Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Being Snowflakes

How do I be different? Hmm.

Isn’t that the ultimate problem that people aged 5 to 95 struggle with today? And why is it that we face such a distressing shortage of originality?

Why, it is only because of, wait for it, other people.

Yes, this bright green planet of ours and all the seven billion souls rushing about on it are so unbelievably desperate to prove their unique snowflake-ness, that short of parading around with a sign saying HEY LOOK AT ME I’M DIFFERENT painted on their foreheads; expressing themselves in their own, dare I say it, ‘unique’ way, is the only possible remedy they have.

And how does one go about expressing themselves? For me, it’s words. Like that beautiful song says: It’s only words, and words are all I have; to take your heart away.
In this case, it’s not just one heart but almost seven billion hearts, of course. No pressure.

Oh, but it’s not that difficult, after all. Have you heard of this new thing called the Internet? Yes? No? Don’t care? Whatever your answer is, the incredibly all-encompassing power of the Internet is right by your side (or your fingertips) as you kickstart Mission Seven Billion. How, you ask. Here’s how:
1) Written something potentially life-changing? Yay, make a blog.
2) Drawn something so beautiful you wanna cry? Yay, post it on Deviantart or Tumblr.
3) Thought up something profound enough to stir Aristotle in his grave? Yay, post it on Facebook.
4) Captured photos more life-like than your maths teacher’s face on a Monday? Yay, post ‘em on Flickr.
5) Got a hilarious punny one-liner that MUST be shared for the good of mankind? Tumblr again!
6) Designed something which simply oozes your glorious skills? Yay, Facebook can’t wait!
7) Sung a song? Danced a dance? Sneezed? Yay, upload it to Youtube!

Any other talent you possess? Anything at all! Be it tying your shoelaces in 2 seconds flat, or painting with nothing but a dry brush and cup of water- The Internet loves you! And you better love it back. Or it will destroy you. Bit by bit. Painfully. Heh.

However, the Internet is not all laughs and burps and cute kitty yawns. Once you get over the Heyyy I got 156 whopping likes on my photo of the moon! Or, OMG my video of me performing Gangnam Style got 394 views! You’ll realize that your friend’s video of him tapdancing on Rap God got 478 views. And your sister’s pouty duckface got an insane 542 likes, AND 233 comments. (she’s not even pretty, goddamnit.)

Because someone is always going to be better than you, smarter than you, more popular than you, prettier than you, or even more talented at tying their shoelaces than you. Face it. If you don’t realize that heartbreaking truth, well, have a fantastic life in your delusional little world! I hope your next tweet crosses seven hundred retweets!

Which brings us to the topic in hand. Originality. If there are approximately six billion nine hundred ninety-nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine other minds on the Earth at the present moment, and an estimated hundred and eight billion people who have ever been born (2011 survey) ever since the beginning of humanity about 200,000 years ago, then pray tell me, HOW THE BLOODY HELL does one BEGIN to even THINK of being unique?

Whoa, that was a rather depressing picture I just painted. Sorry not sorry.


Okay, I’m done now.


So is the word ‘unique’ a farce? A delusional, made-up idea to keep people believing they’re different? That they’re not just an echo, or a well-made replica of someone who’s lived and breathed, say, three hundred and two years ago? That the brilliant new idea they’ve just had has not been already thought of and discarded by another bright individual living on the other side of the globe?

You’re a unique little snowflake, darling. Nobody in this whole, wide world is exactly the same as you. 

You’re beautiful. You’re different.

Pfffft, rubbish.

Like I’ve said, whatever you do, somebody has done it better, is doing it better or will do it better someday. 

Tough luck, ‘snowflake’.

Tata, bye-bye.

Sheesh, when will this girl stop whining and moaning like Scrooge frigging McDuck? Yes, I know, I’ve been yammering along most morbidly for a while now. So yay, now for the superhappy supershiny segment of my pointlessly discouraging rant.

Kidding. I don’t do superhappy supershiny.

But I’ll try.

Okay, so you’re not a 100% uniquely unique snowflake. (I’m beginning to hate this word. Unique, not snowflake.)

