Message In A Bottle

“If some lives form a perfect circle, others take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss has been a part of my journey. But it has also shown me what is precious. So has a love for which I can only be grateful.”

Have you ever received a message in a bottle? Gone looking for it? Found one ever? Me neither. Have you seen the movie with the eponymous title? I have. If you like mush and weepy love stories, then this one based on Nicholas Sparks’ eponymous book is definitely worth a dekko.

I’d seen it many years ago, maybe a decade ago and I remember wanting the soundtrack of the movie. I’d asked a friend to get it for me, which he did from the US. I still have the CD and the soundtrack is beautiful. Check out a sample here.

So I don’t know, am just sitting here crying. I don’t really know what to write.

What do you write about love that hasn’t already been written? What do you write when you know you won’t ever experience that kind of love? A love in which you can feel so alive where every cell of yours is screaming for life? What do you write about when you see two people in love yet torn asunder for reasons unfathomable? What do you write about when you see people in love and not tell each other that they are in love and waste a lifetime of what could be? What do you write about when you know that all the love you’ve ever experienced has always left you broken-hearted but wiser (who wants to be wiser though right?) ? What do you write about when all the love you’ve ever known has always left you feeling you’re not good enough? What do you write about when you lead life questioning if a love that can take your breath away really exists or is it a figment of fertile imaginations?  What do you write of love when you’ve never known a love like that? What do you write about a love which abuses you, makes you feel small, threatens you, takes your heart and tears it to to a little piece a million times over, day by day, every single day? What do you write of love when you make plans of a dream wedding only to be told long distance that there’s another woman leaving you holding the sound of silence? What do you write of love when all experiences of love leave you feeling like you’re only meant to be used and thrown like a wet sanitary pad? What do you write of love that shrinks and shrivels your mother and you watch her broken heart and you know you can only perhaps help her pick up the pieces, while yours lie scattered about with not enough strength to pick it up and try and piece it back together? What do you write of love really when you wonder if the aching and the longing and the fulfilling of love is a myth and if it’s a reality why haven’t you ever experienced that kind of aching? What do you write of love when you know that you can never bridge the yearning across a room with a single look? What do you write of love which could make you want to plunge into the deepest oceans of desire? What do you write of love when you know that being in love can leave you feeling so together yet so achingly alone? What do you write of love when you come to believe that all that love could mean is a one-night stand every night? What do you write of love when you see the little light under Love’s door and run to open it, excitedly, wanting to desperately invite it in, only to realise that that was the fading light from a the door of Love shutting you out? Love. That big-big 4-letter word that makes the world go round. That one single word that makes sinners of believers. Love. It fills you up, it lights up your darkest times, it satiates you and also creates a hunger in you, the likes of which you’ve never known. Love. It makes you kill and it makes you a saviour. Love. It elevates you and it burns you. It makes you need with a ferocity that fills you with awe. It makes you whole like nothing else. It hurts. It heals. Love. It’s the fuel of your imagination. Love. It’s music and cacophony. It’s the salt of life, it’s the need for life, it’s a reason for life. It’s the breath of life.

I used to imagine that I would find a great love some day. That I was destined to be found. I found love, like little shreds of paper buffeted in the wind, snatching at what I could lay my hands on, only for the scraps of love writhing to be free. Yes, I found some love without. Only to understand and know that if I didn’t find love within I would never be loved. I learn to love myself, a little everyday. But I’d still like to be found.

So what do you write of love that hasn’t already been written?

 

The only home we’ve ever known!

I reproduce this amazing speech by Carl Sagan. It’s been written about, discussed, reproduced, played, heard by many on innumerous occasions. It begs to be heard one more time. It urges us to listen and listen carefully. I heard it for the first time during the course of the telecast of the Breakthrough prize in science held at this breathtaking venue in Hangar 1 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.

See it here:

Transcript below:

That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

Thank you Carl Sagan. I feel humbled. I feel like a mote of dust on the pale blue dot. Humbled and deeply grateful.

Enough said.

 

Try what you will, hurt doesn’t go away!

“I DON’T CARE!” Harry yelled at them, snatching up a lunascope and throwing it into the fireplace. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH, I’VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!”
“You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Well, let me start by confessing, honestly, that I haven’t read Harry Potter. Have seen one or 2 movies in the series but no, haven’t read the books yet. Oh God! Am I in the company of none? I mean who, but WHO HASN’T READ HARRY POTTER? :)).

