Category Archives: Write ups

#11 Write ups – Being human (2013)

Have you watched the ‘Planet of the Apes’ film franchise? I find the concept of humans being dominated by another superior species very tempting.

But in reality, why exactly, do we control the planet?

Science provides some useful insights. Let’s visit our distant cousins, chimps. A recent study showed that our genes and the ones in a chimp are 98.6% identical. So theoretically speaking we are 99% chimpanzee and 1% human. All of it, that makes us human, accounts for that tiny one percent and yet it makes a huge difference.

1.Chimps don’tknow “me”

If you put a mirror in front of a chimpanzee, it fails to recognize that it is his own impression. It takes a chimp a lot more time than a 4-year-old child to understand that the image is not another chimp. Self-recognition doesn’t come naturally to chimps. And neither does the need to improve beyond physical being.

2.Chimps don’tknow “you”

We have achieved positive results in making them speak through gestures. Dolphins are even more sophisticated in this matter. Apes solve puzzles efficiently and can find answers. But if you put two apes together with a puzzle with only one of them knowing the method to solve it, the other one would not ask him the solution. And that’s theproblem. Unlike humans, every animal fails to understand the possibility of other better, intelligent mind. No laboratory has made an animal ask a question, till date.

And that’s how we evolved, didn’t we? Making a long story short, every new step was a question. A creative interpretation of a possibility! We make use of the knowledge bestowed upon us by our ancestors as a stepping-stone to climb up and move forward. We have learnt, not only from humans but from our other co habitants as well. (Remember Da Vinci’s glider inspired by bats?)

We very proudly assume that we control the world. But do we?

We are self-proclaimed masters of the universe. At the moment, here on planet Earth, there are just above 7 billion (7,000,000,000) human beings. But the number of insects is staggering. It is estimated that there are ~ 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000)insects. Imagine if all of them unite and plan a counter attack on us.  We are critically outnumbered and gravely endangered.

No matter what level we reach, it is essential to keep learning, growing and sharing wisdom. And very importantly, not considering any person or any thing for that matter, inferior. Because that’s a part of the tiny 1% that makes us human.

Advertisements

#10 Write ups – The Universe Is Expanding (2013)

For a few months now, I have been reading some absolutely random facts of the world we live in. On one of such endeavours of mine, I stumbled upon the concept of time. You see, The Big Bang is widely considered as the beginning of everything. What happened before The Big Bang? It is a bit complicated because there was no ‘before’ before it. Time is the result of expansion of the Universe and so are the spatial dimensions. Everything, every single bit of it was wound up together, compressed and limited to the greatest possible extent. And then, BOOM.

And so was our life, before we started exploring the world. Using media to connect with people and sharing information; gaining knowledge! Life, as we know it right now, has a different meaning altogether from what our ancestors recognized then.

Not too long ago, just a few thousand years back quenching the hunger and the thirst of our body, was the ultimate goal. Everything else seemed miniscule. But today, most of us don’t need to hunt for it. Not everyday. Our thirst is a different kind of thirst altogether. We seek – knowledge, power, recognition, status.

I can imagine how grand a Neanderthal must’ve felt on hunting a wild boar. The sense of not having to hunt for a few days was the greatest achievement. And not much has changed. We struggle to get ourselves up the corporate ladder and once we get there we feel relieved. But on looking at the larger picture, how much does the achievement of the Neanderthal weigh, today? And how much is our greatest achievement, no matter how great, is going to weigh, tomorrow?

Think about it this way – Britney Spears is considered the Pop Goddess, today. But tomorrow, when we go interstellar and colonise ‘in a galaxy far, far away’; do you think we need to carry this information over there? Nope. And we don’t need our marks in geography in our 9th grade or that silver medal and certainly we don’t need our followers on Twitter.

So, why do we take it so hard on ourselves?

When you look at the picture taken by Voyager I, the farthest human-made object from Earth from ~ 6 billion kilometers away, you can’t tell the difference between me and the richest person on the planet. You can’t say if I am wearing a Gucci or something off the streets. Basically you don’t care if I exist or not, because I am so miniscule.

