Tag Archives: modern life

The Dichotomy of Creators | An Essay

You know there comes this phase in life for all creative people where they are trying to discover their styles? That point you don’t know where your ground lies, what is it that you are trying to express and what is the right medium to express yourself?

When a plant is born from a seed, does it know what it is meant to grow for?

I’m kind of going through that phase. We are alive in a century when anything and everything seems possible. There are so many ways today to express yourself. You could write, you could paint. You could take pictures, you could tattoo your body black. You could cook and make your dishes look beautiful. You could make movies, produce songs, produce music. You could just talk, become a speaker. You could write poems, you could perform your poetry. You can act, you can dance. You can be a digital artist, you can make animation, you can make cartoon or magic worlds. The possibilities are endless.

When the seed pushes against the soil, the soft, gradual push of the tissues, does it know that it’d come to see a world of sunlight, a world of the pleasant monsoon breeze?

As far as I can remember, I have expressed myself creatively through my writing. I have a special bond with the pen/pencil/keyboard. That’s something that I have perfected over the years. When back in 2011, I was on writing.com, I came across so many different styles of poetry, so many different styles of prose. “Baby shoes. For Sale. Never Worn.” And even to this day, writing remains my primary form of thinking (unless of course, when I am walking and thinking to myself, or talking to someone and thinking out loud). But over the years, I have come to realize that sometimes I want to express myself through something more than writing. Something more visual, something more auditory (auricular). So, I bought a camera and I clicked photos and made videos. I added sounds to the videos and I found my peace. For a while.

How does the first wisp of breeze feel on a newly born leaf?

But then, I realize that making videos has something very closely to do with the world around us. That world is peopled by peoples, by rules, by regulations, by fashion, by money, by trade, by technology. By history, by politics, by biology, by physics. By relationships. By reference systems. It is a complex world. It is a multi-dimensional world. I am thankful I have the five senses to grasp this world. But at any given point in time, can I truly grasp it in all the dimensions that it exists in? As-is? Simply grasp the world as it exists?

The baby plant continues to grow – by some prehistoric rule-set that dictates its growth, encoded in its DNA. It does not have the ability to think, to shape how it grows. It merely responds to the stimuli the world provides it. The direction of the sun, the kind of the soil.

Existing as a human in this world is complex, if not difficult. We are fighting to maintain status quo. We are fighting to destroy status quo. We are hungry to find a new world. We want to travel back in time and explore the era of corsets and kings and monarchs. We want to be free in choosing who we love. We want to be fit and not give in to the sedentary modern lifestyle. But if you are a creative person, sometimes, the world feels even more complex. Because you are not just trying to live it. You are trying to understand it.

And so… the plant can become a tree, without bothering to understand the world around it. It could be a dumb, blind witness to generations of life forms, and still be in a healthy state. 

And so, I envy the seed. I envy the plant. I envy the tree. I envy every simple life form that can exist without having the obligation to understand. To be understood. Yet, when I am feeling lucid and I can write what I exactly feel in the depths of my tissues (without knowing if it’s the heart, or the brain or the chemical reactions in the nervous system that allows me to do it), I feel grateful that I am a higher form of life. I am human. And that’s something to be grateful for.

Is this my life?

Note: This piece is part of Creative Writing series.

I am walking on a lonely road. The road is not dark. It is illuminated by the yellow lamps of the shops on the side. It is populated by people walking beside me, ahead of me, people on the other side. I do not know any of them. I do not speak most of their language.

I live in a solitary room. The walls are far away from each other. From the window, I hear rain fall on leaves of trees. I can hear crows caw if I wake up from a nightmare in the morning. I live on my own. I do not speak. I watch my life unfold in text messages, social media posts. I do not really do anything – I do not take decisions. I feel confused: at what point in life do you intervene the river of life and try to course it to the tune of your free will? At what point do you take charge?

Life is passing by. I fight my poor posture, keep straightening my back which invariably slumps back to a more comfortable but potentially harmful position. My teeth ache from time to time, I keep postponing the visit to the dentist. I think under my bed the plastic bowl of food is still lying. I did not cook today. I do not feel like it. I eat junk knowing fully well that is not what I should be doing.

