to myself (since I am the writer and a selfish one), I have realised that there is no way in which it (wasting time and doing nothing) can be labelled good or evil. It (wasting time and doing nothing) really depends upon how you perceive the undertakings that underlie this imprudent passing of time. “Doing Nothing” does not mean what it literally means, but that the individual occupied in doing nothing is doing nothing physically that it is supposed to or that is materialistically productive. But while you are doing nothing, there is a lot your mind is doing, like introspection, cosmic reflection, decision-making, day dreaming, admiring nature, hearing sounds, tasting tastes, smelling smells, weirdly staring out into a nothingness… Psychologically, “doing nothing” involves mental processes that are complex and vital to every social organism’s life cycle, and hence doing nothing is a ‘science’. “Wasting time” on the other hand is something one can go wild with; from just the good old “breath-in breath-out” to creating a huge dominoes queue just to watch it fall (like our future will), there are infinite ways of doing it. There exists a ginormous amount of brilliant and productive ways of wasting time and hence ‘wasting time’ is an ‘art’.

While my time in this cozy imprisonment of doing nothing or wasting time, I have realised though a serious side effect. And since the time it all started I have had but one question, “Why my art has to suffer?”. Ironically enough, though I find my cranky misspent pendulum swings quite poetic, I suffer from a severely constipated mind. It’s like a poem, an idea, is right there hurdled up somewhere in my brain but it just doesn’t want to be put down on paper; and hence in a long time I have not been able to produce any worthy material worth reading (just like this piece of writing). My wasting of time very stereotypically involves warming the bed in my room while I watch an endless thread of cinema. Which is sometimes accompanied by a glass of some cheap whiskey or rum to make the whole experience a psychedelic one. Although as a filmmaker, in shameless and forceful optimism, I hope all this viewing of films shall some day help me grow in the field. For now, only the thought that it might help is enough to continue with this trend…

The biggest paradox but is to be unfolded now. In personal observational study (a part of my ‘doing nothing’ time) I have found that most of my best works have come after a long exertion of boredom. ‘Boredom’ is like a vehicle that the science of doing nothing and the art of wasting time ride on; like two pals humming tunes, walking in a random direction, thinking they’re invincible. The rate of boredom is directly proportional to the rate of doing nothing and the possibility of quality in writing, at the same time. But, the rate of boredom yet is indirectly proportional to the quantity of writing I do. Wait no, I think I made a mistake there. May be not. Ok basically, the more bored one is, the more the chance that that person will do nothing productive. But, the more bored one gets, the more there is chance of that person coming up with great things, only distributed over vast gaps of wasted time.

Alas most of my best works are results of pure boredom. But does boredom have any ‘necessary connection’ to quality of work is yet to be found. It is very uncertain and unexperimented upon, and hence it is not yet a science. Next time I shall be a bit more aware while doing nothing, and ponder upon the labyrinths of ‘boredom as a science’, may be that would be a successful way of doing nothing.

P.S. I don’t know for sure whether this article is another one of my creations with which I have wasted my time. But if you, have read this whole article, you have certainly successfully wasted yours.

Bibliography : Mental Conjectures by Doing Nothing

Inspiration : Time by Pink Floyd and critique of my own products formed by wastage of time.

yours truly,

Deven

The Bay

Life and Other Such ThingsPoetry

The Bay

“I’d die for this sound to ring in my ears forever” he exclaimed. As the window opened to his apartment neighbouring the subtle morning waves of froth and liquid rolling over the brazen rock beds just like last night’s beer pouring smoothly in the glass and then down his throat, only a million times louder. His hair willowing in all sorts of direction and a beard smelling of some drinks and a woman, both he spilled. A vast unending sea of white waves and black rocks stood before him like a monochrome scene right out of his surreal dream, that swept him right off his feet and into the air that was now both inside him and around. There were gushes of wind, squeaks of hinges, roars of tides, cawing of crows, fluttering of a cotton curtain, light traffic sounds of a woken up city; and yet somehow for him nothing ever had been so quiet.

