Glory of Word Throwers

The word throwers – are the ultimate and most socially advanced forms of humans – as far as subject of language and societal interactions and relationships are concerned. To attach no value to your words, and throw them at random and then keep repeating them to every other person you come across or meet or establish any relationship with, without any sense of guilt, remorse, worthlessness, or shame and without any of loss of self-respect – is indeed a miracle of sorts! Those who throw away words just for the sake of it, especially in close professional or business relationships, just to get by or get what they want or for the sake of making other person feel special or different to extract something from them and then repeat those words to some other person only to get what they want or get their way or justify a relationship to themselves, are capable and socially more evolved humans.

The word throwers are the awakened humans. Those who have realised, or were born with the wisdom, that happiness is the only pursuit one must engage themselves in and this can come only by attaching more worth to yourself than to your secondary existence i.e. the words we speak. They keep their interests higher than anything else in the world, and as such, are insulated from the shocks that life so regularly likes to give to its bearer. The word throwers are also more evolved in considering the word of the other person as worthless as theirs. Therefore, they tend to get in and out of life’s situations such as friendships, romantic relationships, love, business associations, promises, etc. quite comfortably, without any sense of loss or without any mental or physical turmoil. They always have back-ups ready.

Consider Presidents or Prime Ministers of strong democratic countries – economic, or cultural or military power. To get elected to the highest office – they must’ve said and made many a promises to their electorate, or said words that their electorate felt to be genuine. They would’ve all done so all through their political career to reach the highest position. How many promises are fulfilled by them? Almost none of the promises are fulfilled. How many of those words are genuine? Almost none. They have a tendency to make promises, give hopes and the electorate has tendency to believe in those promises and words, for the average person is more evolved in accepting the reality or the truth of the worth of the words. These people owe their success to the worthlessness of the words uttered by them, and their utter disdain for attaching value to words. Had any of them been a person who attached value to words, they would’ve struggled a lot, with their conscience, for contesting in the very next election and may have dropped their names from the election altogether, but we all know that this doesn’t happen and that electorate rewards them by voting for them. Again and again. The bigger the lie, the bigger the hope and the grander the words – the more chances of winning.

Those who consider words to be precious and as possessions that carry infinite value among all the items or objects or skills in a man’s repertoire are the less socially evolved humans. The love for words, their impact, their worth and the right place of saying them – it all means a lot to them. They don’t understand the worthlessness underlying the worth that they attach to their words they speak to people. For example, they give a deadline at work and if it is not fulfilled, they cringe and feel lost, while figuring a way to make the cut just in time of the deadline. They continue to struggle with the mundane business of putting worth to what they speak while others get ahead in the corporate rat race just by their more socially evolved skills.

The word throwers are leaders in politics, corporate world, relationships and general sociability. They find “love” everywhere and they “love” everyone as well. As such, everyone “loves” them too. The word throwers are peace mongers. They are diplomatic and versatile in art of deluding the other and their own people. They can do the Orwellian doublespeak and doublethink with panache and give a lesson or two to Big Brother in refining this art. The wars happened in the past because our ancestors took words seriously. The love stories happened in the past for same reason. Shakespeare could write a poison-drinking Romeo, and self-stabbing Juliet because in the good old days, people attached value to the words.

Future is glorious and all this glory belongs to the word throwers. There will not be major wars except against and/or among people who will attach unfounded value or worth to words of a religious book or a political dogma or those of a perceived enemy. In the world of word throwers, there is not a human being or a group of human beings who cannot be won over merely by throwing words with no intention of meaning them. As their kind grows, the world will hurtle towards peace like it never has in its entire history. The word throwers lighten up the world. They make it an easy place to live and eventually die. As the numbers of word throwers increase, there will be certain casualties. First, of the minority who will continue to attach value or worth to their words and those of others.  Second, of the poetry. Third, of the figures of speech. Fourth, of the tears. Fifth, of the good old kind of love too. Sixth, of friendships reverberating through ages, and many more such trivial casualties. In attaining happiness and perpetual peace, these are collateral damages and of least value.

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Project Book Begins!

I think I have found the theme for my book that I want to publish someday. I am starting a writing project that I hope will someday, in 2-3 years, culminate into a book worthy of publishing. No, it’s not a fiction. No matter how hard I try, I cannot write fiction. I have accepted this fact. However, I am an observer of seemingly mundane happenings and my project is about recounting the story of what is seemingly mundane. It is tied to a city and its residents. If the project is well on its planned trajectory for next 6 months, I will publish some of the excerpts on this blog, else it would be lost in my collection of numerous pages that I have – online and offline – of unfinished ambitions.

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Some Thoughts on Poirot

Disclaimer – I am a HUGE fan of Sherlock Holmes. 

Since, the character was killed by the author, I would relate my impression in past tense.

