Summer report: the definitive text of inadequacy

This is perhaps the most personal of all pieces that I have added to my little corner of the Internet. This post has no topic of discussion, per se, nor a sense of purpose. It has come into existence solely because I sat before my computer today, with the full intention of charging into work much as a bull hurtles towards the Matador, and realised that I had not written in what I can only describe as an eternity.

And so, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am writing for the sake of writing, and already the blood feels calmer in my veins. As this post has no agenda, I fear it will tread perilously close to the realm of surrealist literature, only it will be much less pleasing to the eye. Indeed, even as I write this, I know little of the direction towards which this post is headed. Bear with me, though, my faithful reader, as you have over the past years (and here, we pause for a moment of introspection and the such), for I promise you mild, sub-par comedy at the very least.

Truth be told, it’s not that I haven’t written anything over these past months; it’s more of a case of me not having written anything. Before you (justly) call me out to be the raving lunatic that I seem to be, let me clarify: there’s a sense of satisfaction mingled with a curious tingling in the stomach and the extremities, that comes with writing something which has taken thought and some measure of literary skill. That very feeling has been missing for some time. I have been writing, yes (if my angst-ridden posts on Facebook can be so called), but I haven’t been diving into the oceans of language and selfishly picking out the words from the mouths of stingy oysters. It is something I sorely regret, and something that I would like to talk about here.

These months have not been good, my dear readers. They have been frightfully disappointing in ever sense imaginable, more so because I have been disappointing than anything else. I have been lazy, uninspired, dirty, unambitious, and, worst of all, I have been un-curious. Nothing has picked at my mind enough for me to want to delve into it further, and, again, that’s not for lack of stimulus but a personal shortcoming. I have been tired; more tired than I have ever, ever been as far as my (abysmal, truly abysmal; if only to be an elephant) memory is concerned. I remember taking to my computer time and again, adamant to spew into this little corner of the Internet the wiring of my brain, only to be distracted by the lights or the rain, or the little spider climbing up my left leg as though foraging through the Amazon thicket.

Then again, I have also found myself distracted by the sound of my own breathing. It’s a curious sound, really, not nearly as tidy or as even as it sounds on TV. It’s uneven, as though the heart is pushing the left lung upwards with every intake of breath to lighten the load on itself. Even as I sit here writing about the sound of my breath, I am curiously distracted by it, as though noticing its presence for the first time, every time. How can something that has been around for as long as I’ve been around (barring nine months; yes, my dear pro-life readers, I know you exist. I don’t agree with you one bit, but I know you exist) be so unfamiliar to me; moreover, how can it be a distraction?

And yet, irrefutably, there it is, like an obese manatee wrapped in seaweed, basking atop a rock in the middle of the sea, very much the gap-toothed mermaid to my drunken sailor’s telescope. But, oh, what a manatee, that I want to swim alongside it in the depths of the clear blue, and also tear it limb from limb and drown it in its own blood. It is almost a crooked love-hate relationship if one is so inclined: you love to hate every last bit of it. I love the feeling of loathing that overcomes me when I am cognizant of my breathing, as though it is my life’s purpose (hark! How is that for a paradox, Zeno?) to hate my breathing, and without my breathing, my life would have no purpose (and here I trump the Grandfather Paradox; quite the roll I’m on today).

I don’t wish to die, though. My intense melancholia (when one is at the point where one needs to advertise one’s own writing on one’s own blog, one has hit the rock bottom of writing; one is now free to socialise with Terry Goodking, Stephanie Meyer, and the horny, discount Stephanie Meyer) is not precipitated in my need to die, but in my need to kill myself. That I am my own master in my death is important to me because it reinstates that sense of control that was taken away by the erratic breathing. It’s a multi-part joy, if you think about it: being in control of circumstance when your breathing ends is a win that you have scored over your breath; holding responsibility for your inevitable end, something that life has always held over you, is yet another victory; and that you end up where everyone will end up someday, but you do it on your own terms, is the greatest victory of all.

