My Way

“Sometimes I’m confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn’t obvious…” Michael Stipe

These days, I am between assignments – which is a refined way to state that I have just finished a project and am waiting, albeit anxiously, for one more to be dyed-in-the-wool. Now, if this does not entertain the intrusive, repugnant and patronizing social contact, what will?

Then there is a select, immensely cherished assemblage of people who continue to extend admirable emotional nourishment that keeps me going. But, they too, at times in their great concern for me, are apt to become unaware of the obvious.

So! With 170 Rupees in my wallet and 570 in the bank (to retain cheque book facilities) it is a good time to introspect.

Ah! Got you by the short and curlies, didn’t I?

But, do note that I am neither complaining nor making an appeal of any kind. Just indicating the obviously unobvious.

I used to cherish


that basked sensuously

in the sunlight

projected from a

dark moonless inside;

smothering the candle


so ferociously.

I used to splash


on unseen canvasses;

of invisible

dew drops


soft leaves.

I used to write


with petals and feathers

kissed by the


of passion.

I now

search for blossoms


within the labyrinth of my


with impressions of dry

dew-drops on withered


reflected nakedly in the savage


It is exhilarating to become conscious of all my senses getting sharper as I grow older and equally maddening to find that as the mind expands to an amazingly sensitive level, its physical container, the pod and other support systems do not oblige. Every part of the body except the brain seems to be dawdling with apparent glee. And through this measured merriment, the brain registers that it is getting increasingly difficult to secure projects that have meaning, depth or educational value. How long will I be able to sustain is of trepidation to me. All my ‘reserve for the rainy days’  have over the years been cashed for other peoples  ‘leaking roofs’  and today I am exposed to the proverbial elements.  Maybe, I ought to swallow my pride and take that offer of dressing up as a buffoon for an event-managed birthday party and entertain the guests! “Sirji, tenshun nahin lene ka. Sirf face par kalar laga ke pichwada hila dene ka! Aap to vase bhi acting-shacting kar chuke ho.”

One of the worst things that can happen to you is being able to see through people; to be able to sense what they are thinking – the noises, the hypocrisies, the lies, the erosion of values, obliteration of principles – how does one remain sane? I am like a ‘zinda laash’ moving from person to person, looking at myself and wondering what have I done in life.

As long as I was involved with television and constantly had my name in the newspapers, I was nauseatingly adored – could have womanised, drank, doped – would still be that “darling man”.  But that’s not what I wanted nor did I find it challenging. The moment I decided to quit all this I became a pariah.

Looking back at my so-called fragmented life and doing a reality check, I find that at the end of the day the lesson is very clearly hammered down my throat: If you don’t have a regular supply of money (doesn’t matter how and from where) you get no respect; no love…you arrive at nothing. Zilch!

How far can I stretch my meagre finances? What happens when there are no more corners left to cut? Borrowing is an anathema. Degrades the self and whenever I have been reduced to it, another bit of me has died.

To clinch that job, I need to travel – where do I come up with the money for it?

I need to consult a doctor and buy medicine – can I afford to?

I need to buy provisions – have I enough money?

I need fuel – can I meet the expenses?

I need to clear those debts – how?

Oh! These needs……………………!

Why don’t I understand that I cannot swim against the flow forever? If I become vulnerable why do I ‘need’ to take a stand? My ‘get-up-and-go’ is dwindling and a whole lot of people on either sides of my life’s repertoire are having fun.  Some declaring, “Well done! Bravo! We need individuals like you. You are a role model. Go ahead and give the world an idea about how things should be! Your initiative is an inspiration! Thanks for being there!”

And the other half or more are chortling, “What an arsehole! What a looser!”

There are days (when to get away from not so subtle pointers about expenses), I leave home and keeping a sharp eye on the fuel gauge, park the jeep somewhere and walk around trying to lobotomize my way of thinking.  Many days I just sit somewhere for hours (watching the birds), returning home with the respectably employed people. Two-faced? I guess so…but that’s one way to keep the noises down.

More than once I have tried to play the ‘smother-your-principles-game’ and failed miserably. It has left me with absolute anguish. Why haven’t I learnt? Unable to compromise and too late to change I cannot now turn back and re-trace my steps – so I have to continue moving what appears to be forward, if not sideways! Nor can I complain about the scenery because the path was of my choice. I am not tetchy but just trying to make things a little lucid to all those who keep asking me questions or constantly tell me/give advice – you don’t understand or even begin to comprehend my quest and the veracity that goes with it.  And deep down, believe me; I am very glad that you are not like me. I am happy for you.

So, whether it is obvious or not – money is a problem and the primary reason why I can’t always take that holiday or undertake quick trips. I may have metaphorically sold myself on various cross-roads to make ends meet, but never put my self-respect and integrity on the market. I know I am a type that ought to go extinct but till that actually happens, please bear with my reality even as I learn to further cope with my obviously unobvious way.

At each turning, I created a new way of life;

Never managed to stay long in one place.

Breaking away from it, made the household

Suffer as much as I did. But I never faltered.

I lost half my life searching for the self;

I never found that self, moved from it a thousand times.

Impoverished, wandering at dawn,

I sat down when I pleased, I rose again.

Night after night I argued with my soul.

I turned out that way, preserving my faith.

(Narayan Surve’s poem – translated from the Marathi by Nabar and Ezekiel)

5 Responses to “My Way”

  1. 1 Sarah
    April 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    And yet, is not the inverse also true? Though we think ourselves to be such elaborate, dense, unique creatures, it is at times painfully obvious to see through others–their nonsense, their patterns, their unconsious motivations…how then can we consider ourselves to be impervious? I shall never know another’s deep innerworkings, but if I know better my own, does that still make the other a stranger/outsider/foe? If all orders of operations are known, pre-set, how then is the Wonder to slip into our lives? You and your country taught me that lesson….

    • 2 bichhubooti
      April 22, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Yes, that truth is there…somewhere! I have no idea what my country has taught you and as-far-as I am concerned the inverse could be that I am being taught a ‘lesson’.

      I wonder
      if I smell like roses
      sitting amidst
      the shreds of my life.
      around me, are the codes
      that I learnt as
      part of my first lesson.
      At each awkward step
      I looked
      at the multitude
      and loved ones, passing by…
      And in amazed
      incomprehension tried
      to analyse my
      redundant edification.
      I continued the
      by the nudge of
      seemingly trustworthy hands;
      I learnt to believe in
      what people had forgotten
      no longer practised.
      I taught
      nothing…..for everything was
      contaminated and I
      was open-eyed
      but blind.

  2. 3 effem
    May 15, 2010 at 10:04 am

    This reads like the story of my life. I thought I was uniquely living on the edge.
    More like ‘tottering on the brink’! But then, here you are, and my dear friend, no matter how broke you may be, do not let anyone know, because ‘pouff’! they all vanish like phantoms in the night. I have trodden that road and am still on its verge. I know. But for such as we, miracles will occur and the road stretches on, and on, and on……May yours be broken with happy events, small prosperities and much love. It is enough, believe me.
    Now go.


  3. 4 sukriti
    December 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    sir you are always a wonder. i liked your views. do you remember me?

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