Anyway, now that that is out of the way, please read the quote I’ve posted above from one of the most famous book series of all time, and read it again, s-l-o-w-l-y. It resonated so much with me that I had to share it. Last weekend, I attended a meeting. It was a Committee meeting of the apartment complex where I reside. Committee members help with the administration and discharge of duties in maintaining the complex and ensuring that it’s run efficiently. It’s pro bono work and everyone somehow culls time from their busy schedules to attend meetings, discuss matters that affect the lives of all the residents in the apartment, and minutes it, displays it on the notice board for all other residents to read and understand what transpired during the meeting and about decisions they have empowered us to take on their behalf.

In the meeting last week, my name was called out by another very senior member to be part of a team that was to oversee a particular agenda item. I didn’t want to be part of the team. When questioned by the senior member why, I said I wasn’t interested. But I was part of the Committee so how could I not want to be part of this, I was asked again. I bristled at the man and my temper was barely controlled and I almost shouted out my response: “why me alone? you haven’t asked these other 2 gentlemen sitting here, so why am I being singled out for this?” It was a genuine and correct observation, but the way I communicated offended and hurt the senior member. I realised it, but I couldn’t care less.

When I got home, I mulled about my reaction to this, the simplest of matters, or so it seems at first glance. And then it hit me. I disliked the man who’d proposed my name in the first place. There was some bad blood and history behind our interactions. He had hurt me deeply and behaved quite abominably and I couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive him, albeit I was civil to him. I know he tried desperately to somehow get my attention, perhaps my buy-in for his ideas whenever we were in a meeting, but honestly I couldn’t care two hoots for the slimeball. He disgusted me and so what if he was a senior citizen and had more experience and supposed maturity than I. Bah! I was hurt, and how ever much I tried, continue to try, I cannot bring myself to like him. The anger and the hurt are always skimming the surface when he’s around. The treatment meted out to me for not agreeing with this person seemed to be “my way or the highway and get out of the way” with not so much as a by your leave seemed high-handed, immature and well, ugly, uncouth and rude.

Which brings me to the question: do we ever, ever, ever forget the hurt someone has caused us? Who so ever he/she might be? Family, friend, acquaintance, colleague, teacher, classmate, retail store assistant, bus conductor, the guy sitting next to you in the theatre, the woman behind you in the queue, the cleaning lady in the toilet, your ma, pa, sister, aunt, anybody, for God’s sakes, anybody? And by that I mean someone who’s not treated you fairly, acknowledged your humanity, spoke ill of you or somehow crushed your ego and made you feel small? I would think not. Search your memory and am sure you’ll be able to come up with at least one hurtful memory when someone you knew or didn’t know made you feel small.

I meditate, I practice forgiveness, I consciously avoid hurting people, (even though I know I do when I raise my voice and sound abrasive or caustic like I did at the meeting), I pray actively for everyone and always try and justify other people’s bad behaviour. God knows I try. But when another human being and especially one you know makes you feel like you’re invisible, you’re not really needed or required, God, it somehow feels like you’re not worthy. That is at the core of it isn’t it? The worthiness of who you are tossed aside like some piece of garbage in a can. Can anything be more degrading, more demoralising and defeating and hurtful than being made to feel that you’re not needed, and no one cares? Even thinking about it makes me choke with emotion. It’s that raw. No siree, whatever you do, when you’re hurt and it goes deep, it stays with you forever. The pain may dull over time, the raw emotion may get buried, but the hurt, well, who’re we kidding huh?

Recommended: think of a fun party and what you’d like your guests to experience at the party. Fun, laughter, happiness, gay abandon, joy, delight, pleasantness, camaraderie, recall, great memory, a high, a certain sense of pleasure, right? Perhaps that’s what we should aim at when we engage with people on a daily basis at any level. Imagine life’s a party, yours. And everyone’s invited. It’s time to have a ball, now bawl. (Maybe I should practice what I preach first eh?)

Interstellar & Nolan perhaps offer us a glimpse of what’s true!

First off – no spoiler alerts here. Nope, am not giving away anything of the movie that others haven’t already done.