Of course, now I sound like a brown-haired, pasty white bitch who slit her wrists (horrible method of suicide, by the way; very low chances of your dying that way) in her parents’ bathtub because the pasty white boy she liked didn’t want to bother her when she asked not to be bothered (and twelve other equally ridiculous reasons). Just to avoid stepping on any toes, I’d like to make it very clear that THIS IS NOT A TAPE OR ANY NOTE OF SUCH KIND because depression doesn’t work that way. Galen got it right, I think, when he prattled on about Black Bile, but what depression is and isn’t has been covered before (I’m not going to be cheap and provide two links to the same piece in one post; I have standards). This is merely me talking, more to myself than anyone else, about how shit the last few months have been, and how, despite everything, the fucking breathing goes on.

And on.

Melancholia

A host of events have transpired to bring this post into existence; events which, if it were possible, I would choose not to dwell upon. However, choice itself is a rare privilege afforded to few of us who suffer from this ancient malady, and it is, unfortunately, not a privilege I possess.

What those events are is not of consequence, and, indeed, needn’t be mentioned here at all. Suffice it to say that those events were not of a favourable nature; my reaction to them, albeit, is a result of my pathological inconvenience, and not how one would “normally” react. Ah, yes; there I go again, characteristically deviating from the topic at hand. Today, I shall attempt to put into words perhaps the greatest evil I have come to know, and come to know more intimately than I would have cared: depression.

Many of the few people I have spoken to regarding the subject at hand seem to have rather ill-conceived notions about the malady. I shall forego the medical and psychological explanations, here, for the vast web that is the Internet would do a far better job of explaining that aspect than my little corner ever could. No, instead, I’d like to show what it means to be depressed, and how it is not, in fact, your everyday case of Monday morning blues.

Imagine, if you will, a world which is tinted brown, like a town from the old wild West movies, except the sky is constantly covered with clouds, and the sun only barely manages to shine through. This world contains nothing but a road, a single road, leading somewhere into the distance. The world is densely covered with fog, and so where the road leads, exactly, is something which you do not know. The fog is not a normal fog, however; it is a fog made of some thick, gelatinous substance which makes movement difficult, as though the mist is resisting the advances of motion. It is also impossible to tell the time of day, as there are no watches, and the brown haze constantly presents itself with the same hue throughout.

Now, imagine you are woken up every morning if, indeed, it can be so called, and forced to put a heavy bag on your back. What this bag contains; who is making you carry the load; what you are supposed to do it with are questions which you are neither allowed to ask, nor have any answers to. You are then made to walk down the single road into the obscure distance, through the gelatinous fog in a brown tinted world, with the load on your back, towards a place which you do not know.  All of a sudden, presumably at the end of the night, you are asked to stop and take rest, but you are not allowed to take off the bag. Rest comprises reading through horror upon horror, penned down by a malicious writer who knew well how to make disaster seem close to home. The next morning (?), the rigmarole repeats itself, only now the load has increased from the previous day.

That, my dear readers (the plurality is assumed), is how I view depression. In the end, it boils down to a whole lot of nothingness; there is no aim, there are no dreams or hopes, there are no goals, there isn’t even the promise of a tomorrow. There is just a long, straight road, going ever onwards. The only way out of this insane, pointless ritual seems to be an absence of existence, and it is easy to see why so many of us would rather choose that path than the brown tinted one: it may not be more colourful, but black is better than brown.

It is from this melancholy that I, and hundreds of thousands others like me across the world, seek escape. Tell us now that we are just weak, or that it will get better, or some other inane shit along those lines? The dense fog that covers our world drowns out the sound of everything other than our deepest, darkest thoughts, which seem to take a personality of their own and insist upon their presence being acknowledged. It is not about weakness, my privileged friends who do not know the true meaning of despair, and it most certainly isn’t about sadness.

The cuts on my arms are not from my inability to handle the stresses that life throws at me, or my hate for myself (though that plays a major part). The cuts on my arms are from my desire to feel something, anything, other than a gnawing sense of regret for being alive. The cuts on my arms are from me trying to take back control; from me trying to tell myself that the pain which I am experiencing is my own doing and that I have the power to stop it when I wish.

This, however, is an elaborate illusion. The cuts on my arms are lies I tell myself to make the world more bearable, prolonging my journey down the road in the process. With each cut I make, I give myself the motivation to remain in this brown, murky world; it is almost as though there is a contorted feedback mechanism preventing me from escaping this very cruel, cruel world. All forms of self-sabotaging that I do, be it in terms of my relationships or to my body or in my work, they are all forms of me clutching at straws, desperately trying to regain control, knowing that I am destined for failure even before I start.