Take our aggregate living as a grand opera night and ourselves as the double-chin-singer. When we perform, the spotlight is on us, and the house lights are dim. We don’t know what the audience thinks of the performance when we are performing. Yet we put up a good show, not for the people in the dark, but for the person in the spotlight. Because we owe it to him…

Our being may not bother anyone else, but it always bothers ourselves, our loved ones. We don’t need to prove anything in life because life has no hypothesis. All of it comes down to the moments that make us feel on the top of the world. We define our own targets and even if we don’t meet them, frankly speaking no one else bothers. And I think, considering the universe is expanding, we can forgo our puny imperfections and look at the larger picture.

earth-from-voyager

 

#9 Write ups – Jobless and (shamelessly) proud (2012)

Being jobless is the time when you have nothing to do. Absolutely true! But have you ever wondered, how difficult it is not to do anything at all? I mean just not doing anything?

When you are resting, you are resting. When you are watching the re runs of The Simpsons, you are watching them. When you are sticking a finger up your nose finding that hidden treasure, you are doing something. Doing something! There is always a verb in a sentence. Without a verb a sentence is incomplete. And if you agree to that you may even consider that it is impossible to do nothing at all.

Being jobless is the time when you have nothing to do.

Ummm maybe you have to check your facts before calling it true.

What if we somewhat rephrase it just here and there? What if we say, being jobless is the time when you don’t HAVE to do anything. It makes complete sense to me. Because in this short span called life, we never have to do anything! People may put some heavy sacks on our shoulders and command us to carry them. But we can put them down anytime. It is ultimately our choice.

Choice. A choice is what we always have. Decision. A decision is what we always have to make. No matter how much our teacher makes us do our homework we can choose not to. No matter how much our parents force us to take up a job, no matter how much our boss makes us do shitty work… We have a choice. We can always say ‘no’ on anyone’s face and write our own story. Of course it is practical. And of course it has its consequences.

So here I am, watching my favourite movie, sipping hot Bournvita in this weather REGARDLESS of the insignificant advices that float around me. Because if you have faith in the choices you make, if you have the courage to support your intuition then you can stand tall and say, “Fuck you. 2+2 is always 4 in math not in life.”

Jobless and proud: Yes that’s what I am. And that’s what I am always going to be. Because whatever I will do, it won’t be a job given by a random Armani wearing guy. It will be something I have accepted to do. It won’t be an accident. It will be my self-written-destiny… And when you do something you really want to do, when you pour your heart into it, you become good at it and most importantly, find happiness!

Note: For all those who think this just looks good on paper not in reality, the last line in the second last para is for you. (Shamelessly)

#8 Write ups – Adapt. In Multiples. (2012)

If the balance sheet tallies at the end of the year without any hassle– they party. But it doesn’t happen always…

Turning 20 is sort of sort of sort of…  a paradigm shift. It is this fancy line that you cross (willingly or unwillingly) and then you are ready to embrace life. The way people react to it really makes me feel that after 20 your brain emits these super neural signals that equip you with

Option A. Ultrasonic audibility – so that you can hear what they just say in their mind and act in the suitable way

Option B. Two extra hands (Devi style, sprouting from your armpits) – for extra involuntary work

Option C. The John Travolta smile – embrace life, remember? To be content with what may come along

And you know what? THEY are right. You build your arsenal slowly. But eventually you find yourself upgraded with these weapons at your hand. (putyournamehere) Volume 2.o

Darwin (held up by his Dumbledore-like beard) suggested that humans evolved from animals. We developed our advanced methods, rules and system en route. And to make the never-ending story short, we are at the top of the food chain (figuratively of course) because we are good at adjusting to the environment. We are adroit at calculating thecompound interest on our investment in any manner.

Any manner, absolutely

Yesterday, today and tomorrow – three entities separated by merely anything. It just takes a moment for today to transform into yesterday. Doesn’t this scare you? I mean the whole concept of IS being just another WAS, in a jiffy?

The song which once upon a time was our ringtone, is now not even in our memory card. The people without whom we thought life was impossible are just another chapter in our love story. Why talk about others, we look at our favourite pictures and proclaim that we looked different then. Our own emotions become a joke for us.

Why?

Because they are ‘Yesterday’. And we are ‘Today’. But ‘Tomorrow’ for someone we will be ‘Yesterday’. And we wont be worth a penny.

If the balance sheet tallies at the end of the year without any hassle– they party. But it doesn’t happen always. Simply because we forget to count those things, which actually count. Those intangible assets of ours… Goodwill – the chapter that we all skip in our accounts paper. We keep scratching our heads, adding and subtracting again and again and again. And we can’t find out what went wrong. Tedious calculations and our advanced methods are not enough to solve the most complex problems. Therefore common sense, free will and a good sense of humour have their own importance.