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot has failed to impress me. No, it was not his vanity that annoyed me. Most people, who dislike Poirot, they dislike him for being so vain. I would not term his remarkable and well-deserved confidence in his own abilities as vanity at all. I have purposely stressed on the name of the author in the beginning. Let me put it in another way – it is Agatha Christie who has failed to impress me. Here she has a wonderful and singular character – Hercule Poirot – who is dedicated to breach through the traditions of detecting crime by collecting data and evidence – and rather employ his superior knowledge of human behavioural patterns in different circumstances – but she ends up stifling the character and tormenting many great stories – with banal plots, banal words, banal endings, and banal structure. The general structure of the Poirot stories-as I noted is-

1. Describe the setting of Hercule Poirot – square room, square table, square chair – and only thing that is not square is the head of Poirot, which is egg-shaped;

2. Introduce the crime to him or him to crime;

3. Poirot goes, solves the crime, meets the client, presents them his findings – such as presented a lost letter or jewel or piece of art – all the while – without disclosing to the reader what he is thinking;

4. In the end, Poirot delivers all the explanation. This explanation, most of the time, is based on facts, which seem more like pulled out of thin air or a magician’s hat and suddenly introduced into the story, not introduced before or mentioned before, and shoves them down the ears of poor Hastings or Jap or the eyes of the poor reader.

Perhaps, Christie failed to recognise why Doyle needed a Watson to his Sherlock. Please bear in mind that Dr Watson is much better and stronger character than Hastings. I was surprised to find that in many stories he hasn’t even featured. Further, most of the stories are by an unseen narrator, which make the crime detection by Poirot more unrealistic and more based on stories created from facts pulled out of thin air or from nowhere. Dr Watson had this unique quality of walking the reader through facts or whatever he saw through his eyes. He would take us on sort of “sightseeing tour” atop an open bus to the scene of the crime. He would describe the grimness that beholds the scene of a serious crime in great details. He would describe the maps, trees by the walls, location of doors and windows, and layouts of the streets in greater detail. Sherlock, from time to time, would ask him about what he saw and he would describe all in greatest details not before Sherlock mocking him for not “observing” and for only mentioning the so-called trivial points. I have often wondered why Sherlock never appreciated powers of memory and sight in Dr Watson. Dr Watson would describe a scene as it was, which would enable a reader to start guessing the sort of clues or observations Sherlock will make. For example, if Watson described a client to Sherlock in terms of what the client wore, how the client looked and other such details – it would make me think on what points of the wardrobe will Sherlock contemplate e.g., thread, or shoe or from cuffs. Therefore, when Sherlock will give explanations of his methods, they never came up as “surprise”, because Watson’s details corroborated many of his findings. There was always a subtle link between Watson’s “trivial nonsensical observations” and Sherlock’s conclusions. In some cases, the reader himself can start eliminating the suspects or suspecting one of the characters.

Christie didn’t give that advantage to Poirot and failed to build the confidence of the reader in Hastings. An unseen narrator is as far removed from the story as a reader is. Poirot used his “grey cells”, so does Sherlock. However, Poirot’s claimed “genius” appeared more fantastic than realistic only because the scene of crime wasn’t explained in such ludicrously great details as is done by Dr Watson. Hastings singularly failed in this job of his.

Poirot always made criminals confess, which Sherlock Holmes “failed” to do – as mentioned by a reviewer somewhere on internet. I disagree. Sherlock Holmes is not only good with usage of words but is also a champion in taking a disguise. There is no reason to doubt that he can easily make any bird chirp as well but Sherlock is also a dramatist. He likes to build tension. He favours catching them red-handed deep in the muck of their crime. Poirot’s repeated assertions like: “It felt odd”, “it wasn’t satisfactory” distanced the reader further for he never really explained “what” he found odd or unsatisfactory. Sherlock was a man of data. He could easily tell about such odds by pointing towards the clues.

Moreover, Christie has also not utilised Poirot cleverly. In many scenes, Poirot makes no appearance but after the criminal is revealed to the reader, Poirot fills in the explanation taking clues from some such scenes. So, the mystery as well as its solution look like fantasy in a real world. The truth in Poirot’s stories is convenient and told in the end in a completely abrupt manner. Also, Holmes likes to reconstruct crimes to enable prosecution in court of law as court of law will not rely on hunches and intuitions of a egg-shape-headed man with square shoulder sitting in a square chair of a square room. Poirot is too lazy to do work and since more of his cases lack “outsiders” from the scene of crime – he feeds on a criminal’s fear, terror or guilt trip to do the job for him by asking pertinent questions.

An overrated character.

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Of Death as an event – Insignificant or Catastrophic

Last morning, at about 4:00 AM, my attention was drawn towards Death through this essay of philosopher and journalist Stephen Cave. There was one thing that caught my attention quickly as I read the brief bio of Cave stating that his latest book is titled: The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilisation(2012). I too have often wondered about the relation of the quest for immortality [which later morphed into quest for long life] with different civilisations and cultures of the past and present. I have written one blog post too about this sometime in 2014. I will, of course, be reading this book. Last morning, I read his essay and this morning, I am disagreeing with some of his conclusions, assertions and assumptions.

