The nutshell generation.

I had 140 characters to say this in, and I said ‘If it’s worth writing about, write it in detail. Lists are stupid.

Then I decided to take my own advice. To do this, I had to sacrifice looking at 10 ways in which Jennifer Lawrence is better than sliced bread, 21 characteristics of a extroverted people who are really introverts and a cat video which would have changed my life in two minutes. But I decided to go ahead anyway.

What is it about this generation, our generation, which makes us so averse to consuming any content which will take us more than a minute to buffer?

Is it the fact that we are reared on a diet of character limitations and literally no encouragement for free thinking?

Is it the fact that the fluff content is much easier to churn out than in depth, actually thought through stuff?

Is it the fact that the shelf life of content is shrinking everyday, and evergreen content is more ubiquitous than useful ?

Is it the fact that we do not have the time to consume more than two-three minutes of content before we have to compulsorily move to another screen?

Or, is it the fact that we are just satisfied way more easily than a generation which has had our opportunities should be?

I’m trying not to be preachy, but it’s hard when I see people talking about Buzzfeed as a great model and news organizations have started Upworthying their headlines and the fourth estate has lost all credibility in the race for share of deafening voice.

It might have been funny if we were trying to make a list of the 10 most stupid things human kind has done for itself. This would have been right up there with discovering the atomic bomb and ignoring global warming.

But it’s not. Our generation has turned into one which does not want to read  anything more than well framed sentence, preferably funny or watch anything more than two minutes long, preferably with cats included.

We have thrown peanutshells and collected a bunch of monkeys.

Spent millions of years, evolving towards a circle.

 

 

 

 

Alone.

Loneliness is like water. 

Rather, aloneness is like water. 

Loneliness has such a negative ring to it. Like being by yourself is a curse and because man is a social animal it is imperative for us to be forever in touching distance of another human being. Like coupling of any kind, procreational or otherwise, is the only reason we were put on this earth. Aloneness is so much softer. A shadow world, where you can be yourself. You reach there only after attaining a certain level of comfort with yourself. Not yourself in the scratch-your-crotch-and-fart-without-fear-of-being-judged,  but yourself in the way you are when you come in from the sun on a hot day, take off most of your clothes and have a chilled glass of water. The moment you say AH! That is you alone.

You know that phrase ‘taking the air’?  It means going out,  meeting people, being social. For a person like me, being social is like being a fish who’s being made to take an airing. It’s fine for a bit. But soon, very soon, there is too much of it and I can’t breathe and would you please drop me back in the water so that I won’t be so very cold and miserable?  

My aloneness is my ocean. It has its warm currents and terrible storms,  but I don’t have to share it with anyone. 

Air is claustrophobic. 

People talk.

People talk about other people with such relish.

Relish is an awkward word. I associate it with mom’s cooking and long forgotten music and things that make me happy. Like that old ad with the kid saying ‘jalebi’. It’s a close emotion. Of happiness. Of joy.

Not of glee. An unholy glee. That is how people talk of other people. They look around, make sure nobody else is listening. Or if they like crowds, then they make sure the crowd is listening, rapt. Then  like a snake shedding its skin they let go of the secret. Like a dirty, slimy process which either needs an interested audience or secrecy to make pure. It’s validation. Either it’s just me who knows , or everyone else is interested in it. Like this was a trophy you had, to show off. People talk without remorse. Without kindness. Without basic decency. They talk to kill. Like troops in enemy country facing the hostile unknown. But see, it’s not unknown here. They know the people they are hurting. Like in the rush of making your thoughts known, you did not pause a second and think how much it might hurt. It’s all well and good to shrug it off, and say nonchalantly ‘people talk’. But what of the people talked about? What about the subject, so to speak.

What about the people that people hurt?

Men who cheat.

Have you gone on vacation? Without a book, your phone or any other means of entertainment? Without even the grace of a language you understand, to talk to people with? You kick your heels all day and make silent jokes and no one even hears them. And you curse your mind, because in this god forsaken land, there is no one who gets you. And then one day, someone does. You say a great, almighty, from the heart, hallelujah because you for sure needed that person. That person came just in the nick of time and now you have someone. You know what, you could even settle down in this place, because it’s ain’t so bad suddenly. You give up on your vacation and become a steady, earnest person with someone else to take care of, and bills to pay and well, a life to lead. But on the way, while doing all of this, your island paradise has changed to a bustling tourist hot spot, with young ones in bathing suits and families with rubber duckies and young men with expectations and young women. Young women. They come in droves. You’re a native now, and they come to you to ask you what sights are good to see. They find you exotic, you’ve taken on the island’s sheen now and you speak the language and well, you know more than they do. They find you nice to talk to, and you can forgive their indiscretions and on the whole, resist their charms. But with so many strangers to talk to, you find yourself alone once more. That person who used to get you, also has other people to talk to now, and you no longer say a silent prayer because we don’t give thanks for what we own.

So you start looking once more. For that eureka moment.  Oh we call it lust and a hundred other demeaning words, but it’s not that. It’s just a person’s joy at being discovered. We love to be picked up, singled out, made much of, told we are special – for any reason whatsoever. So we look for people to find us. And they do. At least one does. Thus, the deed is done.

To the good men.

 This is for the last few years. And the friends I have made in them. I have met many, many men. Oh there have been many. I am not even slightly embarrassed about that. Why should I be? I have met creeps and weirdos and men who are a little bad and men who are vile and then some men who are just plain good. Men who look at you with clean eyes, and even if they break your heart, they sit with you while you glue it back together. Men who take the time out to call and ask about little hurts and listen patiently while you rouse the echoes with your laments, and men who hold you while you cry without wanting to be held in return.  Men who smell like bread. Fresh and wholesome and basic. Men who don’t expect you be their anything. Men who have seen you at your worst and met you after years and still just been there in the time in between. Men you get along with like a house on fire, and those who don’t mind your quirks.  Men who have let me trust. It takes a lot of sifting to find them, these ones. And I’m so glad I did, because today, when I am alone, I know I’m not. I have a cocoon of care and love and so much frank advice it would make you blush. All around me, keeping me safe. Letting me be the spoilt child that I am.

