Not My Intention

#FlashFiction

“Get out of my life; get on with your life; just calm down and get a move on; Work hard; Focus more so to achieve more; Get a new job”

Those words reverberated over and over again like a rhythmic heartbeat. At a point of time it was so, that these insults and advices caught up like a tune, that I hummed like a playful song. It wasn’t me that caught onto my innocent yet weird habit, but the little girl in the elevator, who stuck out her lollypop just to ask, “Which artist’s song is this” It pained me to tell her that the rap of expletives was a wrathful tale about my divorce, my poor work life, my social life; essentially everything about my life. She wasn’t there yet, but I had a feeling that her wrathful song was just about to be written.

Hi I am jack, and this is my story.

I am a man of unusual habits, a rather calm demeanor with a countenance to etch an everlasting impression on you that will last, not in positive way. I get distracted so much that my 3 year old niece sleeps off out of frustration than because of my melodic voice reading out bed time stories. Sometimes I pander about topics and adorn a sagely fixture, to disguise my lack of creativity and subjectivity in life by a false illusion of wisdom. For me, life is a game of options, wherein my decisions are largely contemplated as a result of ‘easy options being the right ones’ mantra. Hence, I am stuck in a dead end job, in a dead end industry with a motivation level matching that of a Wall Street broker tying a noose round his neck, swiveling over a crooked chair. If life really is a race, I am the guy who hands out bananas and water bottles by stretching his hands out to runners, sometimes brushed aside and sometimes plainly ignored. Nobody really values my intention.

Life has funny ways of turning and twisting around. It started with a crying baby, followed by an indignant kid, a reticent teenager and a foolhardy youth whose aim in life revolved around getting laid. After short term aims subsided to make way for something better, my life wasn’t my own and I was expected to take upon the challenge of matrimony in life. It involved me getting hitched to a girl that I may have fancied a little, but there being no time and no room for doubt, parental pressure just caught on. The idea was to live happily ever after, had her legs not fancied being in the air for others around too. Like a bolt out of the blue, it struck me hard and thus began my passive journey into oblivion. I would have liked to start it off with a few days of unshaven living, trapped in the basement of my own house, probably cooking meth if I could, but then life catches on. So, from an ‘Into the Wild’ mindset I moved back into the ‘Back to the Cubicle’ mindset. It wasn’t fun to start off again, as life seemed different. As I would crane my neck about the cubicle like a radar trying to pick up signs of life, I would see robotic minds at work. That really bothered me. I didn’t have any obligations now and just didn’t care for the money so much. At work, I was losing focus and barely knew of what went around. So one day, I just lost it all. In a video conference meeting involving a foreign client, I walked in my tracks, as nonchalant as ever. Though my inputs weren’t really required, just to break the ice, I went on a self-deprecation spree, breaking the façade of my company’s make believe reputation layer by layer. That was my last day in the office. Again, my intent was right, but execution was wrong.

Coming back to the elevator, where I now stood, I can say it was a breather after so many days. I had been there the entire day, surviving off a burger which consumed my food quota of 2 days. I didn’t have any electricity at home anymore, nor any money or an AC, so I spent my time wandering in the air conditioned mall. Drooling about the food court for a slice of bread and festering off like a predator from one place to another, my life had certainly come to a really bad phase. My timeline of thoughts has drastically reduced, and now my major concern isn’t about another promotion or another social obligation to deal with, but how to go about another meal. It’s been six months since my ouster from the company, and I now it’s time to go back to that life or rather ‘lie’. This is my life’s unwanted intention.

 

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The Promiscuous Ladder

#FlashFiction

“Hey, you must have had a love life or a couple of flings? Now, don’t act all elusive, and let me on it” Sonali said in a surreptitious and seductive manner, as if to ascertain my candidature to be her next in line.

“I am not really that kind and get by just fine” I voiced out.

I was backing up against the other side of the elevator, and certainly hating the conversation we were having all along from the 20th to the ground floor. Of all the places, I had to be stranded in the elevator with just the right person. In the midst of the awkwardness of the situation, I found a rather astound me, staring right back at me through the mirror in the elevator. In the flurry of the moment, the color had left my face and now the orchid’s aroma was catching up my nose. Flattened and stuck against the wall, I wished I could just wriggle out of the ceiling hatch, maybe trample her over or disapparate the hell out of there, Harry Potter style. I wasn’t sure if it was my hatred for orchids or just the fact that her legs was cramming too close, steering in towards me, I just wanted to push her back.

“Wait!!!”

“What?” she exclaimed, startled by my innocent request.

