Sunday, July 22, 2012

Monday Musings 151 - We must have a plan

Monday Musings 151 - We must have a plan

"Life is what happens to you while you were busy  making other plans" -John Lennon

We must have a plan - thats the refrain one hears so often. I have dished that advise on many unsuspecting victims many a times. I am an ardent believer of having one all the time. In fact come to think of it, I have more than one all the time, given how in myriad ways the cookie crumbles these days.  

A plan gives things an element of certainty, a feeling, howsoever fragile and pseudo it might be, of being in control. The plan is the anchor in choppy waters, that may or may not suffice when time does come to test it, but till that time at least, it gives a warm feeling of comfort and surety.

 What can be more endearing and warm than to exactly know how things are going to unfold, events are going to pan out, stages are going to unravel, even if it means in the eye of your mind. In all probability their unfolding in the realms of imagination is more joyous than in reality - for in reality they unravel only once, but in the eye of your imagination it does over and over again. Think of all your 'plans' so far, some of which at this date may be referred to as childhood fantasies or adolescent wishful thinking, but which at that time certainly qualified as plans, and fulfilled or not, they still have the capacity to make you smile and give you that warm feeling. One must have plans.

One must have plans and one must not take them seriously. One must believe in them, one must have faith in them, the way one believes in God or has faith in the 'goodness of the world', but one should not be naive enough to be carried away by their certainty. A belief in God should not take away our eye from the devil; a faith in the need to be good should not make us oblivious of the fact that evil exists as much or more. One should make plans and one must be aware of their fragility.

Much as this paradox is difficult to be retained in one head without becoming insane, there are moments when the 'glass must break', if only to keep your rendezvous with reality. It’s almost akin to why a child must be exposed to all kinds of illness during childhood in mild forms so that the body recognizes the need to build immunity against that and much larger illnesses. Small plan must go awry so that we prepare for larger plans going awry. One must have plans and some of them must not fructify.

Can you discern your plan blooming or going to dogs in slow motion? It’s as difficult as watching a flower bloom - you can figure out that the flower has bloomed, but you cannot discern its each step. The bloom is the proof or the disaster.
Imagine how would it be to be able to watch a plan bloom and a plan go bust, but in slow motion. You can do it only if you are a hell of an observer. You must have the heart of angels, the courage of gladiators and the eye of a sage.

Its great fun. 


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Monday Musings 150- Monday Musings is five.

Monday Musings 150- Monday Musings is five.

Monday musings turns five on 9th of July. I would not have remembered this, had an old colleague not called up recently to inform me. It is certianly a personal milestone that is significant for me, although i am acutely aware that for most it should hardly matter. Here are some of the reflections of an ameteur's attempts at creative writing.

I started writing short pieces in English only when i was well past thirty. English was not my first language for the first thirty years - actually it was practically not my language at all for the first twenty years or so. Hence, the attempt to write in it was simultaneously an act of courage and a leap of faith. The first few steps were very tentative and clouds of self doubt always loomed large. A lot of us write for pleasure and for self consumption or at best share it with a close circle of friends, but writing for public consumption, where there is always a risk of an adverse comment or a barb or a critique, is a different kettle of fish. I was however daunted more by the prospect of discipline, of having to churn out a piece monday after monday. As one would see, that five years and a 150 Monday Musing's later, the success on that count is roughly 60% ie i have been able to churn out a Monday musing 60% of the mondays thus far. I think i have done good by my initial projections.

I have realised in these five years that writing is both an act of craft and an act of discipline and the latter is more difficult than the former. The Genius may look for an act of inspiration to be able to put together a piece, an event, a strand of a thought, a motivation so sublime that its expression will be nothing short of a masterpiece. More often than not however, a lot of observations are wasted, triggers are let unattended, which could have been tales worth telling. I forget more triggers than i remember. I realise if i do not attend to them then and there, the moment is lost. Its difficult, nay impossible to remember it later, much as one tries to struggle with memory or conciousness, a pursuit as futile as remembering last nights dream - you know its there somewhere, vague and hazy but cannot describe it. I regret not nurturing those triggers. I lament the loss of Monday Musings that could have been.

There are times when you feel strongly about something but the expression eludes you. Even as you finish the piece there is a residue than rattles inside you, that is the only proof that you have not justice to the thought or the subject. You have not completed the story and only you know it.

The harshest comment that i have ever recieved about Monday Musings from someone who has followed it closely for quite some time now, is that it is not someone who is living the subject. It appears to the reader that i am not a participant to the drama that i am writing about, i am just a bystander, an observer who is passive and has no stakes in the story. Fair point and accepted.

An imperfection about my writings that i am acutely aware is the singular lack of diversity of subjects. I seem to be writing more and more about the same things. My reportaire is limited or may be i am scared to venture into the unkown. I plan to change that in the coming five years.

As i look back for five years of writing, however intermittent it has been, i feel satisfied and hopeful, because i have managed to sustain it longer than i had estimated. I feel thankful to those who have followed my musings whenever they could, even though they had options of reading more gifted and accomplished writers. If the first five years are any indications, i have all the reasons to look forward to the next five. May they be more purposeful and intense.