#7 Write up – Swimming with the sharks

You meet some people in every walk of your life who by default consider themselves as the high authority in the subject matter of nitpicking. I am talking about your school art teacher who knew alphabets from ‘C’ to ‘F’ when it came down to giving you your grades. That squeaky-pale-white tall “friend” of yours who chose not to congratulate you on your results. Instead preferred praising your luck, every time.

These are the people that haunt you even in your dreams in their shark-avatar with their razor sharp remarks. They belong to the school of thought that believes in turning you into a scrambled egg because you are late. Their university also offers crash courses in shrugging their shoulders for you coming early. Mistake is the permanent tag attached to your name.

Adding extra itch in the crotch to my discomfort, every creative field is fully filled with sharky water. Having no well-defined rights and wrongs gives them the divine right to scrutinise all that I’ve been upto. The power of their eye surprises me as it catches only the slightest of (what they may consider as an) error and not the hundreds of positives that exceed their expectations. These certain gestures are sure enough to wake a volcano in deep slumber up. But I have a slightly different shade.

Well, some may get drifted away with the spontaneous thought of indulging into a ping-pong game with their you-know-what, but not me. As a kid, on my imaginary trip to the Tibet based Buddhist monastery, I had taken the solemn oath of emancipating myself from all evil thoughts. By force, I am liable to keep a fake yet soothing smile on my face even when cakes of cow-dung are being smashed on it. Living in a country that stands as the epitome of peace and ever-triumphing truth, I am bound to term every comment made on me as constructive criticism, contributing towards making me a better human being.

Now, chucking all the word arsenal aside let me come to the point. There are two kinds of people in the world – the ones who believe in DOING something and the ones who believe in SCREWING something. Doers have a tendency of doing everything without the slightest thought of what the other half will think about it. They just do it, and keep doing it regardless of the result being good, bad or shameful. The screwers on the contrary keep screwing up in the things they do. So they have this disgruntled sensation in their minds that nobody else can do it as well. They keep screwing up the peace of mind of others.

You get angry when you don’t know if what you did was right or wrong. But when youknow for sure that you knew what you were doing, you have no reason to be angry. Just a small reason to smile. That now you know who has been DOing whom and who has been SCREWing whom. (If you get the joke)

P.S The above content is entirely fictional. Any relevance to living or dead is supposed to be treated as mere coincidence. And if you don’t believe me, I am not a good liar anyway 😛

#6 Write up – Deep impact (2013)

As kids when we took our first steps, we had our dear ones clapping their hands, cheering for us. Even though we were the ones taking all the efforts, a little appreciation played an important role. On the flip side, if the efforts are not aided by encouragement but criticized consistently there is a high chance of the kid having a limp for a long time.

A seed contains all the essentials to grow up and become a lush green tree. Yet it needs to be sown at the right place. It craves for a fair deal of water and plant food, the heavenly warmth of rising Sun and a little nurture! Now the problem is, the seed cannot compromise for a shrub or a vine if it doesn’t receive adequate nourishment. It is destined to become a grand tree, or nothing.

No matter how different we seem from the rest of the world. After all, we are material things! We can be easily torn but not easily mended. A nonchalant remark by someone close, a pitiful laughter in a small audience, minor embarrassment in public cast a shadow so dark that eclipses one’s entire life.

At a certain age, a person resembles wet clay. Never again will there be so much change and development happening so fast in such a short time. This is the time when rights and wrongs are yet to be defined. This is the time when rigid opinions are not yet sealed. And that is what makes one so vulnerable. So vulnerable to absolutely everything happening around him… And right then every small twitch appears to be the end of the world.

For some, these scars simply act as the painful reminders of all bad that has been and all good that has disappeared. But there exists a minority. A minority, that has declined to bow down due to momentary disappointments. Instead they’ve learnt to convert their memories into an immense power. The power when projected adroitly makes them immune to all stumbling blocks heading their way! The minority that wears these scars as medallions of war are the ones who have no regrets, no remorse; only the final laugh.

If at all there is anything that separates us from the rest of the world then it is undoubtedly our attitude. There are always two parts of the situation – the situation and our reaction to the situation. And our reaction weighs more than anything else. It is perfectly normal to get depressed. But after all is said and done, past is supposed to be treated as past and not as an anchor holding us back. Rather it should be the catapult giving us all the necessary boost to soar high in the sky.

