Where do dreams come from?
For someone who doesn’t show any inclination towards becoming a parent, I do drop a lot of paragraphs on parenthood. In a way, it’s like commoners giving gyaan on how Messi should be running more on the field or what Ambani should do with his wealth. Somebody else’s monkey, somebody else’s circus. Now that we’ve struck a chord, let me dive a bit into an episode that happened on a recent bus ride. The girl seated next to me nonchalantly threw the empty wafer packet out of the window and her father immediately slapped her thigh. I was so relieved to see this unfold; to witness such environmental consciousness in small town folks is no small feat as plastic is a huge menace in the developing parts of India. But my delight was short-lived as he said, “How many times have I told you to throw garbage downwards?” Reminded me of the glorious words uttered by Joey once, “If you are gonna do something wrong, do it right!”
My amma is staying with us in Mangalore. It’s been over two months now and this is the longest she has stayed away from her husband since 2001. She will turn 70 this year and he will be 75 next month. As far as I know these two can’t be counted as romantic couples—despite the depths of cinema in our post-independence culture, most old couples can’t be considered filmi—and the word love (preeti in Tulu) wasn’t even used in our household. Instead, affection (maukye) was the common denominator. So, imagine my cute surprise when I heard this unfold between the two wrinkled souls over a WhatsApp video call:
He: “It's been 3 months now.”
She: “It's been barely 2 months.”
He: “I think I’ve forgotten how to count.”
If you hail from the great land of the Indian subcontinent, you must know what is meant by nazar. It’s one of the most evil sounding words from Urdu and you know exactly what it means although your scientific temper might make it difficult for you to explain it to others. In simple language, it is a superstition that you can catch bad vibes from those who stare at you. Kids are especially vulnerable in this regard and that’s why you’d spot big round kohl dots on their adorable faces here. That’s supposed to ward off bad energy. Now, if you ask me, I am a man of science with deep interests in history, culture, linguistics and civilization. But my understanding of this subject is skewed towards spirituality. When we use the word ‘individual’, we use it from the Western notion of a singular detached figure. But in practice, that individual is an energy; we respect each other as energy. The moment you talk to a person and claim to understand them, you are basically categorising that person into a certain sort of energy: good, bad, warm, lost, restless, skewed, etc. There has to be a reason why places of worship tend to feel serene. Maybe it’s because so many people visit, and bring in positive thoughts—collectively, for a change—and leave behind a distinct calming vibe. Which brings us back to nazar and my conclusion is, if you have evil thoughts, you don’t even need to do anything; you are bound to leave an impact merely by your presence. Or maybe just by a stare.
I was watching 83 (2021) and there were several emotional moments that made me want to group hug the whole Indian cricket team back then. These were the underdogs whom nobody expected to deliver, and yet, they did deliver. Under the single-minded leadership of a 24-year-old captain in Kapil Dev. A guy who couldn’t speak English properly but was fluent in industry and discipline. So many little parts came together to make that victory happen. It’s a different story that winning the 1983 World Cup promptly transformed us from a hockey-loving country into a cricket-mad curio, as it coincided with the rise of television. Yet, that story needed to be told, exactly the way it took place. And it’s commendable that the folks behind this film made the time and effort. The movie took almost four decades to reach us but some stories are worth the wait.
Ever wondered where all your thoughts come from? Or where exactly do they go after they are done messing with your head? And what about your sleep? Why do some sleep so peacefully while others struggle with the unevenness of their back? And if you do fall asleep, what about the dreams? What’s the deal with them? Who scripts them, and more importantly, who directs them? If Christopher Nolan is interested, he should definitely adapt some of the crazy dreams I watch. Anyway, how long before our dreams come true? Or better still, how long before our life turns false? In all fairness, the (mis)interpretation of our dreams don't change anything except the fact that it makes us feel like we are in control (when in truth, we aren't).
Some people address me as a writer but I am more of an aspiring writer without the knack or the courage to actually write something voluminous and strong. However, given my experience in this field, I can tell you that a writer should only care about herself. She shouldn’t bother with her readers. They’ve got nothing on her, and vice versa, and they will come and go. All she needs to stay true to is her skill. Or as the Art department defines it, her art. Writing is a lonely trail of thoughts and soundless battles inside one’s skull. It’s brutal because no matter what you write, it’s never enough. At no point are you going to say “that’s it.” That’s not how writing works. Even a golf or a chess player retires after a point but a writer never retires as such. So, yes, don’t pander to your readers. They might be nice to you but tomorrow, they will ditch you, leaving you lonelier than you already were. As for the feedback loop, a writer ought to read. Without reading, there is no writing. And a good chef knows how the food tastes just by smelling it.
Did you know that, for centuries, people in the Eastern Himalayas consumed tea leaves just like that? It didn’t occur to them that they could simply boil water and have a beverage. The Buddhist monks were the ones who were sophisticated enough to make a cup of tea out of, err, tea. They did it out of necessity though, not leisure: tea kept them awake during their long strenuous hours of meditation. Tiny little cups. Cutting chai, to use Mumbai reference. Long story short, a trend that started in the mountains is now a common practice all across the world. All started with a bunch of green leaves.
Love is supposed to be simple, not easy. It thrives on sacrifices and giving your all. Take any worthy relationship and this principle remains the same. If there are conditions in place, then it’s not love. The hanging-carrot-at-the-front scheme is best left to MBA courses. One of the most beautiful things about our species is we can feel and care for others, even those that we never get to meet. And that comes from a place of purity, not facade. Whether you are having a day marked by crimson cheeks or a night marked by a breezeless mind, some definitions don’t change with time. There are certain unwritten tenets in place. Good luck.