But you can maybe, just maybe, be an extraordinary 99.99%? At least try to.

A/N: So kya aap bhi snowflake ho? 


Saturday, 27 June 2015


Haven't you ever been fascinated by a child? 

A child has virtually no fear in the world. He is most innocent, untouched and brazen. He does not take into account the feelings or the reaction of the person he is speaking to. He hates shamelessly, questions shamelessly, acts shamelessly and loves shamelessly. He isn't bound by society's etiquette and morals obligations. He is the speaker of unfiltered, unbiased, pure opinion. Unfortunately this pure opinion is perhaps the most virulent of all weapons. Of course people tend to ignore these remarks from a child. He is still young, so let him think freely and act freely.

 But as the child grows he notices how his words can be injurious. He is made to see that his opinion is harmful to others. He is lovingly told to not say such things. Two years later, he is sternly asked to apologize. Two years more, and he will get an earful about how he must think about others' feelings. Another two years, and he will be hated and abused. The child now comes to realize that his innate form that was adored and taken passively is not acceptable to those all around him. And try as we might, man is a social animal and we cannot live without a society. So the child weaves himself a mask.

 It will not be perfect at first. But slowly it is acclimated to the demands of the society. His feelings and his thoughts, whatever they may be underneath, are to be hidden behind this mask. 

Every day we put on this mask. Each one of us has their own mask. Some do not cover fully what they hide, while some may be so intricate that you fail to even guess  what lies beneath. Sometimes we get carried away with our emotions and do not wear this mask properly. Some people purposefully design their masks in sharp contrast to what they cover. Some people get fed up and stop wearing these masks. Such people are deemed eccentric at the very least. Such people become indifferent to society and walk around with their naked faces, proud of who they are. They may be loved, they may be laughed at, they may be resented or they may be scorned. But all of us envy them.

 Because this mask is nothing but a dead-weight; pulling us down, holding us back and slowly stifling us. We groan and squirm underneath but the mask doesn't let anyone see us. So we seek respites, a break from this drudgery, a fresh breath of air. We try to find people, with whom we are not afraid to take off our masks just an inch or so and perhaps more. But every person is different and does not agree with each other's stark nakedness. We can break away a part of our mask when we are with them, but cannot take it off altogether for we fear that we will lose them. 

All of us need to find a person with whom we can take of our masks completely and be ourselves. With whom every moment is a relief and a vacation from the artificial reality of the world. We are often distracted by those whose masks look good. But your true counterpart in this world is the one who accepts your innate form and whose innate self you accept. One with whom you can dispose of your mask and not be afraid to express your innermost thoughts and feelings. One whose unmasked form is not a copy of yours, but is the perfect balance to your goods and evils. 

Friends, you can take any great man in the history of this world and you will find that they are all good in some ways and bad in some ways. But the one thing they will have in common is that they have completely accepted their own innate nature. And despite their evils you too will respect them because they are the ones who understood their own form, honed it, polished it and actualized their true being. And that is the very purpose of this life. 

We have become so busy shaping our masks and have been wearing it for so long that we have forgotten what we look like underneath. We cannot understand ourselves. But that is what must be done. You should be able to take off your mask go in front of the mirror and know all the beauties and scars perfectly. For only then can you actualize your self and do your role in the world.

And only the one who can perfect his own self can walk in the society maskless.


Monday, 1 June 2015

I say WhatsApp way too many times in this one...

Hello Writer #1 (Sushrut) here, farting back to life. I just do this for spiritual reasons. Enjoy this semi-rant I wrote a while back.