If we perceive the world we choose to perceive

If we make the truth from what we believe

We take the paths our hearts point at

We travel the world with morals intact,

Leave judgment of others to themselves

And take our opinion as a fact

Then that’s what causes a deep impact

#4 Write up – Absolutely free (2013)

Some say best things in life are free. Well, I wouldlike to meet those ‘some’ and so very generously ask for a cheque (as they willno longer need any monetary backing, knowing whatever they require is lyingright outside their doorstep with a free label on it!) If and only if I happento find some canonised saint of this kind, I will believe so.

Starting from a tissue and going all the way up to asquare foot in Cuffe Parade, everything has a price. If we look close enough,we are surrounded by things that are eyeing our bank balance all the time! Newbatteries for the alarm clock, the plumber visiting this afternoon to fix theleaking tap, Internet subscriptions, bike services, upcoming anniversary of ourfolks, overdue haircuts… And what not!

But what about the things that matter the most?

1.     A smile?

2.     A hug from your best pal?

3.     A peaceful sleep at the end of the day?

4.     A kiss?

 

Aren’t these intangible small things amounting morethan anything materialistic, free?

To be very frank, NO.

We have to let go of lots of tears to earn a smile. Wehave to forget ourselves and be a true friend to earn a hug. We need to workhard throughout the day to earn a peaceful sleep. And we need to know a realdeal of cheesy lines to earn a kiss. (Well, that’s the way it is!)

So, would I be on the right track if I say that absolutelynothing is free, you have to earn it? Maybe not always by exchanging it forcash. But by putting in right amount of dedication, hard work and most of all,faith. By investing time in it and being persistent towards it. No blessing isbestowed upon someone without penance.

A Ferrari may not be the best thing in the world. But aFerrari earned by working hard day by day, everyday; looking at the giantposter on the wall before going to bed and saying, ‘someday!’ When a wearytraveller nudging inch by inch towards his stallion finally gets to hear thesound of the throttle, there is no other feeling greater than it. And that isthe best thing in the world. A Ferrari well deserved.

(However the smile that follows that sense of achievementis absolutely free)  

#5 Write up – My last relationship (2012)

December always derives the best out of you. It is not just any other month. It is different! Not just in a singular way but by many if not all means.

 

The jackets, which cost you a little fortune come into play.

 

You have those starry nights to accompany you.

 

And you start getting the pure but rare satisfaction of optimising something! Your calendar!

 

I mean don’t you feel overly proud of yourself when you realise that you’ve had a yearlong relationship with the calendar?

 

The calendar! It keeps dangling on the wall all the time. Except the times you choose to take it off and flip it over. Probably just… 11 times every year? When you think of it that way, a year sounds so… quick! We keep thinking that it was just yesterday when we had an awesome New Years party till the time we realise that the next New Years party is, ‘Ow, tomorrow!’

 

We measure length in inches, mass in ounces, universe in lightyears and our life in calendars. Suppose I collect each and every day of my life that I’ve lived. Ummm… It will be a collection of say, 20 calendars. That’s all. All of my life summarised without even missing a day! I know on which day I had a holiday, when was the first lunar eclipse of my life, low tide, high tide and all sorts of pieces which when put together form my life. Voila! My biography is published!

 

Till now, I have stockpiled 20 calendars. How many more can I possibly accumulate? Forty calendars? Sixty calendars? Eighty, max? And then that’s all! It becomes all so scary you know. Like so fast! Like all of these ups and downs and twists and turns and someday, all that it turns out to be, is a bunch of calendars. All that I’ve earned, all that I have spent… Is This. Period.

 

Just imagine yourself. Old… So old that it is impossible for you to imagine anything older than you. And you are surrounded by all the calendars you’ve lived. And in your hand you have your last calendar. And you realise that the next New Years party is, “Ow, tomorrow!”

 

What will you do?

Where will you go?

If you know

That there is no tomorrow..?

 

We keep the calendar dangling on wall most of the time. Except the times we choose to take it off and flip it over. And the sad part is we just flip it over 11 times a year. We don’t consider just looking at the dates that have passed. We don’t take a pause to count the moments, which made us laugh, made us cry… Which made us sad, or dance with joy.

