Write to write

So much of this resonates with me.

Cristian Mihai

“Write to write. Write because you need to write. Write to settle the rage within you. Write with an internal purpose. Write about something or someone that means so much to you, that you don’t care what others think.”Nick Miller

There are a million different reasons to write something. The narcissistic belief that what you have to say is important to others, the selfless ideal of helping save this world through art and beauty…

Fame. Money. Love.

Heartbreak. Depression. Solitude.

All of them are important reasons.

But there’s something about writing just to write, writing to get the words out of your head…

Writing because that’s what you do. Writing because you won’t have it any other way.

If you feel strongly about something, then you can write about it.

All you have to do is silence all the other voices that keep telling you stuff like people…

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Just getting this out of my head

Okay, this post is triggered by discussions I have occasionally been involved in with different groups. The most recent case was a few days ago during a coffee break at work, and as randomly as coffee conversations go, someone began talking about homosexuality. Shockingly, the consensus seemed to be that homosexuality is a deviation from normal human behaviour. That it should be accepted upto a certain limit, but never encouraged. What this limit is, no one seemed to have an answer to. There were several questions raised – some of them I have faced earlier – which I found baffling.

So, in my humble capacity, here are a few counterpoints to frequent arguments. I am in no way an expert opinion in these matters, but do try to see what I am saying here.

Argument 1: Homosexuality is not natural.

What would one define as natural? There seems to be no objective answer. If, as some discussions tend to veer towards, one means it is a trait found only in humans and therefore ‘unnatural’, you can do a quick search on the internet. You’ll find good evidence of the trait being common in the animal kingdom as well. Read this and this.

Argument 2: God did not make humans this way.

For the sake of argument, I’ll suspend my skepticism in the existence of a supernatural power. How does one know how God wanted to make humans? Maybe some of the mystics would be able to answer this. I mean those mystics who themselves are not embroiled in some kind of scandal – I know that cuts the eligible pool down to a pretty small one, but hey, we’ve gotta have some benchmark here.

Again for the sake of argument, we do find such mystics. Let’s further assume God did not make humans this way. As a corrective measure, let’s revert all our behaviour to the way God made us then. Let’s walk around naked, not by choice but because God made us without any fabric covering our tushy. Let’s shun cars, airplanes and any other vehicle, yes even the bicycle. Let’s instead walk, run and swim. Na, not to become athletes, but because God gave us legs. Natural, aint it? Let’s also eat our food raw, because you know fire.. Manmade. We could write a series of books on doing natural stuff, but you get the picture.

Argument 3: The human race will become extinct if homosexuality continues to thrive?

Uh, seriously? Firstly, the proportion of queer population in the human race is not so high as to cause its extermination. And second, our race may in all likelihood be wiped out due to some other outrageous event. Like an asteroid colliding with the earth. Or a nuclear disaster. Or global warming. Or the games political leaders play. Lay people call them war. Let’s divert our attention to solving these problems please. Okay okay, the asteroid thing we can leave to the experts.

Argument 4: It’s a disease and needs to be cured.

Why is it a disease? Several queer people I know live happy, fun-filled, inspiring lives, just like anyone else. Do you think happiness is a disease?

Argument 5: We can’t let people do whatever they want to do. It’s against our culture. Our world would be in chaos without such social norms.

Actually, we can let people do what they want to do. As long their actions don’t cause harm to others, people have every right to do what they wish. Freedom of choice is a real thing, not some magical idea from a fantasy novel. Against culture? If our culture is so rigid as to not allow individuals to live freely and with passion, what good does it serve?

Let’s leave all these arguments aside, and just consider a simple principle. If you don’t like it, don’t do it, but don’t impede others either. I think Honey Singh’s music is trash. Someone else may think it changed his life. That’s how it is. I love reading the advertisements in the Times of India. You read The Economist. So be it. Diversity. It’s what keeps the world interesting.

Careful

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In response to the daily prompt: Careful

Careful,
think twice before you push that button.
It might suck you in,
the screen
with its rambling,
yelling,
screeching,
ranting,
demanding,
voices shrieking,
the tenor rising,
shouts silencing,
never stopping,
never yielding,
never retreating.

Even if you ignore
its incessant chatter
and build a wall
around your ears,
or learn to silence
the voices blaring from the tube,
someday it might be too much of an effort.
Someday,
those voices might just merge
with the one in your head,
some day
you might end up
with your bottom glued
to the couch for hours,
and your eyes magnetized
by the hypnotic screen.

Melodrama masquerading as entertainment,
Screaming anchors moderating a political debate,
(mis)shaping the voice of the nation,
Fists rattling desks,
Words just stopping short of abuse,
because hey, its television,
We’ve gotta be civil.
How will the kids learn right from wrong?
We’ve gotta teach them.
How will the nation know how to be nationalist?
We’ve gotta teach it.

At first,
it might feel awkward.
Relax, TV virgins feel that way.
It’s an acquired taste,
so sit back,
push up the volume on your remote,
soak in the spirit,
feel the adrenaline rise.
And when you feel the rush
so strong you can pound your desks and tables too,
congratulations!
The transformation is complete,
welcome to the brotherhood
of chest thumpers,
of angry righteous men,
of TV vigilantes.
Relax and enjoy the show,
You’ll be sedated real slow.

When you feel like this, my brother,
stand up,
blow a kiss to the television
and on bended knees,
sing paeans to it.
After all,
the moment must be celebrated,
the moment when
the idiot box finds another human counterpart.

So your choice then.
Given the reward at the end of this trip,
Would you want to be careful at all?

Baring it

I don’t mind being vulnerable today. It’s one of those days when I wonder about the point of my writing journey. Here’s what triggered it: In the past week, I received updates about the poems and short stories I had sent to magazines and contests. None of them made the cut. A few more rejects to file away with the previous ones. So this is one of those days when I sit and sulk a little. Wondering what I could have done better, wondering if it’s worth the effort, wondering if I’m chasing an illusion.

Tonight is one of those days when I feel tiny and insignificant as a writer. One of those days when my mind has shut down, when my rationality has deserted me, when gloom seems to cover me in its shroud.

I know such phases come and go. This one will too. I only hope the rainbow appears soon enough.

I looked through my poetry folder for inspiration, something to cheer me up, even give me a rap on the head and pull me out of this downward spiral.

I found a poem I had written in June 2014.

A sky of sadness has woven itself around me.

I have tossed grain into the fields,
the harvest is yet to make an appearance.

Years have passed, I have sharpened my tools.
My works lie in a shed, dying unnoticed,
Life seeping out of them through their fingertips into the earth.

Outside, birds make music, and in the nights the city dances to life.
I have been grinding my way in this well,
and still I am neck-deep in the water.

The waters have been rising all the time.
From ankles to knees to the waist.

A rope dangles near me.
It has been here since I ventured into this well.
All I need to do is grab the end and help myself out.

But that would mean abandoning the masterpiece I am creating under the water.
That would mean accepting an easier life.

I have to stay here and finish what I set out to do.

If I am good enough, I might create something beautiful.

Till then I have to keep working in this well,
even if it gets deeper,
even if it gets darker.

This is my calling, this is my curse.