“I am not sure to what really makes you think that I am up for it, but I really don’t want anything happening here. That’s not how I operate.” I stammered back.

“Don’t make it sound like a task. For all you know, this might just reflect on your performance evaluation.” Sonali sniggered off.

In our moment of candor, she twitched my butt and left me alone. There was a sudden calm and just that moment, we hit ground floor. As the crack between the doors slid open enough to let me through, I was out.

It’s one thing to be under an impressionable Boss and have her like you, but it is altogether another thing to have her under you. I wasn’t going to dole out to the corporate hegemony, playing it out to the fetishes of a dysfunctional person whose desire for power was so much, that it ached her beyond the sphere of professional life, leaving her dissatisfied all the time.

As I drudged towards the exit of the building, beating my internal desire, I quaked within, disputing between what was right and what was wrong. My brain told me that the idea was wrong and my action was right, my genitals told me that her intent was right, but the place was wrong. Clearly, men aren’t biologically wired to function properly in such situation, but I did force myself out of it anyway. Clearly, the ladder of success had let itself down for me to climb, in a manner I hadn’t sought.

Finding Yourself

“The day you find yourself is when you will find me”

With that line said, she left me to my solitude and miserable fate. As I stumbled to the ground, tears filled my eyes and her silhouette faded away into the blurring of the roadside lamps. Every step that she took further away from me was like the scalping of my heart, as I soaked in my sorrow and bled through my heart. For a minute I just sat there, oblivious to the gaze of those around me, ignorant of the sky that seemed dazed with the flight of my happiness, struck by a fate that seemed cursed and vindictive to my very existence, and a life I had become a victim of. I don’t know if it was the physical wreathing pain of a heartbreak, or the fact that her words had pierced through my heart, my chest suffered a searing pain. I wanted to get up and call out to her, tell her to how much I loved her and how life would be without her. But, as I tried to speak out those words, bereft of any power to resonate a sound, my lips stood pressed against each other staring at the glaring reality of the situation.

Staggering and fumbling, I dragged myself away from the grimness of the place to find some fresh air. I sat in my car and drove away from the eerie place of drudgery to seek calm, think clearly and weigh upon the reality that seemed so harsh. With one hand on the steering and other on the wine, with a vision so blurry, I sought something that was rightfully mine. Lucidity was now a novel notion, curbed by the wine, so I pressed on the accelerator to reel in the helplessness that seemed to swathe over. Finally, I reached a cliff that stared into the darkness, with blips of sporadic lights. In the past couple of minutes, from being a romantic, I wished myself a misanthrope who reveled in the fact, that lights of misery were now far away. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be, maybe it was destiny or maybe it was just my fault.

Churning the sand under my feet, I gathered myself to walk towards the edge.So I stood there, on the extremity of danger, staring at death, breathing heavily, arching towards the ultimate way.This is when I remembered it again, maybe this is how I find myself, so as to find her again.

Stand Tall, Stand Alone

Through the dark alley, making headway into the arena, walking slowly towards towards the white light, he finally walked into the howling and chirping crowd as people jeered for a revolution. Some had a smug face and grimaced as the Black man walked into the field to play, while others like him waited in anticipation for the magic to begin. This was the year 1947, and the baseball player in mention was Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.

Today I saw the movie “42”, a biopic on Jackie Robinson and his seamless tryst to vindicate a black man’s right to live. The movie was more than inspirational, as it didn’t only made me think about making concerted efforts towards doing what I love, it showcased beautifully to how hurdles and obstacles which lynch onto our strides are best trampled upon, and shouldn’t be heeded to. Here is a summary of the success mantra that Jackie had to teach us:-

  • Listen to critics to learn, not to burn.- As Jackie walked out of the dugout onto the field, there howled another player from the opposition, slandering and making racial slurs, to distract and defame him. Jackie maintained his posture and focus as he eventually went onto win the game for his team, the Dodgers.
  • When the world is against you, walk with a smile– There were many instances wherein the moment Jackie would walk onto the field, the stadium would erupt with boos and discriminatory shouts, but he would play on regardless. For people, seeing a black man play the same game was insulting to the sport, and something to be frowned upon. Few were racist, the others just acted due to the pressure created by the atmosphere.
  • Keep your family close and together– Inspite of how the world treated him, Jackie never forgot the fact that this wasn’t just about him, but the entire race. He drudged and toiled through misery, but what kept him going was his family which helped him through.
  • Fight for yourself and the world will fight for you– As Jackie gets hit on the head by one high pitched ball, he finds his entire team on the field on a physical rampage against the other team for an intentional act to harm him.