Fun Fact: if you drop a large bowl on your soooooo-2014 smartphone sans the gorilla glass the screen will crack. In my case the screen became unresponsive and the cost of repair was deemed too much. Anyway after contemplating about which phone would replace this one, I began to think about why I needed the phone anyway.[Don’t get me wrong, I'm not one of those people who think technology is a waste of time and distracts us from the truth and success and money and whatnot. Everybody has ways and means to effectively “waste” their time. The key is to enjoy whatever you’re doing causing no damage (or minimal damage) to your fellow humans.] Getting back to the topic, I concluded that the major reason I “needed” a phone was WhatsApp.
 This amazing messenger app allows you to share racist/ sexist jokes instantly with your loved ones or bitch about your larger group of friends with your smaller group of friends. Basically stuff that was previously reserved for your family reunions or birthday parties is now accessible to you at the click of a button 24/7. There is an obvious danger of a burn-out, to the point where you can resent the sheer existence of a person due to their insistence on sharing pictures of cats. In my case, there is one big college group where the hard-working nerds would lovingly post all time tables and notifications with great tenacity and the too-cool-for-school humans would shower praise with heaps of emoticons and often swear words (eg I fucking luv u ;) :D ;) XD J :D ;* :D)  Although the group was majorly useful for people who did not want get off their ass that day or any day viz-a-viz me, it was also often WRONGLY confused for a social hub to interact with people you have nothing in common with apart from a mutual want of killing time. All-in-all the time that you save checking time-tables or other details is ultimately wasted in 3000 message-volleys about nothing in particular.

 Till this point, I could justify the use of WhatsApp. Then come the friends groups and family groups which I will avoid talking about due to risk of this turning into an academic paper. Moving onto the personal chats (referring to long conversations I have with people through this medium), it is important to mention who I am and how I interact with people. As a teenager living in a city who went to an English-medium school, I am most comfortable with English in terms of reading, writing and comprehension whereas conversation is much easier in my mother tongue (The irony is that I wouldn’t be able write this article in Marathi, my so called mother tongue).This means that conversation on WhatsApp is almost exclusively in English peppered with words from my mother tongue and real-life conversation is often the opposite. This is why I like to think of WhatsApp as the complete opposite of human social interaction. Personally, social interactions are something I like to avoid but WhatsApp offers a dangerously deceptive substitute. My conversations on WhatsApp can be summed up by “annoyed teenaged boy with issues that are the Indian substitute of white-boy problems uses dialogues he heard in Hollywood movies to charm or impress people he doesn’t even know properly”.

 This brings me to my next point, what WhatsApp has done for me is given me templates of what to say on what occasion. So if want to express my feelings for a person, I just whip out an excerpt from a Hollywood rom-com (or its Bollywood “homage”) that I have literally grown-up watching and have by-heart. Or perhaps I am trying to sound bad-ass, just type out a line from ‘Fight Club’ and I’m golden. This happens subconsciously but has a huge impact of what I think of myself and what my peers think of me. What I’m trying to say is what I say on WhatsApp is very different from what I experience. That’s not to say that the influence of movies and the internet on me is negligible in any way but I do feel that WhatsApp segregates a large part of my being, my roots and creates a pseudo-personality of sorts. In hindsight, half the things I say on WhatsApp are just me para-phrasing movies and books which is not who I am in person. Call me crazy, but WhatsApp will ruin any relationship you have due to its large disparity with real life, if of course you rely on it too much. 

 Post-Script (I have no idea how these work): If it’s worth anything, the writer would like to point that three months after writing the article he is back and extremely happy on WhatsApp and up to his similar antics. Let’s just file this under the epic banter section since I may have wasted a few minutes of your life. You were probably going to spend them on WhatsApp anyway. Peace.  


Ahoy there, maties! 

I am Zinnia aka Writer #2. Pleased to make your virtual acquaintance. 

Like I said in my pathetic attempt at a funny intro, I don't do intros. Correction, I can't do intros. 

I write. End of story. 

To start with, here's the most serious thing I've ever written. Enjoy, because everything else henceforth is going to be about as serious as a chimpanzee with a bow-tie. 