If you resonated with this, dear readers, tell me, such that we can plan our journey through this world together, and maybe find solace in knowing that others are as doomed as we are. For the only way to alleviate suffering is to not suffer alone.

Good day (hark!)

Fuck it, cut it, bleed it, burn it, then fuck it again

“The outrage!”

“Scandalous!”

“And on a public forum like this, what does he hope to achieve?”

“We should not be exposed to this kind of content. It is shameful, to say the least.”

I acknowledge that many of you may be of this opinion after haphazardly glancing upon the title of this post. If so, I request you to kindly pen down your opinion upon a piece of paper, fold it such that it assumes a nonchalant shape, and thrust it so far up your rectum that it becomes thoroughly coated with excrement, then proceed to dispel it with your ritualistic morning bowel motion. Your cooperation is much appreciated.

What did you just read? More importantly, what did I just write? This post has been long in the making. In fact, it has been so long in the making that this is the third draft that I am working on. I needed to get this just right, however, as the subject of this post is something which has been on my mind for almost as long as I have been writing.

Those who regularly frequent this small corner of the Internet will know of my running feud with institutions of right and wrong, and arbitrarily defined social constructs. Compound that with my sexual orientation, and established codes of morality, and we emerge as sworn enemies. How could this animosity, then, not translate into the things I write and, by extension, things I choose to read?

Ever since civilisations have been around, it would seem, there have been rules that needed to be followed. On a societal level, the existence of rules makes a fair bit of sense: no matter how much sinful pleasure you derive from malicious deeds, a dystopian society would not benefit anyone. Upholding of laws and a basic moral code (again, the very nature and definition of morality are severely in question here, but fuck it) seems essential for the progress and prosperity of any civilisation. The problem comes, at least for me, when these societal constructs are extended into art.

I use the term art very liberally here (hark!), meant to encompass all forms of art, though I primarily seek to speak of the written word. Art has long been a way of escape for many, many greats. It has been a source of comfort and release for ages and has produced great works in being so. Before it was a release, however, it was a form of expression. It was meant to put before the world whatever happened to float across the mind of the artist, and the mind doesn’t think by the rules of society. Why, then, is expression confined to those rules? If the expression of an idea is merely the physical realisation of fanciful notions, why do we put limits on it?

Is it fear? Do we fear that if the sacrilegious thoughts of a radical thinker became public, others would realise their own inappropriate desires, and seek to disrupt the intricate balance of society? What a load of bull. Art is revolutionary, whether it is moral or amoral. What makes art profound and transcendental isn’t its crass deliverance, but its content. If art were to resonate with a someone and push them towards a societal reform, it would be because they identify with the artist and the emotions conveyed in the art. By hindering the full expression of the art form, we kerb the full intensity of the emotion that can be conveyed, which is an injustice to art itself.

Recently, I had shared some explicit, erotic, Harry Potter fan art with a poor, unsuspecting friend of mine, who had honestly expected more innocent content. Needless to say, she was traumatised and verging on a stroke. The art, which shows the male heartthrobs of the saga passionately consuming each others’ bodies (in graphic detail), happens to be some of the best Harry Potter fan art that I have seen, ever. My friend’s reaction reminded me, once again, of how underexposed we are to art as a whole, and to the acceptance of various art forms, and assessment of art for their objective beauty, irrespective of their subjective appeal. It wasn’t her fault for being scandalised by the art, of course; the blame lies entirely on society, for narrowing our spectrum of appreciation of art forms to what it considers appropriate.

Now, I do not advocate subjecting four-year-olds to morbid and nihilistic works, but that does not mean that you do not even lay the path for them to one day discover those works without preconceived notions. Neither do I encourage people to go out of their way to be overtly crude with their delivery of art. It is not about being profane; it isn’t about being the most scandalous writer on the block; it’s about being true to yourself, and expressing whatever you wish to express, in whichever way you wish to express it.

For too long, now, there have been limitations on the kind of thing one can write in a particular context for a particular people at a particular time on a particular forum. How is anyone supposed to express themselves wholly with such limiting shackles binding all free thought? The reason this post is riddled with “age-inappropriate” content is simply to show people that freedom of expression needs to be wholly exercised.

To all those who have taken offence to the presentation of the most more than the actual content: I hope this is the last time.

