Liars, every one of us!

 

Exodus, Gods & Kings

I was watching Exodus, the movie, directed by Ridley Scott. Many reviewers and critics believe this could be one of his worst movies. Well, I’m not sitting on judgement. I watched it on TV and liked it. I remember thinking of Cecil B Demille’s The Ten Commandments, where Moses was enacted by Charlton HestonPoster for The Ten Commandments and Yul Brynner was Rameses. I remember being completely wowed by the scale, the effects, the colour, the story. It was magnificent and magic. Did Exodus live up to that film? Oh well, that critique is for another day, another post.

The era of watching a film like this has changed. I watched the latter film when I was in school perhaps. I watched Scott’s film a few days ago on TV. I’ve grown, the decades have taken a turn (probably for the worse), in fact a century has turned from 20 to 21 and am given to thinking about this business of commandments and edicts and diktats and of ‘morals’, where earlier it was just a mythological film, to be watched for ‘fun’.

To be human is to have desire, greed, envy, hate, grief, pain, courage, fear, love and everything in between. We are human because we do kill, and we do take the Good Lord’s name in vain (for those who believe in God, they do). We do covet and do steal. We do have many Gods and we do bear false witness again and again and again. Come to think of it, I wonder if Moses today would install Evernote on his tablet and make a list of his commandments thus:
Thou shalt try and get more than 1000 Likes on FB
Thou shalt always get ‘outraged’ on Twitter
Thou shalt plunder, loot and behead in the name of other Gods
Thou shalt limit yourself to ‘x’ affair de coeur and not covet your immediate neighbour’s wife, only perhaps the one who lives 2 blocks away from you
Thou shalt traffic in humans above the age of 10 years
Thou shalt close your borders, erect fences, protect your land at all costs and shoot refugees and their children (and then post pictures of tiny little angels washed ashore dead, to show how intolerant and inhuman we are)
Thou shalt ensure that women all over the world are treated with disrespect and continued to be trampled upon
Thou shalt always ensure that inequality is maintained, the corporates lord it over each of us and democracy is just a sham
Thou shalt always live in fear and thus invoke God’s name in fear, and give lip service to love
Thou shalt be doomed to be called human

It’s a crying shame really of how we delude ourselves into believing that we are the greatest species on this Planet, that we actually are really nice people and that Constitutions (penned by crafty people like you and I) and Holy Books are to be guarded with our souls (uncanny how souls and soles are phonetically the same but diametrically opposite in meaning), that human dignity and human life is the loftiest among ideals that needs to be upheld, that love will conquer all. Bah!

Who are we kidding? You may think I’m just a raving lunatic who’s just gone off her rocker and is making stupid statements about Life without knowing much of anything. Maybe I am. I admit I  know very little. But hey wait a minute! Hark back to Time Immemorial. Has there ever been a time in Human evolution and history when we have not fought each other in bloody battles?Can you please enlighten me and tell me which period in human evolution can you think of when one race has not committed some sin or the other in the name of God? Or killed and committed genocide in the name of power, protection, or mere survival? Can you? I’d be delirious with joy to know that there was an epoch in human history where we all lived as One.

We know in our souls at the microcosmic level that we are not meant to be the ‘holier than thou’ kinds. We just cannot be. And as we supposedly grow and evolve and make progress we are caught in the spiraling fantasy of our own immortality, of our own ‘greatness’ which continues to manifest itself in outrageous acts. Can you honestly tell me that we are humane? Don’t you think too much is made of all this Love and service and purpose when all we really want to do is maim, murder, rape, behead, bomb, rob, have loads of sex and feed fear? We are liars each of us. We kid ourselves. We love pulling the wool over our own eyes.

We know that we will always be on the path of self-destruction. But while we journey on this long road, over millennia, some brave souls who knew “The End” was well nigh, they gave us inscriptions and commandments and edicts and diktats that they thought would reign our murderous spirit in. Hah! They wrongly believed that we would follow these to save us from our own selves. But we are humans. We have evil, greed, depravity, fear, revenge and everything diabolical lording it over us just as courage, love, grace, kindness, compassion, and all things noble hang in gingerly by the skin of our teeth. Want to guess who is winning in this balance of power?