Sadness is rather an alien feeling to me. I think my brain is so habituated to rainbows and giddiness that it doesn’t quite know what to do when the rainbows give way to occasional dark clouds. I think of it as a tug.
Sadness is that inexplicable tug at your heartstrings when you know everything’s not hunky-dory.
That tug when you look at the wet, bedraggled sparrow on your windowsill and realize just how sad his eyes are.
That tug when you listen to the most heart wrenching songs you can dig out and convince yourself that you’re an 80’s tragedy star.
That tug when you think of how utterly carefree your life was mere weeks ago.
That tug when the book you’re reading pokes and prods at your soul and then abruptly finishes without even a decent goodbye.
That tug when your parents smile at you even after you have royally screwed up and you want to smile back but your stupid lips refuse to listen and spout some poison instead.
That tug when you see a wrinkled old man tickling a giggling baby girl at the bus stop and hide your tears behind your oversized sunglasses all the way to college, imagining your dadu nudging your side and telling you to “chin up, bordibhai, I know you’ll make it,”
That tug when you’re laughing so hard you think you may have burst a lung or two and your best friend randomly asks you what the meaning of life is and you falter—blink slowly, and then you both come to the conclusion that none of you really have the foggiest.
That tug when you’re lying on your back on a trampoline on a white sand beach next to a river, trying to decipher the constellations above—and you just cannot handle how beautiful life can be, sometimes.
That tug when you look up the lyrics of a painfully accurate song you’ve been playing on repeat for the last hour and a half and decide that the artist had been spying on you when he wrote it.
That tug when you realize that there are at least five and a half people in this world who would do absolutely anything for you and you wonder what you ever did so right.
That tug when you remember the boy with the crooked smile and golden heart and just know that it was never meant to be.
That tug when you come to terms with the fact that life as you know it is going to change very soon yet you desperately want to cling on to the slowly disintegrating strands but you know you can’t and so you curse yourself for being such an insufferable drama queen and hang on tighter.
That tug when you’re yearning for something but you don’t know what it is so you yearn for it anyway, hoping it’ll find its way to you someday.
That tug when you hug someone goodbye and suddenly grasp that it may be the last time you ever see them and then you grasp them tighter and breathe them in and tuck their scent into a corner of your heart.
That tug when you look at a lonely cloud shaped like a bent marshmallow and your friend remarks that marshmallows are the saddest things ever because they end up in an awkward broken state in people’s stomachs and you agree but you don’t want to because, goddammit, the world is too much already without marshmallows being sad too.
That tug when you fully comprehend just how many people in this world go to bed with empty, broken stomachs and look at your bowlful of maggi and wish there could be a free Maggi dispensing machine in every echoing alleyway of this hungry planet.
That tug when you look at the photo of a little kid surrendering to a camera she thinks is a gun and all you want to do is pull her close and cry and tell her that everything’s gonna be alright but you know it won’t so you just hit the share button, wipe that pointless tear away and scroll down.
That tug when you visit a home for the mentally retarded on your birthday and go around distributing samosas but all they want to do is shake your hand, beaming, and wish you a Happy Birthday and all you can do is think of the last time you called someone a retard.
That tug when you’re all prepped for a shopping spree and a little boy selling balloons comes up to you and tugs your sleeve and you finger the notes in your pocket and give him the one with the least denomination but look at him—he looks like you just gave him a million dollars!
That tug when you realize the world is full to brimming with broken things and try as you might, you cannot fix all of them because you’re probably a bit broken yourself.
That tug when you’re writing about sadness and your fingers have grimly decided that the list should never end and there’s a lump the size of Pluto in your throat and your nose burns and your heart won’t stop throbbing and the words are becoming blurrier by the word and you just…can’t…breathe
And that’s when you feel the Weltschmerz.

Weltschmerz: (n) sadness or melancholy at the evils of the world; world-weariness;
                             (literally) world pain;

Did you feel the tug? 
Here's hoping you did,


Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Side Order of Encouragement

Let the games begin!

Sirs and Madams,
This is Sanchit or Writer #3 from the first post on this blog. Hope you all read and liked that one.

As we said in our first post, this blog is all about writing for the heck of it; writing to put irrelevant thoughts out there and receive irrelevant thoughts back with the hope that at least someone somewhere will find it interesting or useful. Expect, perhaps frustratingly motley, but enthusiastic posts from us.

To introduce myself, I might be the nerdiest writer in the lot. I am a self declared Romanticist; my style of writing might seem preachy. I try to find meaning in everything I see around me and I write to inspire and move people. Sometimes I do it, other times I fail to achieve it. But I write nevertheless because it is not for me to decide how well I write, but for others. My job is to write. And so I shall.

