Seen and unseen, said and unsaid
Just like there is no end to the sky above, there is no such thing as an unbiased person. For reasons obvious, we are all biased in our own ways. To understand this ‘phenomenon’ better, look around you and see who you agree with instantly. That tribal desire to be one with somebody for their thoughts and ways is how we exhibit our true self. Since we live in a politically charged environment, we tend to assume bias is limited to human relationships alone. In practice, bias plays a part in even the tiniest of our choices. Individual max. There has to be a reason why the lavender shade of a cafe wall put you off that afternoon but watching the red balloons go up and up that evening made your day. You didn’t even realize that you were biased against something as benign as colour. Of all things. But then, that’s the paradox of being a human being.
The nicest part about having an opinion online is you don’t have to do or know shit. You may suck at your job but you can still share something professionally insightful on LinkedIn. Your significant other might be fed up with you but you can drop pearls of wisdom on how to make a relationship click. Your life might be a disaster going in no particular direction but you can be a GPS of mantras to follow on Instagram. You might be having an unfulfilled sex life but you can still come across as someone who has orgasms for breakfast. Everybody around you may despise you for your utter lack of emotional bandwidth but you can tweet about the social injustices prevalent in the world. There is so much you do without doing anything, all thanks to the power bestowed upon us by the forgotten lords of the Internet.
Not very long ago, I was sharing my car-related trepidations with you. This month, however, I started believing in miracles all over again. I passed my driving test. Somehow. Yes, by some divine intervention, I did a strange reverse-waltz in a little white car for the police officer watching from a distance. As far as I knew, whoever touched the barrier was deemed a failure but when I grazed that yellow-and-black barrier during my S-turn, nothing happened. Maybe the officer was tired already as it was close to two in the burning sun and he felt I was just being nervous. Or maybe he liked the fact that I flashed my indicators as I entered the maze. I don’t remember anyone else doing that. For good or for worse, I am now eligible to drive without having to worry about not having a proper DL. This despite the reckoning that my handbrake was on and my legs were shaking uncontrollably throughout the test. Adulthood unlocked.
9 out of 10 men watch porn but if you ask them to name their favourite porn star, they will be lost for words. Perhaps they never felt the need to humanize those they are jerking off to even acknowledge their liking of them. Or maybe they didn’t care to know better. The adult entertainment industry is much larger than Hollywood and is built on this perceived indifference. A perfect veil to the voyeurism that is fueled by men (mostly) who seek visual stimulation. You can cross-check this observation in the comments posted on porn websites. They are more hilarious than those posted on YouTube simply because it’s a theatre of delusion. Almost nobody appreciates beauty—and by extension, intimacy—there. The viewers don’t realize that porn stars are thorough professionals and working ‘scene’ by ‘scene’ with their set of challenges to deal with. In other words, they are humans too. And can be beautiful. Speaking of which, I used to find Lena Paul genuine and gorgeous at the same time, thanks to her earnest interviews.
Of all the things that fascinate me in nature, lightning must feature in the top-5 list. Since my early childhood in our village, I used to wonder who decides when to strike. Gods? I mean, there is no fixed pattern to it. Sometimes, a tree was down and sometimes, a cow, and in very rare cases, a man would be affected. According to stats, women are rarely affected. This either means that men are worse than we initially thought or it could just prove my theory that God has to be a woman. Either way, I am glad. For all we care, lightning takes place in correspondence to our species. We are out there, out of our houses, all the time and nature can’t tolerate this invasion. So, it tries to do what it can to either intimate us to get back into our nests or to create some noise that would make us think about the destruction we’ve ensued on this otherwise beautiful planet. If you don’t agree with what I’ve said, please explain why there was less lightning in the world during the COVID lockdowns?
I am known for giving away random movie reccos every now and then, either through my tweets or my blogposts, but I’d never begged you to watch a movie. But today is different. I’d rather implore you to watch this Kannada movie called Garuda Gamana Vrishabha Vahana (2021). Cinema might be subjective but it’s not everyday you watch a film that takes you through seasons of emotions, and in the end, you shed a tear for the one person who created the most havoc. And therein lies the charm of this beautifully scripted, convincingly enacted piece of work. There is no way Raj B Shetty—who not only wrote and directed the film but also delivered one of the most enigmatic performances in recent memory—is going to get his due in our country. Even Javier Bardem’s act in No Country for Old Men (2007) has nothing on the Shiva he portrays here. Once you watch GGVV, do check out this insightful interview, to learn the thought process behind the making of the film, and the hidden symbolisms throughout the story. You will be amazed by the sheer clarity at play here. Thank me later.