It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird

Why was this post not published yesterday, seconds after the news of her death rattled the world? Because there are times, albeit very few, when the mind is enslaved by the heart. The mind will know what must be done and when, but the heart will put a stop to it, it will put shackles around those thoughts and force you to just feel for a second, and that second will never end.

Barely a month after souls were ripped from their bodies across the globe at the traumatic news of Alan Rickman’s death, another grave tragedy has befallen us. Death has gotten used to the taste of benevolent souls, and has forgotten that balance must be maintained in the world. For the first time in my life, I am angry with Death for being greedy, for wanting the best for itself.

She was old. Unlike with the death of Alan Rickman, the shock factor wasn’t dominant here. Maybe that is the reason the thought of Alan Rickman only crossed my mind while I was writing this post: the emotions associated with both their deaths are so different that it makes no sense to draw analogies. And so, of course, I will be helpless in drawing analogies.

On the day of Rickman’s death, I remember feeling thoroughly cheated. I felt angry, shaken, shocked to my core, and more upset than I can explain. Yesterday, though, there was a kind of resignation in the sorrow that I felt. I knew that this day was coming, and I was prepared for the bombshell to drop, and so there was no great shock to mask the sorrow. Yesterday, I felt truly sad after a long time. I felt sad like I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was the raw force of the sadness, unmasked by any other emotion, which I think was so crippling, causing the delay in this post.

I had first read “To Kill a Mockingbird” sometime in the middle of seventh grade, and had taken an instant liking to Scout. Little did I know that Scout was more or less a spitting image of her creator. Over the years, Scout and I have come to be the best of friends, and Harper Lee was like out guiding figure, a motherly presence watching as her brainchild went ahead and made friends. Two years after reading the life-altering book for the first time, I got to know Harper Lee well, due to an assignment set to us in English class.

It was easy to get to know her. I suppose it was because I knew Scout so well by then that learning about Harper Lee was just like having another conversation with Scout. Lee was a firm presence throughout my life from that point onwards, and I was secure in knowing that a wrinkly woman somewhere in the US was alive and well.

When her book came out last year, I was nothing short of elated. Getting to see her in action again was surreal! My expectations weren’t well rewarded, however, and I decided that the only memories I wanted to have of Lee were those related to her original work. All was good yet again: tarnished memories had been forgotten, disagreements had been resolved, and Scout and I were on speaking terms once more.

Then I logged into my computer yesterday evening, and things took a turn for the worse. Amidst a horde of news items about the JNU fiasco (which did nothing to alleviate my foul mood) was a single story, saying something along the lines of: “Harper Lee dies at 89”. I don’t well recall the events immediately following this one, and I don’t think I want to. Something seemed to have slipped inside: not broken, but slipped. Broken implies shattering, or an unforeseen even causing irreparable damage. No, this was different. Something had slipped, and I still don’t know what it is, or where it’s slipped from, or where it’s slipped to. Maybe I’ll find it someday and place it back, who knows?

“Harper Lee is currently thriving at the remarkable age of 84” is how I had concluded my presentation that day in English class. Death, it seems, took my remark of “remarkable” as a challenge. Death does that sometimes, in an attempt to prove itself omnipotent, it uses our words to play with us. It’s sad, really.

And so something slipped. Something was wrong. The feeling of being hollowed out will take some getting used to, which is exactly what I say every time something disturbing happens. I don’t have a problem wrapping my head around the fact that she’s gone, as I did with Rickman. But here, there is something which I’ve never felt before, and hope to never feel again, because it’s a very permanent feeling with no end in sight. That feeling, the simple feeling which is much less insidious than others but sticks on forever, is a feeling of impending nothingness, the “what not” state if you will.

So, what now?

Death has taken a step out of line this time, because whatever may have happened, one thing is undeniable: It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Why Kit Harrington losing his job isn’t as amusing as it sounds

Game of Thrones has finally done it.

The death of the much-loved character Jon Snow, portrayed by the shaggy Kit Harrington, was imminent to all those who had been following the show for the past few episodes. It therefore came as a great shock when, on Sunday, Game of Thrones decided to do the Lord Commander of the Night’s watch in, seeing as how GoT is notorious for doing the unexpected. This is, of course, completely contradictory to the plot of the books, where Jon Snow is not confirmed dead, but is rushing into Battle against the Boltons.

