A Turning Soon

The mountain tells me I am free. I hear it being said but it seems faded and untrue. The numbers just don’t add up, just aren’t fair. The closer and longer I look, the more it smarts, the larger the cheat!

Is this what my lips once quivered for? This the chain I turned my back on the world for?

This pain is not freedom.

The mountain tells me I am free
Every cell of me rises up, echoes, yes, yes,
In annoyance, in disagreement, in impatience, in hate.

I hear it sung, but it seems too painful, too difficult, and maybe too slow?

Life sings its own song, but my song is borrowed. The majesty of the snowy peaks belongs to all, but I belong only to the cold silence of the hilltop. Who will help me find the words to my song? Who cares a damn?

Waking up in the middle of the night, circles of vodka in my head and orange juice in my stomach, I rejoice in the absence of a memory, I am free, I am freed, I am freeing, letting go of the anchor, letting the wind take me, hearing the mountain but not what it says. I am free to be, to feel, to seek. I am free to turn towards or to turn away from, as I had always been. Who will help me find the words?

I hear it being said.

Yet all I know,
As I wall out gardens built,
Bury the swelling pain,
Take sides within myself,
As I see defeat in what feels like victory,
Is that the mountain is not wrong.

Subhorup Dasgupta

The Firewood of Earthly Desires

Greed is a major driving force of our times. The wheels of commerce and consumption have made greed legitimate to a point where not being greedy is a sign of being a loser, a misfit. Of course, you don’t openly call it being greedy – you call it ambition, go-getting, and other fancy names. Whether it be politicians willing to risk their careers or reputation by becoming party to scams, businessmen willing to ignore the consequence of their decisions, or sportspersons willing to let down the very essence of the game, greed is no longer seen as a sin, especially if you can get away with it. Yet, it is also one of the greatest causes of suffering, cutting across classes and masses. Even the wealthiest are not spared as they crave and slog to possess more and more. Those who are lower down on the "wealth" ladder suffer as they pine for what the world tells them will make them happier, wiser, sexier. The cycle is endless for all. No one ever turns around and says, "Hey, I got there!"

Why does greed play such an important role in our lives? Where does it come from, and what is it supposed to do for us? Why do even the enlightened and the educated fall prey to it? Is there a way out? I will try and share what I believe in this regard, and I promise to be kind. The thoughts expressed here are not based on an academic understanding of greed but on my personal experiences, so there may be times when what you read might be at variance with what is taught in “mind schools.” If you don’t like it, leave it.

It is hard to distinguish between greed and need, since greed manifests itself in the mind as a need. It needs to in order to thrive. This distorted perception of need can arise from a host of factors. At the core of these factors is a deluded sense of self, but that is taking things to a philosophical level. So let’s look at what causes this greed business to happen.

Anatomy of the Discussion on Rape

Sometimes in the smoke and dust of wars, it is easy to forget what we are fighting for. The joy of victory often blinds us to the pain of victims. And the fascist in us usually helps us by providing a binary answer to how things should be. The recent national outcry over crimes against women is a good example. It paints the world into rapists and victims, profiles women into those who are prone to being raped and those who are not, and dismisses the genetic programming of males as something that we overcame back in the times of Napoleon. Why it even divides people into those who are making an unnecessary hue and cry and those who are wisely taking it in their stride. The comfort of having an explanation, of having it all fall neatly into place, of having someone to blame, castrate and hang, is too tempting. And all of this is made palatable by the offer of public spaces to protest at, revisions to the law, and FMCG sponsored citizen initiatives.

We as a people are so fond of this comfort that those who are "forward thinking" have always capitalized on it. That is why the priestly classes emerge, why people wage wars over borders of thoughts, and why the same corrupt politicians keep getting reelected. Watching the public reaction to the recent rape of the five-year-old one afternoon made me write something that I could not make much sense of as I wrote it. I sent it to +Bhavana Upadhyaya of TillingTheEarthWoman as a guest post since I did not know what to do with it. She redacted it, very simply and with as good as no changes, into a readable piece and published it on her blog in two parts. You can find the posts here. Do take a look and join in the discussion.

Rapes On and On … (Qs We Need To Ask)

Rapes On and On … (Solutions We Need To Seek)

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