We are liars, each of us. We’ve been lying to ourselves forever, and we will continue to lie to ourselves for ever and beyond. Till there’s no one left to lie to or lie for. Because we’d have killed each other in the name of oil, money, land, religion, caste, colour, guns, power and pelf.

We are liars, you and I the generations that have come before us.  We are liars, yes we are. We were never meant to love, we were made to be killing machines. And the worst deception? We will continue to lie to our unborn children and leave them with nothing but stone inscriptions of Ten Commandments and mythological films upholding man’s nobility when in real-time we would have hacked (literally) into his future with mines and bombs and AK-47s or what have you.

We are the carriers and storytellers of untruths. Because we raise our children and ourselves to believe, to hope, to pray, to be ‘good’ and ‘honest’ and ‘decent’. Then we do exactly what we have instilled in them not to do or condone. After Pakistan, Beirut, Turkey, Denmark, Egypt, Paris or every other place on Earth, we are beyond redemption. That to my mind is the greatest proof that we are liars. We’re doomed to be human.
Ten Commandments any one?

 

How much we take for granted!

Take for grantedLife is like a game of chess. We are constantly trying to outwit nature as we make our killer moves. We have such grandiose plans of “making it big”, “living with purpose”, “doing something useful”, “giving back to society” or whatever plan we come up with. We are so desperate to make a life based on our conditioning, our definitions, social mores, cultures and what not, to give our lives meaning.

But when you really really sit down to think of it, life is nothing but the dots that connect one human being to another and everything that transpires in the lifetime of that connection and the journey of that dot from one to another.

I realised all this because of something unexpected that happened. Just a week ago, well almost, my youngest maternal aunt contracted dengue. She collapsed at the General Practitioner’s clinic, my uncle rushed her to the hospital and we all rushed as family to provide the necessary support. We gave our time, physical help, moral support, food, kept watch over her and prayed. During the course of this episode in my life I saw something unfold. It was like a story being woven out of the cocoon of a life that had taken ill. As a niece, sister, husband, daughter or son, I saw how all these varied and multiple relationships take on a different hue when something sudden, unexpected and disturbing and drastic happens to our loved ones. We are shaken to the core. Life as we know it stops for a heartbeat, a heartbeat that’s longer than a lifetime. Between one inhale and exhale our lives come to a standstill. We pray for health, we think of life without that loved one, we face fear of regret and are afraid to confront the truth of our lives and holding on by a tenuous thread. Yet when the Earth is firm beneath our feet, we live life without a care in the world about the people we care about. They’re there, we’re there, and everything in life will continue forever. It’s like wearing stilletoes for 25 years believing that varicose veins will never compel us to discard them heels. Hah!

What do we go through when news of some imminent danger hits our emotional antennae?
For the son who is tens of thousands of miles away, there is worry, there is hope, there is prayer, there is a certain detachment(perhaps) as it’s the sheer distance that makes danger seem not so profound or fatal. “Everything will be fine” is perhaps the underlying mantra.
For the husband, he’s worried about how life will continue. Who will feed, clean, take care of all the nitty gritties? “Will everything be fine” is his underlying query.
For the daughter away on work in another city, the sheer paranoia perhaps mixed with hours, days, weeks, months and years of piling on the stress of her slightly dysfunctional life and the hidden guilt (my assumption here of course)  creates a tsunami of emotions that unleashes itself in the form of heart wrenching sobs when she sees her mother.”God I want everything to be fine” is her underlying hope. Relief, guilt, fear, anger, hope – it’s like a Molotov cocktail, fiery and dangerous.
For the sisters, there’s genuine worry and fear and offering of prayer that all will be well.”Hope everything will be fine” is their underlying emotion.
For the niece, it’s about pushing away fear and taking charge of a situation and somehow trying to bring about normalcy and control – burying worry and fear deep where no one can see. “It will be fine” is her underlying belief.

We take our lives and of those around us so much for granted that the mere whiff of an aberration – illness, a sudden accident, a death, moving away from a city, a fight leading to permanent “blocking” out of the person, “unfriending” on FB, ending of a relationship /marriage, bankruptcy, natural disaster – anything, just about anything related to those we know and love puts our lives in complete disarray.