Throughout season five, Game of Thrones has been straying from the plot of the books, which had caused even the most avid book readers, who until now were smug about being in on the story, to be as in the dark as the show-watchers. Other than changing minor details about characters’ lives, the show held true to the plot in earlier books and the story seemed to progress logically. Then season five began and, as the phrase so eloquently puts it, “all shit hit the fan”.

Personally, I loved the Game of Thrones show series (notice the past tense), because of its shock value, great writing, honest acting and pretty well done cinematography. The show didn’t fail to impress every year, and even at the beginning of every season I would wait for the ninth episode, which in Game of Thrones history has shown to be the heart-stopper. Season five kicked off well enough, showing the same level of direction and acting skill that GoT is known for, and I believe it reached its peak with the episode High Sparrow, which had the perfect shock value and skill balance.

However, even someone as blind as Maester Aemon can tell, the show has been going steeply downhill ever since then. In an attempt to thoroughly shock the book readers as well as the show watchers, GoT has succumbed to reducing their plot to include ONLY the shock value, relying upon the gullibility of the viewers to propel the series forward. Of course, there will be the devoted fan criticizing this post for being unappreciative of the show, but you can’t please everyone.

One of the greatest joys of watching Game of Thrones was watching the characters react to the situations thrown at them in the controlled amounts that beget the best type of reactions. With season five, however, it became clear that none of that skill of acting would be seen because the show had decided to pull all the stops with regards to the plot, thereby forcing the characters to react to too much information at once, and causing the scope of acting to go steeply downhill. But the acting isn’t even the worst part.

In a failed attempt to allow the shock value of the show as the highlight, GoT clearly ignored the finer points of the series, like developing the show for it to be carried forward. The overuse of plot in the last few episodes guarantees that the show will have plenty to dish out in season six, but also that none of it will be at all substantial, because all that the show is aiming to do now is shock their viewers. What will be next? The death of Arya Stark, perhaps? Or the murder of Tyrion Lannister? Whereas twists such as these would have made my insides quake in the earlier seasons, where the story progressed in a fashion which made for maximum entertainment, now they are just an annoyance.

What makes a great story? Is it just the unexpected happening one after the other? Going by the logic being followed by Game of Thrones, it certainly seems so. It’s true that without an element of surprise, plots start to fall apart, but that hold true when the shock is an element, and not the entire foundation of the series. Game of Thrones used to be a fast paced rush of emotions, leading from romance and erotica through the shock of murder to the pain of death. Now, however, the plot has completely lost its balance, and the delicacy of a developing story has been thrown to the wind.

The books manage to preserve this delicate balance, mainly because Martin refuses to take to senseless butchery (despite what many believe) in the name of entertainment. So what is up with the writers of the show? Recently, friends of mine had a discussion about the show and one of them said that the show has become so ridiculous and so uni-directional in its approach that even the unexpected has become expected. I rebuffed him at that time, saying that the show’s unexpected plot twists were the only thing which made the show worthwhile. Clearly, I was wrong.

I was extremely certain of the death of Jon Snow after episode eight of the show, Hardhome, but not because it somehow fit into the plot or because it gave the story some weight or balance. I knew that Jon Snow would die because I could see that the show had resorted to cheap writing, where killing off characters and needless cases of rape are the only way emotions can be arisen. I knew that Jon Snow would soon suffer because that was the only way the show could keep the shock value going, seeing how their creativity now sits at the bottom of a pile of rotting oysters which Arya Stark cannot sell.

I therefore HOPED to be blown off my feet in the season finale, to see Jon Snow live through another season, but I was, of course, disappointed. It would seem that unless the show writers are empowered with the ability to kill of characters as they please, they aren’t able to write a half decent episode. I have half a mind to stop watching the show, because the level to which the acting and screenplay has fallen seems irredeemable, but I like to hold onto the hope that after season 5, the people pulling the strings will realise the grave errors of production that they have committed, and pick up their game where they crushed it beneath the feet of giants from Beyond the Wall.

It’s a shame to see such a promising series, inspired by the brilliance of Tolkien, go to the direwolves this way. The show was undoubtedly one of my favourites, and it will be a sorry thing to watch it go down the drain. I therefore am seriously contemplating putting an end to this misery, and leaving the show behind with whatever good memories of it I have left.

Comments are welcome.