Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The land of perfection – A thought that I’ve pondered over for more than a year now.

I try and imagine what it might be like to be in such a place. Everything would be as it should be – glittering, flawless and untouchable. The natives of this land would also be perfect. Everything they want would land on their laps, negativity would be nonexistent. They would all live lives of success, beauty and wealth. Around every corner there would perfection would just be lying free– for anybody to take. In fact, the residents of this land would be so perfect that they would have nothing to yearn for – no desires no hopes for a better tomorrow, no ambitions or journeys.

In this land, everyone would sleep an undisturbed, peaceful night. Nothing would hamper their calm, nor give them the sweet pleasure of being somewhere else, albeit for a span of 8 hours. They would have no dreams. They would have nowhere to go to be anybody or anything they want unhindered by the laws of nature. The people there would just exist, day in and day out, for the sake of living absolutely devoid of any drive or motivation whatsoever.

Is that really perfection?

So often, when we, mere mortals, lust for perfection in every form, we fail to realize what emptiness that object of our desire would bring us. A life of empty fulfillment, a life where we no longer dream! The very thought is inconceivable. How can something be perfect if it is flawed in such an essential aspect of its being? Dreams and hopes are what make us human. They are the basic ground for existence and all of humanity thrives on them. Without ambition, life would be at the pinnacle of ennui and just not worth living.

If we, from the ordinary, flawed earth went to this land of perfection, we would inevitably be bored and tired of its monotony and ordinary nature. We would then be yearning to return to the very place we wanted to leave. Indeed the grass is greener on the other side, or maybe its greener on our side! It’s something we’ve heard all our lives but it doesn’t really strike any chords unless we experience it ourselves or realize it for ourselves.

The day I pondered over these thoughts was the day I realized that all my late-night fantasies about being in a utopia where all my problems vaporize before they are born were quite misplaced. I had been yearning for something that I didn’t need to attain. Life was good the way it was now. However, the biggest realization that struck me was that in all our flaws we are all perfect in our own way. Despite everything that we do wrong, despite the times we hurt other people or cause problems to ourselves, there is something in all of us that is still perfect. It’s up to us to shirk it or embrace it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Just today, I was walking down the road i saw these street boys walking, no sliding down the road on these transparency sheets.. and they were just having the time of their life.. they looked so happy! As I walked down the road I stepped over around 20 more of these transparency sheets and I looked at them in wonder.. what ingenuity must have possessed these young boys to use the transparency sheets for such a frivolous but enjoyable task!

And then I thought - would I or my 8 year old brother have EVER thought of using those sheets in any other way? All we might have done would be to pick them up and throw them!

The lateral thinking that those children displayed is not very easy to find.. and to think that 20 years down the line those boys will probably be owning a vegetable cart or at best bus drivers breaks my heart. So many brilliant minds with such great potential are probably out there tilling fields or cooking for a family of 10. Its the complete lack of opportunity that so many could-be Amartya Sens or C.V Ramans are being lost in the web of poverty..

The government is obviously trying, or making a fancy show of it. The heavy caste-based reservations made sense in the early years of independence when the maximum population below poverty line were in these SCs or STs or OBCS.. but now, most of the population who belong to the SCs and STs and are using the reservation to enter the colleges, are from as good a background as the non-SC an non-ST population. In fact, one of my batch mates who is an SC is now going to IIT though his classmates who went to the same coaching classes isn't despite him being much higher in terms of merit.

Does it really make sense to give away to students the seats that they could have earned through the general category.. Would it not be much more beneficial for the aid or special help to be given to those students who cannot afford the education? deserving students who cannot pay the comedk fees? or maybe income based reservation?

If its not blatantly obvious by now that the system is unfair at best, Its got to be worth considering atleast to make some basic amends to the current education system!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wanderlust - 5 More Barca ...

In the process of "absorbing" city life, we toured the La Sagrada Familia - Anton Gaudi, the greatest Modernisme architect the world has known. The Familia is his piece de resistance, an as yet incomplete work - left so because of his untimely death due to being run over by a tram. What an ordinary death for so extraordinary a man. It is said that in the last 10 years of his life he became so obsessed with his work that he no longer cared for food or clothing. His hair had grown to disguise his face beyond recognition and it took over a week for his dead body to be identified.

The work in itself is like no other. There contains not one straight line in the whole structure, everything is a series of curves. The stairways are winding and steep to the point of inducing vertigo, each tower leaves your mouth gaping and head aching with the unusual. Its funny how we marvel so much at variations of the same structure time and again. In Italy or The UK, different versions of the same gothic design are photographed copiously for their "architectural brilliance".. Why?! They are al the same with a tower or a spire placed in a slightly different location. Here we have somebody who literally invented a whole style from his own imagination. And more than half the world has barely even heard of him. That, I think is a great tragedy. In fact people have gone as far as ridiculing his work-in-progress as grostesque and lacking all aesthetically pleasing element.

I think if they came to see the Familia at night-time, they would beg to differ.

This evokes another interesting question on art - is art about innovation and creativity and creating something that's absolutely fresh and new and never seen before, or is art just about pleasing the eye. Unsettling things are hard to get used to , so now there is a contradiction born.

However, once a new, refreshing idea is used time and again, it grows on the eye and becomes pleasing to watch. In my opinion, art should be more about innovation even if it lacks a certain beauty to it. But that, i think, is a question for artists to resolve.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

wanderlust 4 .. the Barcelona!

After much delay, Barcelona finally arrived. On the flight, we reached a point where all the clouds were right below us and the sky above... the puffs of white stood out like perfect bleached cotton candy and it took almost everything I had to restrain myself from breaking the glass and jumping into those gorgeous pieces of heaven. The urge to touch as beyond overwhelming. at the same time, it was scary. The clouds resembled snow-capped mountain peaks so closely and the turbulence added to the feeling of running into a massive range. It was the most unusual sight to see. Just shutting my book and watching it seemed to be the only thing I could do.

Once we landed in Barcelona (heretofore referred to as BCN), the shops were again jaw-dropping with their colourful, unattainable displays... Sigh! the city was a whole new story. It was so perfectly clean so distincty european with absolutely nothing marring its oh-so-perfect facade with buildings right from the Medieval period to Gaudi's Modermisme with were both strange and irresistible simultaneously...

In our quest for our room, we arrived at La Rambla, the biggest and most famous street in Barcelona with roaring nightlife, quaint cafes and flamenco dancing - basically, the works.

The Montmartre of Spain! We turned into our apartment road and we were greeted by grafittied walls, skateboarding punks and africans with dubious motives. It made me wonder what it must feel like to live in a city like this, perpetually surrounded by beautiful things wherever you turn. Does one live in eternal awe of your city, like a tourist at home, or does this sort of extreme loveliness just grow on you? How it must overwhelm - every single day!

But there also lies the flipside of this coin...The city is filled with immigrants from Asia - Filippinos, Indians, Pakistanis who own souvenir shops, restaurants and groceries. They are barely citizens, living forever on the peripheri of the city and not belonging. They would always remain outsiders and life for them is a grapple for the hook. They don't belong. Its one thing to live in poverty in your native country, but its another to be in a foreign place where you know neither the language nor the culture. Just talking to the Indians there, who's eyes filled with gratitude and joy to be able to talk in their mother tongue to a customer made me realize that no matter where int he world we go, where we live and what we do, home for us will always be our country... Its the only place we will always feel truly wanted and like we belong. Anywhere else, we will forever remain outsiders. And the life of an outsider is rife with pain and confusion. Of course , it is more exciting, but not for life... It would always remain just another exciting adventure.