Ladder Games

Ladder of success, a treacherous path for lovers and professionals alike, has been a figment of literature as well as prelude to great many management books. While Romeo and the Students of Bihar Board had it literally, the rest of us see it as a novel idea which is so intangible and blissful, that to envisage the reality(oxymoron) of it ensnares our lives like a whiff of crushed ‘ganja’ ensnares a pothead.

Ever since I was a kid, I heard this line on and off, “To climb the ladders of success isn’t everyone’s doing, for it requires hardwork and persistence”. Unfortunately no one seems to know where can one really find this ladder, climb it and be done with the damn expression. I am as uncertain about my future as a Bushmen(from the Gods Must Be Crazy fame) running around in the middle of the Kalahari in search of water. Lest I give into the temptation of joining the rat race, I find it hard to decide what I am meant to do. Today I was reading an article titled “How do I handle it When People trash me” by James Altucher. As the title suggests,James had some issues and he was just passing on the wisdom learnt of not letting fools drag you down to competition at what they do best. In the article, he just mentioned that in the darkness of the negativity shrouded by misguided people, you might lose track of your ladder of success. That is only if you were on it in the first place. So, do you see of all that goes the idea of being on the ladder of success. You need to find it first, climb it later. If you are lucky, there wouldn’t really be people to pull you back and hopefully none to push you down. So goes the expression,’let go of people who drag you down’, for falling off that ladder isn’t an idea to cherish.

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.

 

Instant Gratification

“You have completely lost it.” the rapacious December Playboy issue on my desk spoke out loud.
“You need to get things back in control man, its high time you do” the TV remote control added on.

“Yeah. That also means that you need to stay away from that girl, she seems to be an awful distraction to your life. ” came a sound from  nowhere.

As I looked around to check the source, the JBL Pulse flinched. It then stretched out its hand shyly, and pointed to the computer. The Computer was rather rampant in defending itself, and gyrated about to shake itself out of screen saver. The culprit taking a jab at my girlfriend was in sight, FACEBOOK.

“You of all the people talk about distraction” I asked it.
“C’mon, the onus lies on you. I wasn’t the one who dragged you onto me, and had you slay over and over, viciously clambering over the lives of others.” said FB
“First of all, that just sounds wrong. Second, you are due for deactivation now”

Such was my irritation, that in a sudden blip, the screen went off . I didn’t want to listen to it anymore, and then power cord was just a plug away

Another interview, and another rejection. They weren’t mutually exclusive events anymore, but buddies who seemed to be too pally. Poor academics and a pathetic ECA seemed to add-on to the already near abysmal existence.

Except for the JBL, the rest of the folks had all seen me grow up, and now were concerned about the way things were in my life. It was only in the past few years that I had befriended these wretched souls, who were otherwise stationery pieces of the living room set. From an ace student to a grace student,what had gone wrong in the past couple of years, was I not good enough or was I too scared to deal with the increasing pressure. I no more juggled between assignments and commitments, rather left them all than just choose one. I have lost my capability to slug it out for hours and hours, to practice and to improve. 

The TV remote is right, I do need to take things in control. But where exactly am I going wrong?

I don’t think I have to think too hard along these lines. The reason sits right there on my face as I write this article, patience and instant gratification. I lack the patience to give words to my ideas and I want immediate results in the form of quality and good reviews. Patience is a virtue, when exercised reaps benefits, when abhorred leads to loss. In my case, my patience in pursuit of goals, combined with my love for instant gratification seemed to have swayed me on a different line altogether. My efforts are diluted in quality and quantity, my goals are utterly vague since I have no means to believe that I can do better. Since I no more believe in myself, I am here surrounded my bunch of unnecessary distractions which offer no potent solution to any issue in life. It’s like delayed reaction to problems as a means of instant gratification. Defer the problem now, enjoy the moment and who knows, something might magically work out in the future.

