A Ship Called Pandemonium

I keep borrowing the next second

when all I can afford is the present

You keep forcing your rhetoric

while I fake attention, stoic.

 

Do you listen to your own advice

Of monsters and mice

painting dreams with lies

staring death down with glass eyes

 

Ants can love too you know

microscopic intimacy

minuscule proclamations

lilliputian wedding bells

 

The snake, it hisses

Life is more afraid of you

than you are of it

the snake, it kisses

 

Beech wood, teak wood

anything but driftwood

I can build a sail

but will you tax me for the wind

 

I’ll row till I’m through

far away from you

far away from a maddening

world, a saddening sight.

 

Sail your ship

they said

but always into the tide

to be swept to death

is martyrdom

they said.

 

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Why Creatives Prefer Solitude

I saw an interesting question on Quora today and I decided to answer it. The question was “Why do creative people mostly prefer solitude?”.

My answer:

There are two reasons why they prefer solitude:

  1. Because most people are not their kind of people. If you look hard enough around you, you’ll find that there are two kinds of people: those who like to think and those who don’t. The latter prefer to be fed information from whatever mainstream (or non-mainstream) sources they choose to follow without contemplation or questioning. They do not like to do research on any topic on their own and are generally loud and overbearing. Some might kindly refer to them as extroverts but I don’t believe all extroverts fall in this category. An example could be the pompous old neighbor and his wife who think they know what’s best for you and are convinced that their opinion is always right. If you don’t know any such people, you are either very fortunate or you have not lived on this planet long enough. The former category of people, the ones who like to think, are extremely rare and hard to find in most parts of the world, save some. They can be called intellectuals but they could also just be curious individuals who like to question and find out facts for themselves. I think this is where most creative professionals lie: they like to stretch and exercise their brains and they do so through their art. That is not to say that they are not skilled at logical subjects and sometimes some of the best scientists are also very creative people. As the number of people in this category is limited, most creative types are surrounded by folks who are not exactly the best company one would want when one yearns for creative or intellectual discourse and this makes them seek out solitude. Creative people like to learn about their craft and how to hone it. I think you would find that a sculptor, painter or musician prefers to learn from a master of their art rather than stay in solitude. But as long as a creative person does not feel challenged by the person they are speaking to or does not feel like they are gaining new information, they will soon lose their tolerance and seek some ‘alone time’.
  2. Because you need to be alone with just the sound of your inner voice.Ideas are formed in our minds, and the process of thinking requires utmost concentration. This is especially difficult to do when you are surrounded by other people who, no matter how much you like their company, will eventually cause you to sacrifice that undivided attention you need to give to your thoughts. When you are alone, you are most free to actually be yourself, to be comfortable in your own skin and shed any pretenses. This is what fuels original creativity, the liberty to be and to think.

Let me know if you have any counter-points to mine or any points to add. This is purely from personal experience and observations and I do not intend to vouch for the creative community as a whole.

Evolution of an Ailment

Like how some scents stick in your memory

because they remind and some because they erase

Some gestures just echo sentiment

while the limbs move to appease and reject

A constant surge of emotions like an unending

car crash with you as the windshield

Here comes plunging the plenitude of our existence

into the silent platitude of nothingness

If you can set the arteries of my city on fire

then why not the veins of Asgard with desire

I can only tell you what the constraints

of your morality will allow me to

I can only hope for the cure to lie

within your jurisdiction, for this ailment.

 

 

Sound of Sin

Sinner I am
For chasing your smile
for riding away
to dance in the darkness
I was a silhouette
you were a heartbreak
all I saw was the night sky
stars peppered it
you embodied it
you were a tightrope
I couldn’t find my balance on
I slipped and swayed
but you held me
with your voice
then let me fall
and when you told me
you’ll be leaving
I didn’t think
you’d be going
so I woke up
to my own reticence
embittered by longing
emboldened by loving
I woke up
to find you losing
your golden dreams
your twisted sins
Now I’ve learned
to avoid the chase
but when I knew you
it was never a choice.

Farewell, Free Speech

How much trust do you place on humanity? Let me tell you, my dear cynics and optimists, a story. Give me a few minutes of your time and allow me to transport you to a parallel universe, to a purely hypothetical situation in a made-up planet that may or may not be a reference to our own. It is a story about lifeforms, on a giant purple globe that plays host to a multitude of birds, beasts and relatives, with flora and fauna to match Durrell’s wildest fantasies. There is one species on this planet that is unlike the rest. This particular species has evolved over the span of a few centuries, a minor blip in the timescale of planetary evolution, to be the most intelligent organism amongst all. They developed tools, created fire, invented the wheel, and then accelerated their way into the realms of artificial intelligence, quantum mechanics and beyond, into the kind of technology that would put even Asimov to shame. And yet, contrary to what you would expect, they were the saddest of all species, forever whining and complaining about this, that and nothing at all, eternally discontent with what they had, always looking to wage war on other lands, chasing treasure and glory like stealthy magpies.

On this planet, there were hundreds of nations created by this species, which we shall now refer to as the Zorks. There was one particular nation, which, like a well-known secret, held the planet’s economy in a tight grip, had military bases that sprung up like mushrooms on almost every other nation’s coasts and had forced their way of life onto the rest of the Zorks in a move that us humans would refer to as a neo-colonialistic one. It was called Cameria. The Zorks, as a consequence of their epic wars and disproportionately high consumption rates, had always known that they were destroying the planet they lived in. But what could one do? Most Zorks became armchair activists, crying injustice from the comforts of their futuristic abodes and passively watching the horrors inflicted by their fellow Zorks. But unbeknownst to them, the most sinister threat of all was the almost complete takeover of their planet’s media by Cameria and its allies. They had ingratiated their way into everyone’s minds, touting honesty and transparency as the pillars of their journalistic ventures. More powerful than physical rule was mind control and Cameria knew it and made the most of it. Advertisements were designed to create wants, not to fulfil existing needs, Zorks were made to believe that Cameria was all-knowing, all-powerful and always right. What’s that, you say? Why didn’t they revolt? Oh mon dieu, revolutions are out of the question! You see, the Zorks had become too mollycoddled to step out of the veiled system they thrived in and observe it from the outside. That’s too much work; after all, why stand out in the sun and rally when you could wage effortless wars on social media platforms controlled by Cameria?

Sounds uncomfortably familiar, doesn’t it? Don’t worry old chap, it’s just a story. But I must warn you that fact is stranger than fiction. Now it’s time for you to go back to the humdrums of your world. If you think about this, it will weigh you down and when that happens, as Rumi once said, ‘Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there’. Till then, do ponder on the question I started this piece off with.