Posted in Uncategorized

How do you preserve a memory

I don’t think we have made any technical advancement until we can retrieve a memory and play it on a screen — like a Penseive in Harry Potter.

How do you preserve a memory? Does going through it over and over again in your head, keep it as fresh as it was the first time it happened. Doesn’t time roughs it up a little? How do you make sure you remember every single thing about every single thing? I have never met anyone with a photographic memory? What happens to those people, do they remember everything in its entirety and exactness?

My mama has been battling cancer everyday for the last few years of his life. It’s gotten so bad now that all his memories are muddled. I don’t know why typing all this sounds rude to me, like I am making a mistake… But it’s the truth, everything is jumbled up in his brain. But, we and I still remember everything quite nicely — like not episodes but  flashes. We used to go to his house in summer vacations, so there exist 3-5 second clips of our stay during that time. The yellow walls, the big room, the airy terrace, the scooter rides, the visit to chaat corner. Not the entire event, but in bits and pieces. I remember mama too, I know I sound so dramatic, that I remember him and all, I remember him in conscious memory and it is not a big deal, but you know from when I was a child.

Specially the scooter rides, I don’t know what he did when he stressed on a point, was it a slight tilt of the head, or a click of the tongue, it’s difficult to describe, one of my cousins still does it. I hate this talking in past tense. I don’t understand it, but it is the truth. I remember more things, too personal to write. The tall frame, the kindness, the love and care — all this and much more surrounded by the yellow walls. This thing is vague, I know there is no point, I just want to write because it might help me ease the confusion.

Back to where I was.

As we grew up, we got busy in our lives and we no longer met everyone in our family every year, but you know that everyone is going to be there at the same place and you can have all those scooter rides, and softy and water park and elephant park and boating in Ganga anyday, you just have to pack your bags and catch the train. There is still time, we have to study for the exam now. But then the exams didn’t end and the institutions changed and now maybe we will never be going back to the same place ever again. The yellow walls will be there always, but the love and care is threatened. And I have been trying so hard to preserve that. To keep it safe. Lock it somewhere. So that I can recreate it again if we ever have a technology. But we don’t, so what should I do now? What if when there does exist such a thing, we have to choose only a few. Which one do I save then? How do I go back to the original file, feel everything so that I can retrace it. What should I keep, the time when I was 5 and jumped idiotically from my mama’s piggyback and landed chin first on the floor — I still have a scar from that, or the one when I did not ‘make time’ to meet him when he was in Delhi for work, or just the yellow walls and blue scooter rides?

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Posted in Finding Inspiration

Finding Inspiration #4: How India can do without Japan’s bullet trains

I am sitting in front of my computer thinking of words to write…

I am hungry again. I just had two sandwiches, like an hour ago. When I get tensed, I eat a lot.

When I was in Class 10 and I was worried before my first board examination (simpler times) I could not eat anything.

This stuffing my face development is new.

Food has started giving me comfort that I cannot find in words — written or spoken. The crisp wafer or the oily French fry tells me everything that I want to hear in the moment without making any noise.

My mother on the other hand when she is worried about something (which is rare because she is so strong) does not eat anything or cannot eat anything.

If I had to have an eating disorder, why could it not be the one that helps me lose weight?

Needless to say I am worried. I am worried a lot these days. I hate my mind, always over analysing things to the point that makes me just want to pull my hair and scream and ask it to shut up. It is supposed to be my support system, but it is my worst enemy.

Right now too, my heart is beating very fast. Words do not come to me easily at such a time, and I start questioning the purpose of this whole exercise. If trains in India travelled as fast as my heart we would not need Japan’s bullet trains. However, the only thing that can match up to my heart is my mind, which surprisingly is never tired. Always running mad.

After making that allegation I was reminded of a lot of situations when my mind was completely blank. I know people say that it is a big thing, but it happens to me. For a long time I do not think about anything, it is quiet and peaceful and calm. Such moments are prized.

Recently, the longest I went without thinking anything was 2 hours or something. It was in Andamans. The staying blank was due to no credit of mine, just the beauty and placidness of that place. Someday I wish I am equipped enough to write a travelogue so that I can keep that experience safely for myself. I do not want to attempt it even, because I do not think I can do justice to what I saw. The massive ocean, and the knowledge that you are so very small in the entire mechanism of things. When we were in school, there was a line in a chapter in hindi — ‘Woh drishya toh dekhte hi banta tha’ — meaning that only when you see it do you get it and I thought that this is just a literary device, trying to induce mystery in beauty, but when I went to Andaman I realised that the writer had not put the sentence there because of literature but simply because she accepted the exquisiteness of nature.

One of the days in Andaman, we were in a car, on our way from point A to point B — with trees on either side, long unwinding undulating roads. Everywhere you look there is green. Nothing is brown. Even the barks are covered with moss. Rainforest. My first time in a rainforest. Green, green everywhere. Wherever there is a possibility of of growth, there is something.