TV, computer and mobile are my best friends, while the books bite dust in the corner of the room.I remember reading that the TVs are like lullabies, which force the mental activity to zero down. In contrast, reading a book is more challenging, since it involves observing, contemplating and inferring. Like panda on streak, I have been scratching off work off my list, and making room for more pleasure than working towards a better future. That’s the disease of instant gratification

 

 

 

Complacency in being competent

Like the wayfarer who stretches out to a journey of fulfillment, my inclination while in college wasn’t to the static environment within the classrooms, but to the liveliness that seemed to befall the environs outside of it.Thus, my presence was rather limited in the classrooms, as I spent more time wandering about. Passing through college like it hardly mattered, for I was a firm believer that it was the experience in life that mattered much more in life than sticking around a bunch of books, so I tried a lot of different things. It had dividends, but not worth living for. I was getting by, scarping through rather, not gliding by, which I would have wanted. From school to college, my life had seen a transformation wherein the priorities of life had changed drastically and I wasn’t the person I once had been. The ace student in me had been taken over by the nasty frivolous casual wacko who escaped things in the pretext of “not my passion , not my thing”.

It’s a curse to dwell in complacency and call it perfection. The mind fools us and affects our understanding of the reality as it allows us to dwell in complacency. I know this, since at a point of time in life, I allowed myself to be dragged in such banality, that to revert back to normality was not a choice but a necessity. While the ideals of experience that I believed in were not momentary surge of blithe disregard for strenuous efforts , I felt that this had to be complimented with commitment in every sphere of life. This learning wasn’t overnight, neither were the results. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When you kick around with life, life kicks you back. Some people understand this in theory and swearing to their mortal existence don’t play around with the wishes of fate, while few like me sometimes choose to expand horizons out of a sense of daredevilry and play with life.

I remember after having scored wonderfully in school and having made it to the best college in India, I was on the moon. That seemed to be the highlight of my life and everything seemed too sublime. I suddenly found myself as the center of attraction, being the topic of discussion and an adviser to all. Then came college which was pretty cool. But then, while everyone saw this as just the beginning of the rat race, and were all geared up, I was standing by the side watching people smack each other through it. As people tried different things, I chose not to do different things, and let that be the difference between me and the rest. That was a rather skewed logic, since the first year me was pretty foolish. So, I screwed up my academics. From 90s to 60s was the graph that I was drawing, and worst of all, I played it cool. I do have to accept, a part of me told me, that this is the level you get to be at and no where beyond. Back in those days I would get intimidated by one and all, and believe that I didn’t have what it takes to be the best of the best. So without being in the middle, I evaded the stress involved in competing with the crowd.

Somewhere down the line, It took on small event to trigger a response, a feeling which made me question things. A personal tragedy changed my perspective in life. I can’t say what it was, but it made me feel again, and feel that I mattered just like the rest and I deserved better. The crowd that I refrained myself from getting engaged with was no more a point of concern. In fact, they weren’t even the point of congruity in my life anymore. What other did with their lives wasn’t my business, hence how well they did wasn’t my concern either. I let them be, and focused on myself. I remember setting up a list of things that I had been missing out on, and set of a bucket list of personal goals to be attained. It didn’t matter if they were to be accomplished just then, or in a few months or a few years, as long as I tried. So, then I set out participating in things,attending lectures and finally getting to know my classmates.My academics improved, my confidence and personality improved, so did my health. The world wasn’t conniving to make my life a miserable hell after all, and my willingness to try was reinforcing that belief. I did well eventually, but the journey is still on. Everyday is spent in constant amazement as I stop less and do much more, keeping myself busy and relishing the fact that we should take on life to move ahead,since side stepping and watching the game just doesn’t make the cut.

Transition

For the DAILY PROMPT

“Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?”

By the time she reached the railway station, she was panting with sweat tricking down her face, ebbing down her breasts and drenching her completely. She had hardly been able to pack her bag when he had come back knocking. high on desperation and inebriated out of his wits. Today was the day that she had called it quit to those incessant nasty disparaging remarks that she as the lady of the house had chosen not to conform to. Aisha wanted a different life, a better life, a life with respect and a life without her alcoholic better-half.