For a moment it almost felt like death; like he had managed to visit the other side in his silly little head, still obsessing over how the sea was growing onto him, and turning him inside out and upside down. The breeze caressed his ears just the way she did last night; slowly gulping him down into an endless abyss of never being able to let go of how he felt being in her arms and having made love to her. The sea occurred to do to him what she had, just before he fell asleep with his nose buried in her armpits and his head overflowing of contentment. Usually he would be the guy to point out that believing in something supernatural or metaphysical is just very childish but this time here he had no other word to sum it all up but ‘magic’.

His bones rested against the window frame and riding onto the air like a fast local train came the smell of a freshly brewed coffee. She walked towards him, had two mugs in her hand and one heart with him over admiration for the mighty sea. The stirring of the silverware in the ceramic mug made sounds like a cling and she was not aware that one of the tresses of her perfectly curled hair was taking a dip into her coffee. She was only staring at him and the sea in his eyes. They don’t talk; not until he says with a smile,

“Have you ever thought? How this sea has never really changed… This city and its people, everything, has changed but this, this right here has never really… I imagine this tide that’s about to hit the shore knows me, from that time I was little and stood on the soft sand of the Juhu with naked feet and watched my little footprints wash away; it knows me from all these mornings I spend at this window. I bet this wave waves at me everyday but I have only been too blind to see it do that. I bet it knows the old man that lived here before me; I bet it knows him since he was my age and may be his girl too from the time when they stood here with coffee in their hands just like us. I bet it knows every such man, his girl, his first kiss; I bet it just waves at the whole city every time it comes to visit and selflessly dies out against the shore. May be that’s why they call them “waves” as if they are just very sweet Goodbyes! I mean can you even imagine how many people that one wave could know?! People meeting, people laughing, people fighting, people crying, people in love, people breaking up, the kids selling the roses, the chaatwaalaas, people from ages ago! And its just there, right there, doing it’s everyday crawling on the sea and dying at the bay. I bet it knows every guy that ever fell in love with it and watched it everyday until his last breath… And now it’s going to watch me grow and die, but it’s just going to be polite and carry on even after me… It’s probably witnessed this place turn from a calm port city to the chaotic hodgepodge it has become today and all the people that have been a part of it. Can you imagine how crazy this is?!”

He looks at her and finds her adorably gazing at him in awe. She sips from her cup and then looks at the watch and gestures at him in sign language that it’s time to end this and bid farewell to this comfort for today. But moreover, not only does he fantasize about doing this baywatch again tomorrow but pictures himself doing it all his life till he is all wrinkled and bent and tears of happiness are rolling down his lips into his mouth. He pictures the old himself and feels the teardrops on his tongue, and only then does he realise why the sea is so salty. She pokes him again and pulls him back to the reality of the city of dreams.

He has to bathe, dress up, drive through traffic, reach work on time, he remembers the drill. They smile at each other… she comes close and leaves a seal of her lips on his. He gestures at her in sign language that he loves her, and she repeats the signs. He then looks at his mug and then at the sea again, and for the last of that morning says,

“Well this mug is empty… But don’t you worry, we have a whole sea for ourselves to finish…”

The Highway Demons

Bike RideLife and Other Such ThingsTravel

imageThe four legged rope stretches out and hooks upon the back seat, holding a bag of luggage and tarpaulin to save it from sudden downpours. The Helmet strap clicks and the early morning warm up of the engine wakes up about everyone in the neighbourhood. A long journey awaits; the highway awaits, for the forthcoming villainous hours in which it will take me through every possible discomfort that it can. I pull down the screen of the helmet only to realise that it is so cold outside that my warm exhales form blinding blurs of steam on it. The warm jacket mischievously lets in some cold breeze through the sleeves, disturbing my little escapes from the exposure. It is so early in the morning that its not even twilight, and chirping of the crickets is still the loudest sound around. The rusty joints of my ankles and knees crackle as I bend them to get on with it. My gloves feel ‘not cozy enough’ to me and I feel like I didn’t tie my shoes tight enough. I sneeze within the helmet, spraying spit all over; and right now, I am only getting started…

Since 2010, till now (2016), I have conquered about 25000 kilometres of Highway distance on bike. And I kid not when I use the word “conquered”, because only the ones who have been out there, riding, for distances unimaginable, know the struggle, the real effort that goes behind being true to oneself as a “Rider” and taking everything that the road throws at you.

