I am writing this in response to a very fetching interview I read in one of my email subscriptions today. Just a few days ago, I was moaning about unread emails and yet in the past few days, I’ve been reading quite a few articles from a mammoth sea of subscriptions I was sure I wanted to unsubscribe. Sometimes, reading too much makes us lose interest in the actual things we ought to read. Like last week, a new friend asked me if I had read Virginia Woolf and how did I find her writing style. To her, Virginia was morose, depressed, boring and confusing. She said, she gave up reading her in college. Now, it’s completely subjective but I do firmly believe that our reading evolves over time as we grow, particularly more so in phases that we seem to be struggling with educating ourselves, polishing our understanding of the world and stocking up on our views, basically that we have no clue when we would be spouting. So it happens that in trying to cross check our political views with the current undergoing in the world, we sometimes come off as the ones who are negative about what a lot of people around us feel positive. It’s not bad. It happens. If it weren’t happening, then perhaps we would need a reality check about the worth of our opinions.
Let me not veer away from what I wish to write. The world seems broken, actually it is. There are narratives written about it and people are speaking of their personal experiences of love and hate, discrimination and prejudices, of marginalised lives, the struggle to survive, just plain living in a world that shows nothing but disdain towards their lives and them. Someone writes about being broke and finding a copy of The Paris Review left behind by a reader and they read it while sitting on a rotten staircase, about voices that are singular, angry, broken, funny and sad, all at the same time. And I connect instantly with these voices. Because I understand being penniless, I know the pain of trying and not succeeding, of being miserable about circumstances that do not look promising, of failing expectations and carrying their massive burden on my shoulders. Yet, here I am, not giving up on the spirit that drives me far when nothing seems right, when there’s no light. It’s a constant churn of life’s flailing challenges that beckon us, question and urge us to get back on our feet. How can we not believe the shining speck that resides within us and is the single most reason we carry on every day? It is just a little thing that needs to get our attention away from the discouraging forces spewing their hatred toward us. It’s a blanket with a double sided texture on it. One is coarse and prickles; the other is soft and warms us when we bury our mindful selves along with the many aspirations we possess. It’s like a chain mail of unnecessary products meant to tempt and entice us into wasting our attention rather than engaging on the things we ought to surround ourselves with for our supposed elevation according to standards set by a few individuals. Perseverance is the key to success, rightly so. It is in this obsession and confidence that in itself feels like a departure from the many specifics of our daily lives. All of us need daily affirmations for believing and surviving Mondays (for some). Our many feelings of recognition that constantly has us climbing imaginary walls that involve behavioural and moral lessons usually guiding us on our best show put on for an audience who is as clueless as we are. It all begins in the mind and ends up on the being.
I’m Virginia for my friend since she’s the one we’ve talked about for two days of a week that sees us going through many events and places. Oblivious of the literary journey of interweaving people of character into our messy lives, I am always a tad bit happy when it happens. Discussions on photographs that completely bedazzle me; I ask questions and get exhilarated when I receive answers from total strangers. Isn’t that a wonder that one giant web of information technology is allowing me to ponder my heart’s musings into opinions without caring about judgements? The revolution that has taken us all by its little fingers is here to stay and create many more striking arrays of visual deliverance that we will be tongue tied to talk about in whispers. It worried me earlier that the concept of time and future that has played havoc in many a lives, was confusing me and throwing me into roads that jumbled on their own, leaving me hapless. It is but merely a cloud that passes as soon as the nebula starts to threaten its brilliantly lit spectre on the horizon. I could never be you, as you could never be me. We’ll always leave a different trail of colours behind us. I remember the moment of first seeing Jackson Pollock’s dripping canvas art photographs in a library book some afternoon when I was alone with only the whirl of the overhead fan for my company. It looked trivial, just a mess of paint, and the enormous luxury of owning that truth. What happens to all this creative, non-essential bubble of information we are leaving behind us each single day? Is it a respite from the social drudgery we’ve invented into a spool of ongoing nonstop activity that fills up our time here? Questions like these often deserve answers that originate within each individual. We live fictionalised lives, and every past, present and future remains heavily gilded with its edges trimmed carefully to fit most of us, comfortably.