A sapling, a twig, a creeper, a big tree, a small tree leaning on a big tree, a small plant growing on the small tree. Green. The only colour you see.

Quiet yes. But there is so much activity going on at that moment. If you are very very quiet I think you can hear a root digging deeper into the soil, or a creeper strengthening its hold on a branch, or just a shrub finding more space to grow.

It was so heartening to see that something or the other was growing out from even the cracks that had developed between the cemented portions of the road.

Which made me think, how much determined we must be to destroy the forests and the environment, because it is so powerful and stubborn itself to grow on everything that is capable of life. It grows, unabated taking everything in its fold, it does not care whether there is a sewer next to it or waterfall — unbiased, it spreads, until we step in.

Maybe someday we will understand that we cannot take nature for granted, when it will be too late, it is already too late. Maybe someday I will stop eating when I am tensed, or stop getting tensed all together. Maybe someday we will have trains that run as fast as my heart. Maybe someday I will understand my things are so unrelated in my mind, and why I cannot thread a thought together.

Until that day, I will wait and write stupid blog entries that make no sense…

 

Posted in Finding Inspiration, Midnight musings

I don’t want to be the blooper girl

I introduced an error in a newspaper report that went into print yesterday – which is a sin in print media. An editor is supposed to pick out the error not insert any. We had to issue a corrigendum. I am ashamed. I always take care while editing, even minute things that do not matter anymore. But I do, because like I have said multiple times I love my work. I always try to put in extra effort so that whatever I do is good for the paper and my self and yet it happened. It had to happen, when I was adding the line something went off in my brain but I ignored it, it had to happen because people usually re-read copies but somehow that point was missed. I am ashamed that it is my fault taht something like that has happened. I know, for everyone it’s like a normal day in the life of an editor and yes I agree. It’s not the end of the world. Tomorrow is a new day and people will forget about it might have already. But I cannot, it seems much more bigger to me. It is an indication that no matter how hard I try, I falter. Unknowingly. I get distracted or I miss something or I just don’t know. Why did it happen to me and not the other people at work who do not work as hard as me? Do I think too highly of myself. I have found, proof-read, polished errors in copies edited by other people before – did I think no one will be able to find in mine? I wanted that to be the case.  I have let down the people who thought I could do some work. Why I have come here instead of scribbling in my notebook is beside me. The tap tap of the keypad is a better distraction than the scratch scratch of the pen in the middle of the night. I did not want answers I wanted to vent and find the strength maybe to go to work again tomorrow. I know it’s not a big deal but I don’t want to be scared of making mistakes. If I am then this will be the last mistake I will ever make and most probably the last time I learn anything. But I don’t want to be the blooper girl. I don’t want my life to be riddled with mistakes. I don’t want my career in journalism to become like my life – vague and plain.  I want it to go where I want it to be. More than often I feel that right now I am just flailing my arms in the ocean. I want to stop swimming and I know if I do I will drown but I don’t wanna drown. And I feel like I am just about to drown every week. 

And I don’t wanna drown. But most importantly I don’t want to be ‘the blooper girl’. 

Posted in Midnight musings

Tired but not sleepy

I am tired but not sleepy. I was sleepy few hours ago in office when I wasn’t tired. Work has been busy for the past two three weeks. Busy is good. But, too much good is bad. Hence, every night – tired but not sleepy. Which transalates to awake but not active in the morning. Funny how coffee/tea helps some people, doesn’t help me, momentarily yes. 

My body is a big believer of Newton’s Law of Motion (I know stale joke). If at rest, will be at rest. Workouts these days are so exhausting – every single cell in my body asks me to hide under the blanket and go back to sleep. My 50-year-old mother is more active than me. One day she said she would massage my back because I was stooping like an old lady, felt so ashamed. Her legs pain at times, when she runs around a lot doing all of our work, but her daughter is already 129 years old. 
I have had too much work since last few weeks, she has had too much work since my elder sister was born. How do mother’s have so much of strength. I was thinking about a time when I would be an adult, and live alone in a house. It will be in such a mess, even though I am a very clean person, not neat maybe, but clean. I don’t have that much energy as her.

This time also I must just force myself to sleep, but forcing never helps. The train of thoughts starts running at 1000 km/hr and no one can pull it’s brakes. 

I just told a friend today about how I would have liked to attend the Arundhati Roy event in Delhi, but I was not in the city. And there are many more things that keep on happening that I would like to attend. So I decided that the best way to make it possible would be to buy a helicopter. This year I bought a cycle and a car now I want to buy a copter. With this, my list of things that I would want to buy (if possible/make possible) stands at. 