As the movie goes on , there comes in a beautiful line of thought, which elaborates on the idea of  “Sympathy”. We all know the term and we all know its physical and emotional ramifications. Yet, we choose to ignore what it really stands for. It comes from Greek, and means “i suffer with you”. When I say that I sympathize with you, I not only mean that I feel sorry for you, but to what afflicts you,in turn bothers me. I hence, can’t stand to see you in pain, so I suffer.

Pro at Procrastination

Dates and deadlines, Misses and Goodbyes. It’s not the schedule that’s scarybut the idea of having to do it is what sends shivers through the body. Procrastination is a contagious disease, that spreads across the college dorms or at the fraternities. It is the Sunday morning that is replicated throughout the year, just maybe without the beer or a bad case of hernia which just doesn’t go.

As the sages of the past would like to put it ‘prepare for the outcome with a plan in mind, stay true to your motive and it shall become a reality should you try.’

Not too much of a task, is it.Then why the hullabaloo over the art of delaying tasks. Well, it’s probably because delaying hard work to make merry in make-believe trivialities clogs your mind. As the line goes, “Addiction to distraction, destroys creative production”. The only thing that requires delaying is the gratification. When you delay gratification for another day, and work for what is now and what is done, you become stronger. As I write this, my mind ploys against me as my hands wriggle away to the toggle pad to close the tab outright. My grey cells don’t seem to ponder about what is right, but for what I am missing out on.

What am I missing out on?

Well, right not I am missing out on a movie that I have opened on the media player, maybe the book I have opened up beside me, or maybe the assignment which was due last week. If my schedule pad was a person, it would right now be either cursing me or curling up in shame to how ‘used’ yet unused it feels.

You see, the pleasure loving people that we are, are probably born to regret things in life as we strive towards happiness. Life is like the undulating stream of line, which pitches over like a heartbeat, stretching across the entire canvas, from one end to another. There is no middle ground attained ever, especially for the procrastinators.

Is there actually a middle ground?

Well, there is a middle ground. That is a way is a no-man’s land too. It isn’t dominion of utter happiness or complete sadness, but the area of an emotionless endeavor of tireless hard work. It not instant gratification but habits that count. Habits are few things that stay. When you are lazying around, wondering how to push off work and find the next movie to watch, it’s the subconscious mind which creates a surge of a magical energy that flies you off the couch to the study table. Sometimes, it’s like being on a automatic mode, doing things without having to will it.

In order to succeed, you must will it. But then, how do you go about actually doing it?

Well the statement about will power is to an extent right. But if you have to will everything, then the obscurity of the task will only exhaust you will power. You shouldn’t have to will it desperately everyday to be able to get up at 5 AM. If you do, then life will be a pain. As you are constantly nudging the dreamy head to fight against the routine, you are pushing yourself too hard. After a point of time, that willingness to get up early, study early and better, run more and sleep less just amalgamates to an exhaustive mind play of constant discomfort. Maybe it will work initially, but then should you loose it once, coming back to it will not be a possibility.

To develop a habit, one must start small. It’s like being that toddler once again, who took the staggering steps towards mommy with an enthusiastic laugh of accomplishment as it took it’s first steps.The baby doesn’t reel under the pressure of having to replicate it again later, but just enjoys what it does. That is exactly what one should do.

Maybe when you have built up a robotic mind with an SSD mind, and a RAM strong enough to work quick and easy, you will get things done easily. Procrastination will no longer be your forte, and you will be not sitting on the couch watching a channel you don’t like, just because the remote was too far away.

Dream big, start small and start NOW.

Measuring Success

How do we measure success in life?

I have been striding towards a perceived ideal of what I call ideal living, with a notion in mind that this is what success would feel like. Success would be something that enthralls and rejuvenates your very soul, a never ending tryst towards happiness and well being. But this idea is very vague, and in a way very immature and ill conceived. Success as we perceive it is a goal, but in it’s true sense is the consequence of what we go through trying to achieve it.

What drives us towards success isn’t an invisible force or an understanding that “success” in itself is a virtue that befalls those who are great, hence in order to be great, we should strive for success. Continuous ardent attempts to be able to succeed are in fact driven by motivation. Motivation in turn is driven by the sheer desire to emulate someone’s life or seek perfection within us. In the words of Conan O’Brien,”It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.” Heavy words there, but something equally potent which speaks volume of what success really is and how one should go about it.