Out there, there is no limit to what can happen. Out there, it is you, your bike, and a road that is stubborn and never ends. Out there, you don’t get to give excuses, you don’t get to lay off for a while. The wheels roll, and roll, and roll, and soon a pain climbs onto your back and down to your pelvis. The journey starts and the only thought that rules your mind for next 15 minutes is whether you tied your luggage to the back strong enough that it wont fall, and frequent loud fluttering of the tarpaulin keeps deepening the doubt in your mind. You wish you had not drank that much last night. Light headedness and nausea and sleepiness plunge into you like a dark demon haunting a house slowly. You start thinking you can’t make it, and last night’s whiskey only wants you to crawl back in the warm blanket on a fluff bed next to her tender skin. You try to imagine her, to loosen up your mind, but even in your vision her back is towards you, and your side of the bed is cold, like death, and you are frozen with irritated bones. And to add on, the sky decides to spill and surge and intrude into deep fabrics of the denim jeans. All hell breaks loose onto you; and you have come too far to go back, and too far away from your destination yet…

You’ve come about half way, and the rain decides to give you some time off. The jeans is full of mud and the raincoat dripping gradually inside the undergarment; the cold winds doesn’t spare you from any chills. The bigger vehicles rule on the single lane roads. The government bus driver carelessly tries to overtake a truck in front of him and comes speeding right at you, regardless that you would have no road to ride on. The bike gets down the road and the bus whooshes by hardly an inch away from you; your heartbeat sprints ten times faster but you’re alive, only stuck in a puddle of mud off road.

 At frequent intervals you paas by flocks of crows devouring every dead creature lying slayed on the road. Such scenes are anticipated much earlier by the sharp stench of rotting meat, of death. Dogs mostly only because they are too stupid to be running bonkers on the highway, sometimes cats that were suicidal may be; though I’ve also seen pigs that were unfortunate enough to die under heavy duty trucks and arranged for some good pork and bacon for the scavenging birds. More over, there come times when you imagine yourself in the place of these animals turned vegetables, when you pass by an accident scene that happened last night or a few hours ago. Windscreens smashed, the whole of cars damaged to the core and crooked, trucks fallen askew off the ghat, bloats of blood just lying upon the asphalt; such things that would turn your stomach and give you the shivers.

But… You ride on. No matter what, the gears change, the accelerating happens and never do you doubt even for a moment the person inside you that believes in this highway life despite all it’s demons. It is the answer, travel, riding, hiking; it is the most beautiful answer to life.

I speak of courage, and determination, but the truth is everybody is scared; it is overcoming this fear that takes the real conquering. It is the feeling after finishing the distance, that really makes the difference. One often forgets to acknowledge the one thing that is with you all the times giving a strong face to the highway, the bike. Nothing is possible without it. So many miles, so many journeys and all is worthless if it had not been cooperative and courageous itself. It is one unexplainably profound feeling, riding the highway, and if you haven’t experienced it yet…

Go do it!

Leaving Pune

Life and Other Such Things

Room on the Roof

I remember doing nothing, and warming my bed most of the time, as a billion beams of light entered through the liberally wide open windows of my room. I remember watching Scorsese, Tarantino, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Tarkovsky, Kurosawa and all the possible TV series I could, back to back, as I sat munching on something spicy and crunchy throughout the passing days in Pune. I remember the countless drinks that entered my head as I sat in there, alone, and happy, and satisfied. I remember the way my room understood me, more than I ever could. I remember the fair skinned woman, her back and the inside of her thighs; I remember touching her as the dress slowly slipped down her arm while lying, careless about the world, on that four legged cushion. I remember the raindrops making that drumming sound on the plastic shade of my window, where I sat and enjoyed all that the nature could throw in at me, from the impromptu monsoons, to the golden orange light of the dying sun. I remember writing endless poems and thinking of pointless stories and screenplays at 3 am in the night. I remember forgetting them when I woke up the other day. I remember the red carpets, the huge stone walls, the dogs and pigeons and the 130 years old British Architecture of my Alma Mater. I remember not going to College, because everyone knows that the Attendance Defaulter’s threats from Fergusson College are mere threats and the excitement in the streets inside and outside campus were more tempting. I remember myself, isolated, in my own world and yet in love with the city and its beauty and ruins. I remember the joblessly enthusiastic crowd I met everyday on the streets of Pune, everybody wanting to have a plan but utterly failing at it, escaping the failure into their music culture, and rum and smoked grass by the end of every other night. Never have I ever seen such a place as Pune is; a land of some staunch, disciplined, and debatably miser Puneri’s and a land of many young (so-called atheist) hearts, only wanting to lead the life of chill; undeclared Rastafarians and Nihilists and Agnostics and Ambitious people who speak of how they want their life to be after 10 years, while they have not yet planned which restaurant are they going to dine at this Saturday Night. Pune is that kind of a chaos where one wants others to think that one is doing something in life and so should they, but ultimately all one is doing is chilling out most of the time, making the whole city a big rave party. Pune has this wild spirit, one everyone wants to tame, one everyone has once in their life wanted to live, one I have had the privilege to live, for about 6 years of my life. So much did I connect to the place that that apartment in Deep Bangla Chowk, next to Maharaja Wines was HOME to me.