Death is a great equaliser. Death is perhaps the greatest equaliser. It is greater than Dark in equalising all the matter on earth. The essay takes a long and unexpected flight from what started as meditation upon death to musings on veganism and vegetarianism with Shakespeare making an appearance in the climax and then ultimately ending up favouring and opposing the two ideas that the author struggles to get through throughout the essay. The two ideas being – death being – insignificant or catastrophic. One of the most remarkable and thought provoking lines from essay is – we cannot stop Death from going about his business; and we oughtn’t pretend that sparing the ants (or the flies or the butter) will keep him from our door; but we need not rush to be his foot soldiers either. 

I have always looked forward to my death. In a way, I am prepared for it whenever it comes. In childhood days, when my mother will play a bhajan or gurbaani – they all postulated that to forget Death is to forget God. I have come to not believe in existence of God. However, Death, in those songs, was always postulated as a reminder of our limitations [before God], that life is false, a maya  and that Death is the truth, a satya, and that death of all of us alone is a reminder enough for us to be humble and full of respect for the other creatures. Hindu philosophy has greatly written on Death, and Death as the ultimate truth – in my experience – is taught/told to kids from early on. These meditations on Death led to development of Buddhism, Carvaka-ism, Jainism and many isms, which are unknown to world outside India, from Hinduism. They differed in their outlook towards Death and ultimately towards life as well.

Cave terms Jainism as anti-Death movement. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at this point of view towards Jainism, though not impressed by this bold conclusion. Jainism has divided Death into 17 types. Jainism has concept of Samadhi as is with Hinduism and Buddhism. Samadhi is practice of voluntary death towards perceived end of life. Death is glorified by Samadhi. Jain gurus keep reminding their audience that Death will come. Cave then turns to “terror of Death” and how Western religions promise eternal life to overcome that terror. On the contrary, the Eastern religions have habit of absorbing death as a routine of a soul or cycle of universe. In Mahabharata, when Arjun gets scared of going to war against his cousins, for he doesn’t want to kill them, Krishna tells him to shed this weakness, which is unfit for a warrior, for everyone dies, and so he shouldn’t be scared of killing them and that he has to become, as Cave put it, “foot-soldier of the Death” to bring justice to the society by killing his Adharmic cousins in a Dharmic war. Cave’s conclusion that Jainism, Buddhism et al live in denial of death is highly erroneous for he erred in equating aversion to violence as an extension of denial of death, when he might very well know that not all violence leads to death, and that Jain scholars did know that Death is always around the corner [No wonder they sat down and classified death types]. This kind of conclusion doesn’t befit a scholar of his calibre.

However, Cave did well to not “solve the paradox” for there is no true solution or every solution is true. In this immediate case, the death of the fly at the hand of Cave was catastrophic as it coerced him to ponder over Death and churn a 3000-word essay, forced him to recall his father’s anti ant-hunting advice etc. To me, death of my grandmother was catastrophic. She was, and still is, one of very few women in my life that I have deeply loved and respected.

To me, my own death is insignificant. I also believe, and perhaps know too, that my own death will be insignificant to almost all people I know for I’ve always found that I am easily forgettable i.e. my impressions, if I happen to leave any at all, on the mind and heart of other people wear down at a lightening speed.

Death, in the end, is bundle of contradictions and paradoxes – and this particular one is not the only one.

Death –

a permanent state of non-being

or a temporary event of being?

Death-

a beginning of eternal oblivion

or end of lifelong curiosity of afterlife?

Death –

as trivial as that of a fly on the wall

or as tragic as that of someone we deeply love and miss?

Therefore, Death is both insignificant and catastrophic. These contradictions and paradoxes add to the beauty and ugliness, glory and shame and enigma of Death.

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These days….

I feel overwrought these days. Not quite certain of what my mind is up to. It goes from one extreme to another like a pendulum in motion. I spent 72 hours without sleeping last week. I worked like a workhorse. When bored of work, I would devour the books. When bored of books, I would devour myself by standing in the balcony, trying to find something worthwhile to devour. I never did sleep for 72 hours or may be more because I went to work the next day and only slept, once I came back from work in the evening, and only slept for 3-4 hours before I woke up again to devour myself.

It feels that if I sleep, I will miss on to something. I will be left behind while the world will leap forward. That it will accumulate more knowledge, more love, more friends, more relationships, more wealth, more of everything while I will be left behind. I feel it actually has left me way behind. After months, I am again starting to have this phobia of losing out to world. While I crave to keep pace with world, at the same time everything appears superficial and everyone appears a cheat. My cynicism and my contradictions rest only when I write some silly poems or posts like these. I wonder if I should bother my readers with such distasteful personal state of being but I have no other vent.

The heart has sunk deep somewhere in the ribs and the ribs are shattered like a roof shattered in – a state of an absolute ruin. The only relief is that I am yet not seeing any images or listening any sounds, if one doesn’t count the sound and spectacle of vast emptiness that dances obscenely before my eyes all the time.

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