I remember when I was moving from Bombay to Bangalore 15 years ago, I felt my heart would leap out of my chest with pain and fear as I had no idea what I was heading towards, and I knew what I was leaving behind. My friends, familiarity, a way of life. Many of those friends and colleagues I no longer keep in touch with. I have moved on as have they am sure. Many of those people I thought would be my besties for life had milestones in life – marriage, babies, promotions, new property investments, cars, new colleagues, new friends – that old friends like me weren’t on the radar. After all out of sight is out of mind. I tried in my own limited way to keep in touch and somehow keep the intensity of friendship alive. Today it’s dead. While I say I don’t care about those who don’t care about me, it still hurts. Why? Because a bond that was sacred to me and which I took for granted that it’d be alive and well and kicking, could not withstand a wee bit of geography playing spoilsport. Therefore the rest is history.

It’s frightening to feel the ground slip from under your feet when a loved one who was there like a rock suddenly seems frail and mortal. The possibility of leading a life without that pillar suddenly hits you in the solar plexus. Panic sets in and all hell breaks loose. In that instant when one’s entire life flashes by and when you sink your head in regret, shame, fear, guilt and helplessness, you resolve to make it good, all you need is one more chance. Please.

And then your loved one is home. You can exhale. The ground beneath your feet isn’t as slippery as before. Life is pink and rosy and you can make your plans once again. Your pride, ego and “life is hunky dory” belief snaps into place. It’s yesterday once more. Time to take things for granted once again, until the next time. Human nature is funny isn’t it? And oh so foolish!

 

3rd time lucky they say!

So I have been a fairly prolific writer. I used to maintain 2 or 3 blogs at one point in early 2005. I started because I had a crush on a young man who actually wrote beautiful blogs. Today he’s married, has perhaps one child, is an entrepreneur, perhaps continues to write, really don’t know (and don’t honestly care) and the crush has thankfully worn off. It hurt for a while especially because my ego was bruised. After all when you admit that you’re attracted to a young man who in return is just not “into you” you tend to want the earth to swallow you.

Thankfully that was a decade ago. I’ve grown (hopefully), evolved mentally, emotionally, spiritually and today I write differently. I guess my blogs will continue to outlive me unless the Internet crashes and we’re closer to aliens bombing us out of existence. Oh well, the ether trail is what we shall leave behind for UFO bearing aliens to find and laugh long after we’re dead and gone.

So here I reproduce a blog I’d written when Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal in 2009. I don’t think any modern athlete has had such great control of my emotions as Federer. I’ve written about him here recently and also about Tennis Life Lessons. Yes tennis has that effect on my psyche. I do believe it’s about life. And I reproduce it here because once again when Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic yesterday at the Wimbledon 2015, I was despondent and felt like I’d lost the will to live. That’s what Federer does to me. I prayed for him, I had mental conversations with him and I somehow willed him to win. At some point I couldn’t watch the match either. I switched because I couldn’t bear to see my heart breaking into million pieces anymore. I’ve pieced my heart carefully after so many heartbreaks including thanks to the young man referred to above, that I know I don’t have the will or the capacity to piece them again if it does shatter. I’ve fortified myself and I don’t, can’t, won’t allow myself weaknesses such as breaking of the heart. In a world where I’m alone (as are we all) and I have only my arms to hug me or my voice to tell me it’s okay, or my gentle murmurings to console me, I can’t afford to let my heart break. And Roger Federer almost succeeded. Well, that’s what a genius can do. My only regret is that I haven’t seen him play in person and nor will I ever. That’s a tragedy and travesty of my hero worship of him. C’est la vie!

So here goes – a blog from the past – but still relevant! Enjoy!


Rafael Nadal won his first Wimbledon crown. Roger Federer stood forlornly as the dethroned but graceful champion and king, and probably the best grass player in the Open era or any era, ever.