In keeping with my belief to write without expecting applause, and my desire to encourage others to let out their creativity, I would like to share a poem I wrote, An Ode to the Human Flame.

This note is to all of you
All of you book readers, movie buffs, song lovers
All of you who have read something and found the strength to fend,
Who have watched a movie and never wanted it to end,
Who have heard a song and felt disconnected from the whole world for the moment;

All of you who have marvelled at someone's words,
Who have cried with your favourite character,
Who have found special meaning in a song that you heard
and felt that it was just for you;

All of you who have ever been moved by someone's thoughts,
Who have empathy in fiction sought
To whom these books and movies and songs have taught a certain truth of life;
You are special.

For you have read these books and watched these movies and heard these songs
And all of these have inspired you.

I beg you all, never let this die,
Let it live in you
And when someday you feel like writing a book, or making a film or singing a song
and you feel it might not be good enough,
Do it anyway.
For, I bet
Someone somewhere will read it or watch it or hear it
and smile as you did and cry  as you did and be inspired as you were.

It's a weight
passed on to you by those from whom you have been inspired,
And it is your part now to spread the flame and light up the world with your emotions.
And everyone will warm themselves to this flame
For everyone craves some heat and some light
And it doesn't matter how warm it is or how bright
A flame is a flame.

And deep down, we are all the same
And we all crave to understand and be understood,
To empathise and be empathised with,
To share a feeling with someone, even though you are separated by time and place.
To know what it is to be human.

Warmest Regards,
Sanchit Suri

Friday, 22 May 2015

First Post

This blog is a collaboration of three writers who have nothing in common but their inherent tendency of being insufferable know-it-alls.

In the following jumble of words which will pass off as our first post, we have tried to answer two symbiotic questions:

What do I read?” and What do I write?”

Caution: If you have started reading this post with great expectations of profoundly elaborate thoughts and soundly crafted opinions, kindly locate the little red cross at the top right corner of your screen and click it. Else, enjoy.

Writer #1:
Sushrut; struggling actor, only on weekdays.

Firstly, in my case, the term writer is used very loosely.  Some like to call it ‘no-nonsense’ writing and most refer to it as downright lazy. Very little effort or planning goes into what I write. Frankly, I am not passionate about it. Perhaps I write only when I feel like nobody in my direct contact wants to listen or when they only pretend to listen. I write only when I think an idea isn’t getting through when I speak about it.  Hence, my ramblings only share what I, as an individual, think about a particular topic or perhaps something I’ve experienced. I have never dabbled with story-telling for this exact reason. The idea that I must be in-charge of several characters that are part of the story and their vivid personalities sounds like too much responsibility. I guess it’s a simple case of lack of imagination. So, all-in-all, I write about stuff that I notice or experience on a daily basis and this blog aims to document the various things that either make me think or piss me off and often both.
As a child, I had a habit of reading one sentence as many times as required to completely understand its meaning. Therefore, I was most comfortable with literary material that just stated facts one after the other. I struggled with stories perhaps due to lack of imagination. Due to this, I spent many years avoiding literature of a fictional nature (or even material with vocabulary more advanced than mine).  Even now, I’m not one of those who get transported to a universe created by a book or a story or for that matter one who appreciates the beauty of a certain way of writing. Personally, I like books that make me think. So for example if I am reading a story, I look at it as if I am reading about a particular incident. Then if my mind starts to think of what comes next or tries to figure out what the writer is thinking about, it comes under good writing for me. I like to look for hidden meaning or allegories added by the writer. I guess it’s like reading between the lines regardless of the genre. Another facet of writing I enjoy is humour whether it is direct or implied.  I get very engaged in a piece of literature if it presents itself in a humorous fashion or even when it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Therefore, I must admit, my style of writing as well my trends in reading reflect my taste; slightly bland and simple.  

Writer #2:
Zinnia; struggling to fit into 10 words.