Secondly – please check out these interesting articles on the movie and make of them what you will. I laughed at some, agreed with some and went, “Oh God, never really thought of that before!”

 The 7 biggest problems with “Interstellar”
The fundamental problem with “Interstellar”
Why “Interstellar’s” ending doesn’t mean what you think it means
21 things in “Interstellar” that don’t make sense
Do not go quietly: 5 things to take away from “Interstellar”
10 things to discuss after seeing “Interstellar”

So I’m not going to talk about the cinematography, the holes in the script, whether Nolan is a franchise by himself or an auteur, a visionary, and what makes sense in the film or what is just plain BS nonsense. Well, to be honest, now that I’ve read the above mentioned articles, I do wonder if I got it wrong and if the film is nonsensical.

I watched the film on my own in a movie theatre last week. As I watched it unspool I thought to myself, where is Nolan going with this and when will the film “take off?”. Why are we watching Indian made solar fuelled drones and what not. Then during the 2nd half I was on the edge of my seat. When the movie got over, I shook my head in disbelief – Nolan had done it again – he made a mind-bending movie that was difficult for most of us to get a hold of. When I got out of the theatre, young college boy asks his friends, “So did any of it make sense?”. I smiled. A lot of it didn’t. But as I drove back and pondered about the film, my understanding of the film got clearer.

So here’s my take on Nolan (who I think is a brilliant thinker) and the film Interstellar:

a) The future of the world as we know it today is going to be arid, dry and water is going to be a huge problem.
b) Trees are probably going to be a thing of the past. From dust to dust and ashes to ashes seems so apt for this dystopian future.
c) If we continue to farm the way we are currently going about it, we’re going to be a mono-crop culture and everything, just about everything is going to be corn (as it already is today to a large extent). No wheat, no okra, no potatoes, no nothing. No diversity today rings a death knell for our future.
d) There are some things that we don’t have answers to and we’ll never know. We should just accept that humbly and realise that the Universe is far far far more powerful than anything we can ever imagine.
e) The instinct for survival is ingrained in us since we first came into being. That’s who we are, that’s who we’ll always be. We will kill if we have to, to survive.
f) We’re the only creatures who have the emotional depth. Longing, pain, love, separation, anger, determination, curiosity, the will to beat the odds and loneliness are not to be taken lightly. Connections matter.
g) The thin and thick of all technology is 0 and 1.
h) That our futures are exactly what our present is driving us towards. It’s destined.
That’s the Law of the Universe.
i) Time is of the essence. Whatever you do, wherever you are, time takes us in like a gentle and kind and knowing Yoda, only to chew on us and spit us out when we abuse it and waste it and don’t know how to distill its essence. Time is a very potent 4-letter word. Fuck!
j) Family and bonding with our parents is important. When parents go away, the sense of abandonment never really leaves us. Never ever. Eureka or no Eureka!
k) Parents have favourites among their children. If you’re not the favourite, it can gnaw into your innards till you’re broken. Of course you know that your parent loves you, but you have to accept the fact that you’re not the one. Devastating, true and nothing you can do about it.
l) Solar energy is something that countries like India will innovate in and maximise its potential to derive benefits in many sectors including military, agriculture and other sectors.
m) There is no other Planet like ours – benevolent, generous to a fault, matchless beauty, with everything that we will ever need. We need to safeguard it starting today.
n) Technology is important, but it isn’t the only thing that drives us. Relationships, experiences and feelings still make the world go round.

Yes. These were some of the things that came to my mind after I watched the movie. It may not be stellar and the critics can go to town about everything that’s wrong with the movie, but then that’s their job, to criticise. Obviously there’s enough material for people including yours truly to write reams about it. It has triggered a discussion. Maybe not a monumental debate on issues that plague the human race and its present and future and where we’re headed, etc. It depends on your Point of View doesn’t it? Nolan, I don’t know how you see what you see, but by Jove you and your brother have perhaps figured out deep insights about our time on Earth that’s almost prescient and chilling in its depiction.

Final word? Oh well, go watch the movie. Or not. But don’t forget to connect all the dots. And I mean the dots about relationships and love and people you love and all of that mush. Those dots when joined will probably reveal the ‘grand design’ of the Universe. Game?