  1. That abandoned bungalow at Kasturba Gandhi Marg. 
  2. That abandoned bungalow at Number 10 market
  3. Caravan
  4. Helicopter

Only 4 things. 

I realised another thing today. Whenever somebody talks about stakeholders (which happens a lot in journalism) my mind immediately flits to a  steak. And I get beautiful images of hot, steaming food. Weird. 

This is the thousandth time I have used the word. Weird.

Should be improving my vocabulary, but it’s stuck on those few words/phrases that you can’t stop using like – confused, anxious, annoyed, idiotic, stupid, shit, like, you know, as in, I mean, weird. I don’t know. Tired. Not sleepy. Sleepy. Not tired. 

Posted in Midnight musings, Random

There is a lie you partake in

procrastinatingtanya

There is a lie you partake in.

It’s beautiful, so much that you do anything to not let it break. It’s so carefully constructed that you can’t see the truth that has been buried behind it.

If at all, the truth tries to find it’s way out, you quickly find that beautiful lie and hide behind it.

I was a part of a lie too — so beautiful that nothing else has ever come close.

It was my seed, but two other people watered it daily, one more than the other.

It grew up big and strong, so big that it consumed me.

The truth came forward many times, trying to talk to me, but I didn’t want to hear it because of the two people who kept my beautiful lie safe for me.

I always knew the seed was faulty, something I had scrounged for in the storm.

The…

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Posted in Finding Inspiration

How to be a grown up 101

I have been very worried by the train of thought in my head which has been annoyingly similar for the last one year.

I try to push it away, but nothing has happened. Whatever I am saying right now is also very similar to what I have said multiple times before..  I am stuck in my own mind, the same things rattle my brain, making me anxious, it’s a vicious cycle. It has taken all creativity out of me. I think about only one thing and can write about only one thing the confusion in my brain. It isn’t constant, it comes in waves. You’re relaxed you have a good day, but everything that can possibly go wrong in the universe rushes through your mind, are you doing the right thing? Is everything fine? What will happen after 10 years?

I don’t know. When I was in 10th class I thought in the next 4 years I would have everything figured out. Everything. I always thought myself to be very smart. I am smart, you know, reading wise, understanding things easily learning new stuff and all that. Smart. Normal. Average. Not brilliant.

But, I have found something about myself which I think has contributed to my confusion in the present day. I was very naive as a child. I still am a different kind. But earlier I don’t think I had any sense of reality my life was me and my smartness and how things will be fine for me due to the same smartness. I am not talking about innocence. My sister as a child as well could always differentiate between reality and fanfare. Why could not I ? Why can’t I still?

For me now the definition of growing up is only one thing. When you know what you want, and you’re happy with your choice. I have seen so many grown-ups who have chosen what they want out of life which may or may not be fancy enough for us ‘millenials’ I hate the term. But they are happy with it, they care about themselves and lead a fulfilling life. And I have met many people pretending to be grown-ups who are never happy with what the have.

It all comes back to perfecting the self and everything?

For most parts I believe I know what I want and what I value, simplicity over bling, small over big, cotton over leather and other little things here and there. My choices are nothing great, or better than anyone. They are mine. Simple. Normal. Average.

And I think good I know what I want, and then the conflict arises, because I don’t know how I want what I want. There are various clauses and subclauses involved in the entire wanting of things. It’s not a simple want. It’s not always cotton over leather, some days it’s leather over cotton but then since I plan my entire life around cotton – I miss out on the chances of leather,or so I believe.

And again after one year, I am as far away from being a grown-up as I was last year. I.

I am in a hurry yes, anything to quiten the storm in my head.

 

Posted in Finding Inspiration

Finding Inspiration 2017 edition

I am sitting in front of my computer looking for words to write. Just before I started typing these words I somewhat knew what I would write about, the killing, the war, the refugee crises, the hatred in our world. I also knew that my inexperience will stop me from making an educated argument, but I wanted to attempt either way. Spending an entire day only surrounded by chunky, intelligent opinions, you can’t help but have your own very particular set of options that you want to share with everyone who ever wants to listen that is. But then I have a problem of being too shy? Or too scared to say something to discuss something with people. 1. Like I said I think I am not experienced enough to make a very strong point, I am still reading and knowing better and 2. I don’t want to offend anyone. So I stay quiet at times writhing within myself when people are talking with each other about something I want to talk about too. They do not care whether they are less informed they speak their mind, something not quiet enviable, but somewhat a strength.

I wonder what will they say, and then in my mind I say I don’t care what people say, but I do. I do so I don’t want to say something uneducated, because I do not want to add to the noise. I am passionate about a lot of issues and it saddens me that I cannot express my views and stand in support of what I feel is correct. So I read, and I read and then I read some more so that someday I will speak things which are correct, fact-based and important, I will get there someday, slowly if only, but until then I will sit in front of my computer and look for words to write….