It all started back when I was a 15 year old fat boy from small town Nashik, full of jumpy and restless hormones. There was no way I knew the ways of people from a metropolitan. I was shy about talking to girls and making new friends for crying out loud! It was no soon after I had enrolled in Fergusson College of Arts for 11th grade back in 2010, that I realised I cannot carry on with this introverted, thick, bumpkin skin of mine. I used to awe at every little thing that happened in the city to which its residents used to be like “meh…”. The first breakthrough happened when a random girl in the junior college asked me if I wanted to accompany her for a smoke. Things that ran through my mind, “Oh a girl! And she spoke to me!” and “Oh how pretty she is! I think she likes me!” and “A girl and she smokes?! She must be such a rebel!”, believe me, for a guy coming from Nashik, a girl  (forget her age) who smokes comes as a BIG surprise. I accompanied her (though smoking is one thing, I never managed to adopt to ever); I think she wanted to talk to me about my views on life (I hardly had any back then) or music at least, but to my bad, I gave her a lecture on how bad smoking tobacco is; she hardly ever spoke to me again. And so the journey started, from being that naive boy to being the mature man I am today (or at least I would like to think of myself as mature). Piece by piece, Pune hammered and broke my shell, exposing me to a lot of independence, and responsibilities towards myself  that came along as part and parcel.

Coming to the people I met in Pune. There were two kinds of friends I had. One kind were the forced friends; the roommates and flatmates. I have seen the weirdest and the most despicable and awkward people in my life while I went through a dozen of such forced friendships. Unhygienic, Unclean, Unbathed, Stinking, Naked dudes with twisted ideologies and infamous habits. Only a few out of these forced friendships really proved useful, although being through all that weirdness WAS a life experience! The other kind of friends were the ones I met in my college and Filmmaking endeavours; the times spent with whom I will always cherish. Actually everyone in Pune had become a big part of me, from that grumpy musician uncle next door, to the old florist lady outside the building, to my favourite chātwala to, to the owner of my favourite café, to the best friend everyone thought I was dating and that German girl (and many other girls) I was rapidly infatuated with. Such things happen, you meet people, and then they go, or you do. Some you still stay in contact with, some become just numbers in your contacts list, some only a speckle in your unconscious memory, and some are like those scribbles you do on the last page of your diaries you don’t want anyone to see…

Another thing I learnt in Pune was to have an opinion and more-over respecting other’s opinions. I owe my complete attitude towards life to this city. So many memories and people have happened that if I start mentioning them this article would never end. Leaving Pune was like the sudden death of the child in me. I now stand on a very crucial turn in my life. It’s time to earn now, to move on and give in to the clockwork.

So as I end, I dedicate this article to all the people I met in this lovely city called Pune. I might have hated you, liked you, hanged out with you, stayed with you, attended college with you, worked with you, or even just known you by your name or by your face, Thank you! Thank you for all these brilliant years. And though I have left… a piece of my head will never leave Pune. It still sits at that window overlooking a busy street, sipping from a glass of whiskey, listening to Pink Floyd, and breathing some laid off evening air of Pune city….