Lately his responses to her concerns about his life were becoming vague. Was he going to loose his job, would they have to shift again or was he finally getting back on track? Sanjay had an issue with his temper and usually would spring up on everything and anything that would insinuate a repugnant remark on his caliber and character. He had come to think of life as a constant  affair of immeasurable pain, wherein he tread the path of misery alone. His love for Aisha had dwindled over a period of time, as it had become difficult for him to see her concern as an act of utmost love, but an act to rip through his insecurities  by reminding him of his acts of indiscretions and incompetence. Slowly and slowly, the cracks in the relationship had become so wide, that the wife he adored became a paddle to rub against as he swerved through rough waters in life. Sanjay would constantly abuse Aisha, both physically and emotionally. Number of occasions, he would come back really late, usually drunk. He had been going through some tough times at office in the past one year, and his professional life had started taking a toll on his personal life. Over the past two months, things had only gotten worse. Not only did he sound dejected and cheated in life, all his frustration in life would translate into forced sex with Aisha. If she would refuse, he would beat her up and do so regardless. Making love had taken a different trajectory in life and it was becoming harder for Aisha to believe that in what was once a relished as a union of two bodies and one soul, was now a relationship bereft of any emotion and was a plain carnal relationship.From being that jovial woman with an intellect, who painted a larger than life picture across her,Aisha had come to become  a submissive and passive woman, who would startle even at the sound of a bell. A fine delicate face, which once fashioned a broad smile, now had bruises and dark patches redolent of a violent life. She was loosing it and loosing it fast.

Having deliberated on situation and options, Aisha could no more find reason to stay in a relationship wherein her husband no more saw her as a partner, but just a critic. She had become a symbol of his failure. So, one evening she confronted Sanjay for the dismal condition that they had reached in their life and told him about her finally calling it quit and leaving him forever. Of what followed were constant rebukes and utter violence. She was not only beaten but locked inside the house as well. Having lost her parents at a young age, Aisha didn’t have anyone to look upto and with in-laws who were not even willing to acknowledge her as their daughter-in-law, things couldn’t have been worse. So, she began writing and counting days of her miserable existence. She even contemplated killing herself, but in a place where she was already dead in her aspiration in life, physical death hardly mattered.  Deep down inside she wanted to live.

So, one day when Sanjay was out for work, Aisha made up her mind to run away. She packed her bag and took whatever she could in that short time, for he could return any minute. As she had feared, he returned shouting shortly afterwards. Only later when he realised that he had locked her in, did he open the door . This is when Aisha, completely shaken and shivering knew that the time had come. It was now or never, or else life would come catching and cut it short of the happiness it deserved. As Sanjay made way, the house opened to an empty living room with things discarded and thrown around, with an open window and a rope running down. She had run away from the shackles of his abhorrent life to see life in a way she knew how.

Probably too exhilarating an experience, Aisha was making a dash for her life and was finally smiling again. She felt liberated not at the breath of fresh air, or by the fact that there was no more incessant beating, but only because she could decide for herself. She ran towards the station as fast as she could, fleeing away from the place not even to let the old air catch her and cake her lungs with the weakness that had come to adorn lately.

She booked the ticket for the next north-bound train she could find and waited for a few minutes. She placed the satchel on her lap as she sat down on the bench at the deserted station, keeping the suitcase beside her. Nearly exhausted enough to pass out, she glared at the lights around her, which seemed to transcend from just beacons of illumination to thoughts of a future. As true perspective had come to her when she was forced upon a pedestal of pain and agony, she now envisaged life differently .With a discerning gaze, she looked at the passing by people, observing them for what they were and how different they seemed. She knew in her heart, that people were all the same, struggling in their own existence yet laughing away , taking things in their strides.

A Thought of Fiction

a thought of fiction

I am a player of randomness, and it is my domain. To be beyond it is an idea so appalling, for randomness is not chaos, it’s just an idea of free will. So, swerving into randomness, I had an idea of utter brilliance with a streak of absurdity. What if, the words we speak were not an element of our conscious mind, but that of our subconscious. So to speak, our speech were the manifestation of our free mind and free will, rather than thoughts subjugated to societal hegemony and crass disposition of those around us. Would that make the world a better place to live in or not?

Just to make this clear, the subconscious isn’t just grey matter with only perception but no initiation. The subconscious is the background of the scenery that you paint through the course of your life. So basically the girl in the picture isn’t the most outstanding feature of the painting, it maybe the scenery in itself, hence is said, see the bigger picture in life :p. Nobody would like Julie Andrews dancing to the track of “The Sound of Music” in the backdrop of Gothic metal heads.So, the background does matter and in a way influences the center piece. What we see isn’t what we believe in, it is always what we are told to believe in, is where we vest our trust. Had we actually believed in what we saw, the subconscious and conscious wouldn’t be two tiers of thoughts, but reflections of each other, with one being just a little more refine than the other.