The only truth you are entitled to is your own. No matter what you perceive as the truth of others, be assured that you only know so much. You can’t possibly have the whole picture. Nobody can. It’s humanly impossible. Our threshold of acquiring information, sifting through information and then retaining it is pretty low. Which is why our generation equates speed with finality. Just because a piece of (unverified?) data reached you quickly doesn’t mean that the truth has kissed your face. Besides, how many retweets does it take for a lie to turn into the truth? Many a times we are fatigued by the avalanche called Mt. Nuance that we make our peace with whatever little window we have access to, only to accept our viewpoint as the ultimate pinnacle of reality. It’s a weird relationship here: we stake our reputation on what we believe to be true when it’s supposed to be mutually exclusive. What you believe in doesn’t define you anyway. How you behave does.
I am visiting Gurgaon, my least favourite city of all the cities I’ve lived in so far. Not that I consider myself an explorer or a flaneur but this city has been only about people I adore. No landmarks as such. Which can be problematic when you notice that there are no places to go when you are already traveling to visit in the first place. No pun. No meta, either.
How many friends have you nurtured so far? How many of them have stood by you through the pages of time? How many of them are close? Like effortlessly close? I ask these questions to myself, more so after moving my base south to Mangalore with hardly any friends to meet every week or so. To my lazy credit, I did make two friends there this year but one of them is based in Mumbai and another is in Bangalore, and both visit Mangalore once in one or two months. So, no real scope for close friendship. Only the lucky few end up with friends they choose to grow old with over the decades. After all, it’s very important to have more close friends than close enemies.
Before we proceed with this paragraph, I must admit that I’ve got nothing against temples as such. In fact, I appreciate the architecture, design, history and the timeless grace involved. Not to mention our cultural affinity to stones. Even if you are not a practising Hindu, your pagan-ness shows in your ardent irreligiosity. That is the beauty of culture. That said, whenever my god-fearing acquaintances ask me why I don’t visit gorgeous temples despite residing in Mangalore—there are lots of them—I tell them that I will visit them when it's time to visit them. That sounds like a solid response in my head but the irony of silly humour is lost on them. My cousin, whom I recently met after a very long time, visits temples during weekends because the prospect of finding serenity, even if it’s for a few minutes, appeals to him. It appeals to me too but I am not willing to take the trouble to travel.
A few days ago, a drunk man banged his BMW across the road into a lady on a scooter, before damaging other vehicles too. The public in that sunny traffic did what was expected of them: beat the shit out of him. That video was floating on social media for a while and reminded us why some things won’t change in our society. By design, people can’t stand rich folks. They bow their heads to them and kiss their hands but they also understand the skewed dynamics of power. Deep down, they have conceived rage for the recklessness of the rich and the powerful who run this world. So, when an inebriated man rams his super-expensive car into a mother-of-two, the public doesn’t even go to check on the woman to see if they can help her. That happens later. First, they drag the rich man out of his car and punch his face repeatedly. Even people who have nothing to do with this incident lay their hands on him. Why? It’s pretty obvious: his wealth will make sure that the system lets him off the hook sooner or later. There is going to be injustice and the public turns violent for a few minutes assuming the role of the court that delivers bare knuckle justice.
I am a painfully boring person but I always ask the finest questions. For instance, what has been the best view of your life so far? Chances are you will rack your head and then tell me about the canopy of trees you spotted in a deciduous forest once or the glacier sinking during your Himalayan trek or spotting a shark in Maldives or the way you dog ran to you after you returned home or how the person you love showed you love for the first time, or something else. The answer could be manifold too, one view cascading into another. There are no right answers to most of my questions. But just for the record, the most striking answer I’ve received so far belongs to a guy who experienced the raw confluence of Ganga in Rishikesh during a rafting accident. The currents were so strong that they washed away his prescription glasses and yet, despite the resulting blindness, he witnessed what he described as the finest view of his lifetime. My best guess is, when you are face to face with a force of nature and impending death, you see what needs to be seen.