Lessons learnt from both players:
a) Never never never ever give up. Even when you think and the world thinks you’re down and out.
b) Focus focus focus. The goal should be unwavering.
c) You may be genius, but you too are fallible. (Check Roger Federer’s unforced errors).
d) Age may be in the mind, but it’s in the body too. Speed, agility, tact and some
skill can make up for solid experience.
e) But the hunger to do more and excel more is not about age, but ageless. It’s an attitude and a part of your DNA.
f) Winning is everything (whether you like it or not – nobody will remember Federer’s 5 titles, his wonderful strokes, his will to come back from 2 sets down. Only ‘Rafa’ ‘Rafa’ ‘Rafa’ will be remembered for the victory).
g) Winning may be everything, but lack of skill, attitude, focus and determination won’t get you far beyond a few goal posts.
h) Without consistency you are nothing.
i) Never give all of yourself to every fight. Do save the best for last. Ironically you may not   get to the last if you don’t give your best. So work out the math yourself.
j) Money is definitely not everything. It’s just an escalator to a better quality of life.
Now what that quality means to different people is different so let’s leave it there.
k) Being calm, unruffled and determined under any onslaught and pressure, is the mark of   a leader. It’s also called grace under pressure.
l) But a show of emotions by leaders and world beaters is also ok. It shows you are
human.
m) Never tread on people’s bunions when they’re limping. (Notice Federer’s ‘You’re ok?’ when Rafa grazed his knee and took a tumble. He didn’t have to enquire).
n) Respect your greatest opponent and competitor, never underestimate his ability.
o) Be willing to give it your all again and again. Yes, never feel defeated. Just an
opportunity lost.

No more. I just know that I wanted FedEx to win his 6th. I feel miserable.

But tomorrow is another day!

Why are we afraid of asking questions that matter?

Quote by Melissa Senate

Asking the question

We’re bloody complicated people. Hah! No kidding! No seriously, we are. We go about our lives in such dramatic fashion, but we long for a life without drama. Peace and serenity and quiet with all the money, the luxuries, the material comforts sounds really like a must-have no? What BS! We’d be tearing our hair out, dying to throw caution to the winds and just give peace and all that jazz the royal slip. Who wants to be a peacenik?! Hrmph!

Let me park all of the above for a moment and get to the crux. We spend so much of our time hiding from answers to questions that we don’t even know how to question any more.

|| I’m your wife, the mother of your child. I see red when I see you. I can’t stand it when you drive, or talk, or eat. || >>>> What am I really angry at? <<<<

|| You’re my husband, friend, lover and father of my child. I’m really tired of carrying the entire financial burden on my slender shoulders.|| >>>>Why the fuck can’t I just tell him to stop sponging off me?<<<<

|| I am a working mother with a hectic work schedule. I do love what I do. Thank God, I have a house-husband!|| >>>> How do I assuage my guilt of not being around for my child?>>>>

|| You are my wife and the mother of my children. I married you because I loved you. Today, I don’t care.|| >>>>You’re just an unpaid housemaid for whom I have no love, no respect, perhaps never did.>>>>

|| You’re my aged mother. You’re difficult and stubborn and you don’t listen to my requests.||>>>> I don’t mean a thing to you do I? Why am I unable to tell you that I am afraid that I don’t matter.>>>>

|| You’re my wonderful friend. I always end up saying yes to wherever you want to eat, whichever movie you want to see, wherever you want to shop.|| >>>>I can’t stand my own inability to stand up for who I am. I am worried about rejection aren’t I if I were to just be my true self?>>>>

I had a grandmother. In fact even two great grandmothers. They never told me to cut the crap and just ask the question. I never learnt therefore to get to the crux of the matter. I always brooded, glossed over, pretended. But I was always afraid to say something because it might make me look, sound, seem foolish. I’ve been in love so often when I was younger, and I was always afraid to ask, “do you love me?” and my fears came true. They never did. It was like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But that’s what we do. We live our entire lives disconnected from our true selves. Now in the age of smartphones, the disconnectedness is even more. Each of us lives in dysfunctional families, societies, states and countries. We see what’s wrong, we’re dying to ask why, yet we keep mum. When someone asks, “how are you?”, why do we mouth “I’m fine” on autopilot, when actually you’re burning with anger, pain, grief, disillusionment or what have you? It’s the same with everything and anything else. Do I write well? Will I ever write a book? Can I ever muster enough resolve to get rid of my insecurities? Will I ever be famous?

Questions that are always chasing answers, provided asked. Who are we kidding?
Why are we afraid of the truth?