Days are passing by. The love I care about flit through my grasp. I look at his picture on my phone, knowing well that it is futile. We are not meant for each other. Yet, sometimes, most times, in fact, every day, I lie in my bed, hoping for miracles to happen, while somehow being fully aware that the odds are steeped against me. In fact, there has never been the promise of a relationship.

I am at a fork in my life, slouching through it. On my morning walks, I meet the squirrels on the boundary of my apartment. I do not have any relationship with them. I want to Google what squirrels eat, but I do not know if they will come near me even if I take them food they like to eat. I do not wish to take chances. Somehow, I do not want to influence anything. Somehow, I just want to let life run its course, and watch it like a passive audience.

Is this my life? Or is this the shadow of someone else’s life that I am living?

How to keep your hobbies alive, or, how to keep being who you used to be?

A big part of growing up (read graduating college and joining the workforce) is learning that we are very different people that we thought we were. Or, coming to terms with the fact that we could be very different person a year from now. In a way, I guess a lot of us feel that there is something eternal about us, something unchanging.

I’ll give an example: growing up, I had been an avid reader. I used to be among those bookworm kids who hid storybooks behind their coursebooks and got caught and chided by their parents. I used to gobbles books by the day!

Cut to mid 2017 – I have been working for almost two years. Work pressure is high. I am struggling with relationship issues, poor sleeping habits (I had always been a morning person, and just can’t figure out, how on earth my sleeping patterns changed). I rarely read books – can’t remember when was the last time I visited GoodReads or reviewed a book there or on this blog. Only in 2015, I had promised myself I would read a lot, and in turn focus on publishing my own books. Na-da! Nothing of that sort is happening.

So, what filled the gaps of time in 2017? I watched a lot of TV series, some movies. That seemed like an easier way to entertain myself. Investing myself to go back to reading was hard: it is just so easy to see things when a motion picture is playing in front of you. So hard to imagine stuff when you have to make out all the motions from reading words! I could not remember that part of myself who used to stay up in the nights to read books. Did that person really exist? Who had I become?

This resulted in a bunch of guilt trips, and did not help with my depression. Not being able to identify with yourself, struggling with an identity crisis, is probably the hardest of all struggles. In your mind, there is a person telling you non-stop that you are not living your life the right way, the way that you have always known as right. You should do something about it, but somehow, you are not sure how and where, you lost that element of willpower which made you do things in the past. What is the cause? Is it work? Is it the pressure of dealing with adult life: living alone, interacting with strangers every day without having any family to go back to? Could be.

Yet, it could also be that what you are going through is a phase. People evolve. Most often when we say so-and-so has changed, we mean it in a bad manner. As if, people are always supposed to remain the same person who we knew. Our cells grow, die and new cells regenerate – that is the law of nature. We change our habitats, adjust to new surroundings. So, it is quite natural that our emotional and mental evolution will be impacted as well. There will be years in which we won’t be able to find ourselves. But the good news is, a small part of us which makes us us, never really dies. It might be sleeping for a while, trying to cope with all the changes that we impose on it, but it is always there.

So, if you really loved painting, really loved reciting poems, chances are, after this rough patch is over, you will get back to it. You just have to wait it out. And what should you do meanwhile? Explore other things in life, go out with people, watch some great movies, or maybe just sleep! Do whatever your current situation needs you to do. Maybe, one of them will become a new hobby! The key is to live life guilt-free. If you cannot spend time doing the thing you loved most right now, it is likely that there are a thousand other things which needs your attention at the moment. Have faith that, this phase will be over too – there will come a time when you have learned to manage those thousand things within reasonable amount of time, and there will be a glorious slice of ten minutes in which you have nothing to do: well, pick up that book lying on your coffee table and read it!

It is 2018 and I am again back to reading and reviewing books. Maybe my routine does not permit it to be as frequent as it used to be, but guess what, this is what life is all about: making way for new things while sustaining the good habits of the past. There has to be some compromise, somewhere!