And it’s the best thing that has happened to me. I have found good men, and they have stuck around.

Be the one.

Figure out how far you would go.

And then push yourself a bit more.

If you can’t figure out how to compromise,

Try and change your very soul.

Make promises that you actually keep.

Give things away.  And then your heart.

Turn into a giant mush ball.

If nothing else, it will cushion the fall.

Rhyme. You could do worse.

Learn to cook.

Feed the demon all your love.

Kill all your sense of self.

Clean the last iota of respect.

Go on, be stupider. Don’t evolve.

Be the one who loves more.

I’m a one-person woman.

There are times when we all feel like it would be nice to have someone to go back home to. Someone to meet and talk to, someone to call in the middle of the day when you’re having lunch alone because no one at work will talk to you. We wish for closeness and happiness and a perfection that we read about in books and watched in movies and which has eluded us for long. Sometimes, we look at those big figures on the screen with the love shining out of their eyes and it seems like the biggest waste ever, because if that story had happened to a real person, a person who’s probably you, how much more awesome would that be. Instead of those soul-less people on screen, it would be your life and your heart and your happily ever after. Yes, even in the ones where there are other women and dirty diapers (I know it’s clichéd, but what can I say, it’s easy), even in those ones, it’s all about the moments. Those fucking moment which you wish you had, because you would know much better how to respond to those words, and you would look much better and you would have the better responses and your life would be more fitting than those empty figures who have no thought after their 180 minutes. The fucking moments which seem to happen to everyone else and go by so frequently and those moments with which you torment yourself at night, thinking about what have beens and those moments of seeing someone’s face and that eye contact and that one second of mindless glee when you think this is it. This is what I had been waiting for. And then it passes, leaving behind nothing but another wasted moment and at the back of your mind you’re thinking of the mail you forgot to write and how your relationship with yourself is in a rut. And you need to take it up another notch and you think tomorrow morning I will exercise, and wake up early and make my life turn around, because that is what we are supposed to do as humans. Determine our fate. I shall take my fate in my hands. I will do something about this. I will make it work. And then the next day the maid wakes you up at the regular time and somehow there is no time to exercise and there is no impetus because at the back of your head you’re thinking it’s alright I can do it myself so what if no one loves me. And then you still dress up because even though there is no one to see at work, there might be someone on the way, or the guy you’re supposed to meet might be it or you might have that moment of eye contact. Who knows. And then you take your sad little who-knows and put them in a bundle and close them up because you know that you have a crush on the married, old guy with the delicious looking salt and pepper hair chained to some cabin and you know that you are still going to be thinking about your last boyfriend even when you meet the new guy and over and above all of this you will not feel the slightest ripple of anything because you have been conditioned to feel only on the big screen and anything less than all consuming maddening love seems frivolous to you and it’s a shame really because you were meant to love and be loved and all this is such a waste. All of it is a waste. Yet, you finish the day, meet the new person and make life go on. Because you know, it ain’t a movie.

 

Process Flows

To work or not work?

It’s a easy enough decision and I fail to understand why people struggle with it. If you have a job, do it. If you don’t want to do it, leave. I believe in market forces and the fitting of pegs to holes they belong in. You will not have a shitty job if you don’t deserve a shitty job. There is no two ways about it. People who blame their luck, bad career decisions and bosses from hell often don’t look at the common thread that runs through all those circumstances – themselves. I know that coincidence does not lead to causality, but there is such a thing as common sense. If you are having trouble at too many places, then you’re the trouble. It’s simple enough to be good at your job. You literally need only two things – pride in what you do and the need to do it better all the time. They are both related and dependent on each other and drive everything else about your job. If you have any kind of insecurity, the system (whether it be a corporate behemoth or a 5 people start up) will overpower you and leave you a dissatisfied shell of a worker. A parasite on the organization. And if you are good at it, being a shell I mean, you will spread that disease to people in your span of control. But on the other hand, if you genuinely like being good at what you do, you will be good. If not in one job than in the other, but none of those circumstances will stop you. You might even let others do their work and imagine what the process will be like when there are no artificial bottlenecks.

Try it. Shut up and be productive. 

Death is a way of life.

Killing yourself is so easy. It’s even easier when you have tried it once. Then you know what not to do. That is more important than knowing what to do.

All the drug related experiences I read of, people say how it’s a constant battle. About how every minute of every day, they have to keep saying no. I don’t know what it feels like, but I’m sure that death is a similar temptation. Especially because it is simpler. To get drugs, you need to know people, have money or influence or something to sell. And to get high, you need to lose yourself, give into a bigger force. Death is an easier drug than any other known to man. It can be relatively painless, needs no external help and is so easily accessible. More importantly, it does not feel like giving in. Or even giving up. It feels like victory. Like you were able to outsmart everyone else and get away. Like you are the best. No other drug makes you feel like the king of the world. Not such a king as this one.

People give up drugs for years and then go back. They stay sober for decades and then just say yes once. And they die. Or they die anyway. Either way, there is only one escape. So once you realise that escape route, once you open that door, there is no closing it. Every time there is any problem, the slightest roadblock, that is the first thing you will see. The temptation to not have problems is so great. Much greater than any other chemically induced escape ever will be. Being suicidal is not a feeling. It’s not a transient experience that you will learn from and move on to be a better, more alive person. It is a way of life. You will be fighting against death, even as you fight for life. Every moment.