What we are subconsciously is very sublime and innate to the idea of our being. But what we put forth consciously maybe just the way we want to be. In college, we choose to hang around with a set of people, who supposedly are very cool, whereas deep down we want to be amongst those geeks at the book club. We persist in our efforts of making to the football team, something that we suck at, but don’t step into the auditions for the lead to that play we always loved. In such situations, if ever there was a possibility where you could just speak out whatever you wished too, life would certainly become less complicated.

Complexity in life is like the basement of a dungy house and you are the spider in it. Either you roll around weaving a constant thread and walk away from the hell hole or sit cooped up, weaving constant webs around in the same place till you yourself get tangled in them and die a miserable death.

Here is another thought on subconscious mind. Have you seen the movie Lucy or Limitless? If you have, who would you weigh in as the champion of situations, the conscious or the subconscious. Well, subconscious in indeed limitless, but to be fair to consciousness, it does channelize the subconscious thoughts, but not in a way so as to distort them.

Will subconscious eradicate the element of pretentiousness? Well, it just might. But then, it again depends. Those who are habitual liars and pretenders, believe inherently that what they are doing is the best for them. So, the subconscious mind, which is the reflection ,has been indoctrinated into believing just that. The eyes and the ears, see and hear things differently and thus, the subconscious has a different story to tell.

Everything is after all just a story, just an idea. Few grasp onto real life, rest fade into our subconscious and die forever.

The Relic of Euphoria

Freedom

As I boarded off the subway, and headed through the alley onto the staircase, the breeze sunk me down and I was hit by that feeling again. The feeling that I have been dreading for the past one year, every enviable moment that reminds me of her. I came to despise myself that such an aberration to the beauty of the city of Delhi, has come to play such a significant part in the entirety of my ephemeral existence. I was clad with emotion and the sense of vulnerability swayed me over the edge. Regardless of how I felt, I continued to gaze across the ambiance that Connaught Place had to offer. It’s too delicate a situation, when your feet sit still, weighing you down as you walk, for every step that you take it a constant reminder of a past that no more recites itself with same fervor as it did at a point of time. Every place you see is a memory of her, and even though you desperately try to avoid the reality, it catches on. It’s hard to blame a place, for it just stands there whilst you look away and rage into a string of expletives which your mind desists. It still exudes its pleasant vibes which had once drawn you towards it, and comforted you well so as to become symbol of your love.

So, I kept walking around with a lot of random and awkward gazing. As I continued on my daredevilry, the paraphernalia of CP no more shackled me with nostalgia. Maybe it was just the weather, or the people or just the fact that amidst my stroll, I had forgotten about her or had let go of my objective strain to see the place as raunchiness of heartbreak and pain. The place which emasculated my very soul, suddenly seemed to enrich me with a feeling of rave bravado. I wondered whether the feeling that had been haunting me for the past year, wasn’t the feeling of misery and sadness, instead was a feeling of warmth and love that I had chosen to cloak in eternal sadness, for the face to that memory had become too much of a burden to bear. I had started to love this place, in fact I always did.

So, amongst the crowd I walked with my new found endearment for CP. For the new found wisdom was too captivating, a jovial me walked through the crowd with a new feeling. Now and then, I would feel the urge to go back, for maybe the feeling was too overwhelming that my wretched heart could absorb. But then I would force myself to carry on and loose myself in the moment and in the crowd like a faceless lovelorn creature who had somehow found a key to bypass the deceptive heart and its ways.   The feeling was her blessing, for she has made it special. She may not feature in the picture of my life anymore, but I knew one thing, the place which once stood as a relic to my love shall forever remain so. The feeling I had sensed at every minute with her by my side, had become a part of me. This feeling had beset a feeling of dismay at a point of time, when her betrayal clouded the love that I had found in her. But, when I finally gave in to the idea of fate, the cloud evaporated and the warmth returned.

I will return to that place again, and you shall see me with my strident steps, embracing the air like a carefree child. I will know no sense of fear, rather will blaze away in the sun with my candor and euphoria to live a life of love again.

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.