But how should you go about actually driving towards this obscure idea when faced with real situations. There isn’t one way, and there certainly isn’t an easier way. When you think of life and think of how things turned out, it is only by experience of what is deemed as “failure” do you understand how to succeed. In fact, we become more appreciative of our success in life, only when things don’t fall in line. Success isn’t just the end result, its an ability that defines us. Its our adaptability and maneuverability to go about a maze, where each turn has potential incentives or drawbacks. But each turn, also has an opportunity cost. a cost of learning the art of failure and dealing with it. If you go wrong somewhere, you entire path ahead is redefined. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find the find the right path again and find that treasured goal. It’s your determination that pushes your through, and it is your love for the experience that forces you back in , to constantly reach out and continue being you, an amazing you.

I recently read an article of how people who are successful seem so sublime at what they do. Without dwelling much into what really maybe, but what eyes have us believe, we draw the conclusion of the natural skills that a person is born with. Within our skewed notion of such observation lies our inherent flaw of complete denial and vindictiveness towards those who are essentially better at being them. We are insecure about our abilities and that makes us jealous and emasculates us of our potential to our betterment. We try to run out of such situations by undermining what the other is capable of and let ourselves believe in the sanguine nature of the charade that we have created for ourselves. We condition the mind to be non-responsive to such stimulants so that it doesn’t break through our walls of complacency.

Once Pablo Picasso ventured out into the streets of a busy flurried market, only to be met by a fan who saw him instantly. She ran towards him and requested him to make her an painting with those skilled hands. Pablo, being as skilled as ever, drew out a piece of paper and made her a painting in less than three minutes and demanded a million dollars. The Lady gasped at the figure and asked him politely to why such a hefty sum for something that was drawn in less than three minutes. A drift response was ” What took less than three minutes to draw took thirty years to master” . Success isn’t something that gets calibrated by a moment’s achievement, but skills perfected by being persistent by doing our best.

This Is Where The Magic Begins

There was something about her that had this eclectic mind completely smitten. From a directionless wallow of complacency, I had been shaken to believe in something very potent. Like a smear of selfish desire that swathe over my wondrous mind, I had been left unbereaved  though incomplete. Something that wasn’t mine had crossed the thresholds of my inner beliefs, and had opened up a void and embraced me within. At that minute as I swerved in palpable love, the enigma of intimacy engulfed my soul and made me believe in love.

That day,the ambiance of the place was electric yet soothing. To be standing right there at that moment was like an apocryphal tale coming true.I stood my ground and watched in grave silence at that distant beauty whose aura was like lifting breeze. An incandescent light a midst the darkness as it glowed, filled her eyes and made them glint. It’s true what is said, it’s all in the eyes and not in embrace. I breathed upon myself heavily, doling out in the moment of ecstasy which seemed unreal. I walked to those blissful eyes, and stared them close , gasping as i did, wondering to how things as pretty had come out of the blue. She behaved as if she knew what my mind had conjured, yet remained calm and composed. My body seemed to leave me as I stretched out my hand and placed it by her waist, pulled her close and then felt her breathe. It was truly magical, the moment or the person, I still wonder.

I tell myself sometimes that if it should have, it would have. But then, sometimes it’s not for the mind to decide, it’s the heart. You can fool the world, but not the heart. To be there and feel the magic, and to be here and see it all go away, it true and harsh

Being Oblivious

Oblivion of the desires and pursuits of mortal existence is a dream which noble souls seek. It never comes down to an oddity of weak choosing oblivion over enrichment for they aren’t prepared to deal with the reality. The truth is, ignoring what may seem harsh, but at the same time existentially irrelevant is a pursuit of the strong and intelligent. It showcases your ability to prioritize without any undue misery attached to any decision you make. When you walk up on a stage to be heard for what you really stand for, it’s always good to be oblivious to the voices of dissent in some corner on the room. You should always know, you are up there to be heard,not to please.

In a world full of diversity, not in sense of race, gender or creed, it’s the attitude which distinguishes people. Being oblivious to others is an option which is misinterpreted and deeply abhorred in general. The idea isn’t about ignoring those around you, it is just that there should never be a moment in life, wherein you let go of yourself to be someone you aren’t, just because those voices of dissent caught up with you. The agenda is and should be to do as you please, not in a selfish way, but in a manner so as to be able to preserve your identity.

So can I actually slate out a criteria to get the oblivion act right?                                                   No

I just know one thing for sure, to be able to please everyone and anyone who may or may not matter is a thing of God. We are mortal and a little disdain or hatred will not kill anyone as much as a life full of frustration at the sight of disbelief and extreme insecurity about our own skin.