A good book is about as indefinable as a good friend. For some, a good book is one that makes them laugh. For others, it is one that helps them become a better person. For whoever’s left, it is one that forces them to think, to contemplate the way of things. For me, a good book is one that becomes a part of me. When the words I read worm themselves into the very core of my being and mould the way I live, or will live, that’s when I know it’s good writing. Doesn’t matter if it’s a frivolous comic or an intricate thriller; as long as the book makes me go, ah, I don’t think I’m ever going to be the exact same person that I was before I read this- it’s a good book. Screw that, it’s a great book.
I read anything and everything that makes me not want to throw the book out of the window and lock myself in a dark cupboard. Or vice versa.

What I write depends on what colour shirt I’m wearing. Or what I had for breakfast that day. Or even what day of the week it is. Point is, it varies. Randomly. One day, I could be writing about the meaning of life, next thing I know, I’m spouting crap about dead fictional characters. Whenever I feel like my head’s going to implode with the sheer magnitude of little thought bubbles, I pull up my keyboard or a pen and pour the words out in a massive, twisted mess. And try to salvage meaning from it. On the rare occasions that I do get a good idea, I stare at a blank screen for hours together before I cobble together something which doesn’t even remotely do justice to said idea. If I’m lucky. 
I write stuff that I would enjoy reading. I write things that would eventually consume me, if left unwritten. I write words that will do their best to make the reader fall in love with them.
Basically, I write for the sake of writing.

Writer #3:
Sanchit; struggling with struggling.

The reason for starting this blog, and any other form of writing, is to become a better writer. I am quite divided on what is the essence of good writing. I enjoy writers across genres and styles of writing. I sometimes find myself writing poems and at other times pontificating about current events. Nevertheless, there are certain things I like in writing of any kind. What the writer is putting across is definitely one of the most important parts of writing. People enjoy reading stories, looking through an eye-hole into another's perspective and escaping their own stodgy existence. I am most assuredly one of these people. But I feel literature that spins a beautiful story all the while subtly leading you to a valuable realization is much better than a simple tale. A good writer should have an interesting fictional (or non-fictional) story for the reader, no doubt. But he should also have something beyond that- a purpose to deliver a viewpoint to society. The greatest skill a writer can have is how uniquely or impressively he presents the viewpoint. Simply sermonizing to the reader is never gonna work. Presenting a fictional work or a compendium of anecdotes in an alluring and appeasing manner deserves applause. But if the writer is willing and able to use such a creation to convey an ideal or belief or value, that for me is a really good piece of literature. That way writing goes beyond simple entertainment and becomes something better. And while the writing and the message give you satisfaction, the vocabulary and the use of language is what seduces the reader. I'm sure some of you reading this will agree that there's a certain, perhaps egoistic pleasure in reading something very eloquent and ornately wordy. I for one love it when a book has me reaching for a dictionary. Excellent vocabulary is not just about using heavy, uncommon and recondite (I used this word to sate my desire for being wordy) words as much as possible, but using words that are the perfect choice from amongst their synonyms to use in the context. Figures of speech and detailed imagery may sometimes seem tedious, I confess, but it goes to show the dedication and thoroughness with which a writer presents something to his readers. Sure, conversational and simple writers are trendy and produce interesting reads. I myself enjoy colloquial and informal writings, from blogs to books. But, in my opinion, if a writer can spread his legs comfortably in the blanket of a language, he is indeed a good writer.
Like all fellow readers, I'm inspired to write like my favorite writers. I work towards it too, though it seems little more than a pipe dream to me. But regardless of whether I am awarded the Booker Prize some day or I live off the royalties brought in by my various bestsellers in the future, I definitely want to communicate better through my writing. I aspire to write literature that is erudite. each time I pen something down, I want it to show that I'm not talking about something vague; I want it to show a clear and well-constructed opinion that gets across to the reader effectively. Whether the reader likes it or not is up to the reader, but my vocabulary should do justice to my opinion and my opinion should do justice to the topic. Writing better for me is developing both my literary skills as well as a broader, more logical and erudite thinking. I want to write eloquently, and also write something that someone can read and connect to and empathize with. That is the most basic thing I intend to achieve.

So that was what we had to say on the topic. Keep reading this blog for more things we have to say, because we have a lot to say.

As always,