 

Some things are just not valued when we have time. We keep thinking that we’ll have another chance at them in future. But the future falls short for so many chances. You tell me, won’t you lay your head on your mother’s lap… Won’t you audition for that dance show in college… Won’t you order the dessert first? If you know that there is no tomorrow?

 

If we treat every relationship as if it were the last, we pour everything to make it work. So I’ve thought of not attending the Masquerade Party this year. It seems like I want to skip the main course and have what actually counts. The dessert.

#3 Write up – Halfway across (2013)

For the first time in a long while, we had the windows of our van open; an unlikely gesture for a bunch of tourists in Kolkata these days. But the setting Sun on Howrah Bridge never fails to allure travellers in the search of the picturesque. Clouds owned the sky but the encroaching Sun shined amongst them; made his mark. As I turned my head forward; I saw the slowly illuminating, unexplored world. There I had new buildings, new sights, new adventures and countless possibilities emerging whole-heartedly. Then I looked back and watched my known realm drift away. And then an old question popped up-

“When on a bridge, when exactly do you step out of one end and enter another… When do you leave the old world behind and move into the new one… At what point do you cross over… When, exactly?”

In Mumbai there are bridges connecting the east and the west sides of a precinct. As a kid, while coming back home I used to count the steps while climbing up and coming down. I knew the bridge so well that I would stop at one particular point and I knew, that after this point, I would cross over. I used to stand with my legs wide apart and claim of being at two places at once. I had the best of both the worlds.

But not all bridges have traffic flowing from both ends. Oh, not the conventional ones, but others. The smoke comes out of a cigarette, but never goes back in. When a vase breaks, the pieces cannot be put back together. A butterfly cannot go back in the cocoon it came from. And that’s what makes the halfway point so important! There is no turning back! The point when you are just about to cross over but you haven’t, yet.

Imagine the moment, 98degree Celsius, when water prepares itself to sublime into vapour, but it has not changed yet. There is so admirable vibrancy over there, so much energy, so much potential. One simply cannot understand such an event unless he experiences it. And that’s why I do understand it,right now!

Here I stand, exactly halfway across the bridge, when I’m about to enter the final year of schooling and I know that my education has merely begun; I feel like a bird, standing on the ledge and about to take his very first flight. I am as scared as a kid would be when he had to leave his world, his mother, behind to enter a new world. I am as excited as butterfly to break free from the cocoon.

I am going to keep the windows open now; it is about to dawn on me. As I turn my head forward, I see a slowly illuminating, unexplored world. There I have new buildings, new sights, new adventures and countless possibilities emerging whole-heartedly. When I look back I have my past, slowly drifting away. I am a boy on the start of a long journey whose conclusions are uncertain.  And I hope.., I can make it across the bridge.

#2 Write up – Just Another Heroic Tale (2013)

It is a funny thing, ‘change’. Not the long-lasting, permanent change. But that slight detour which makes you stroll awayfrom your natural way. Making you realize that there is so muchnew,other than what you knew. Change, is not so bad.

Shopping and I do not belong in the same sentence. But then wemen are often gently asked to change by womenAnd although changing clothes would not actually change who we are, the determination of a dyed-in-the-wool woman remains unchanged.

So I found myself in the epitome of where-not-to-be– Colaba market. Where I was introduced to the feminine superpower offending the perfect top in a labyrinth of vibrancy. And the four-dimensional bag that fits every damn thing without making a show of it. Where does the stuff go? I watched in awe.

I enjoyed my role of a sidekick, till the point I saw a really cool Superman tee.I was looking for one since a while, but could never find the perfect one. But every superhero tale needs a good old-fashioned villain – the sales guy!Quoting a whopping 550 for a regular tee.

Too much for a piece off the streets, right?

I wasn’t quite happy. I like one thing, just one, and why does it have to be so impossible?

Andat that exact moment, she appeared. She stood right in front of me, blocking the Sun. And then she engaged into a gory battle of bargaining. The sales guy was good. But she tackled his every attack by saying, “Kya Bhaiyya…” Ultimately,the tee was in for a hundred bucks. I had tears of joy in my eyes. And though I wore the Superman tee. I felt like more Lois Lane.

Wait a second…

Aren’twe boys meant to dominate all the scenes?

I realized that sometimes the toughest of us act like a moody princess. And we wait for our knight in shining armour to rescue us. And there is nothing wrong over there. It might be a little different from our regular stories but what the hell, change is not so bad.

Note: Hey, what do you expect? I am a filmmaker. I exaggerate for a living.