How To Woo A Writer

Know the easiest way to woo a writer? For beginners, don’t set your sights on being their muse. A writer’s work tends to be a reflection of things they understand, but their minds are constantly preoccupied by thoughts they cannot grasp and concepts they cannot comprehend. A writer is curious and eternally intrigued; what they already fathom will never fascinate them.

In essence, never be a known entity to a writer. Instead, be the enigma that evades them. Be the emotion that toys with their inhibitions, but one they would still give a part of their sanity to decipher. Be an incomplete poem, be a half-written story; be the crumpled piece of paper tossed frustratingly into a bin because they couldn’t find the words to describe what lies within.

Know the easiest way to woo a writer? Be the paradox they couldn’t put into words.

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Letters to Self

Dearest Ego,

I think recently you have caused me to think false things about myself. Concepts I would like to address for one: this notion that I know everything. This is a contradiction one does “know everything” because everyone is a conscious being connected by means of energy which is the make-up of the entire universe. To say that you know everything, limits you to the few concepts you have only begun to recognize and resonate with. I think I have found a better way of going about this, in thinking that I know nothing. I then open myself up to the truth of free flowing energy (or in other words knowledge) that is accepted only when you are open to receiving. If I would do the latter and assume that I know everything, as you have advised me to do; I would be fooling myself therefore becoming the fool who mindlessly enters the same mistake over again.

I would also like for you to tell your friend Pride that she indulges herself way to much in thinking that she is also right. When in reality I have come to believe there is not right or wrong only decisions made in fear, illusion, greed, and lack or otherwise. I know all of you are essential to my being so I will begin to accept you as a natural part of my psychology. These ideas of wanting to be accepted and applauded among my peers are not what I truly want. I have been missing the reason why I propel in a certain direction to begin with, for the sheer joy of understanding and broadening my education, my passion. With this notion full realized, I will now go forth realizing what has compelled and pursue that passion purely for the purpose of higher knowledge. If in fact, there is such a thing?

I have noticed that streamlining and pressuring me to complete a goal is like becoming a moth mislead by a foreign light source. When insects fly at night they often use the moon’s light as navigation, they have no perception of distance. The moon’s light helps them judge so both of their wings can beat at the same rate and they can fly in a straight line. Once a foreign light is introduced in the moths path such as a candle or light bulb their perception is thrown off. They then instead of calmly float through the evening air, frantically fly at a source that leads them to a light bulb or  an unfortunate flame.

These creatures are like man when he lets ego dictate what the purpose in life is, empty perceptions. Thinking that once they satisfy these goals whether it be a certain income or gold medal etc., that they will be happy through their approval from others. Naturally man has instinct otherwise to follow natural patterns that lead him to a final result of happiness. It should be that he is enjoying the path to the goal, fully experiencing the happiness there within the journey to the final result.

Another thing: I am no greater or lesser than anyone other being. No matter of what they think of me or what I think of anyone else. There are not good or bad people, only faulty thought processes or perceptions. We are all connected and made of the same material. Meaning there is no way to judge otherwise. I can influence, destruct, create along with every part of nature; we all have the same potential. When man separates himself from ego he realizes that true joy and happiness comes from following a song of the soul rather than society. It will be quite hard to not listen to you Ego, you have been a strong influence in my life for very long time. You are essential to my make-up, as a being I must quiet you at times. Thank you for everything you have done for me, helping build self-esteem, helping me stay alive. Just like everything in life has a place, so do you Ego. There is a balance to be maintained. I hope that you enjoy this process as much as I have and now that I have learned healthy balance of ego in my life, you will finally be understood. You are an acquaintance never to be befriended.

Sincerely,
Yours truly.

P.S. Tell vanity that I am going to have a private talk with her as well. Soon.

Everything That Is Wrong With Aamir Khan

Once upon a time in India, Lagaan released.

The film was a smash hit, was sent as our choice for the Oscars ( but couldn’t win, as the jury grew old and died during the interval ) and Aamir Khan suddenly became the thinking man’s conscience. The guy who would never attend film awards because he didn’t believe in them, suddenly seemed to be jumping up and down the red carpet, promoting his film. But of course, he was doing it for the nation.

When Lagaan lost out to No Man’s Land, Aamir Khan told the press that the other film deserved to win. When I saw it, said Khan, I knew that it was better than ours. From that moment on, Aamir Khan has somehow projected and marketed himself as the voice of the nation/youth/continent/solar system.

And it’s fucking annoying.

How come no one considers me a freedom fighter? I won a cricket match against England, yo!

Alright, so he chooses to do one movie at a time, reads his scripts, and does extensive preparation for it. But all that is fucking expected from an actor in the first place. Just because ours is a hare-brained industry, doesn’t make someone a goddamn Socrates.

A few months before the release of Rang De Basanti, Aamir Khan sat with the Narmada Bachao Andolan protesters to speak up for their rights. Since then, there has been no word of his involvement with the issue whatsoever.

He then made a film on Mangal Pandey, and has been on a Bhagat Singh trip since, telling the nation what’s right, and what’s offensive. In Taare Zameen Par, he showed us how we are all a cruel, insensitive nation that doesn’t know how to deal with special children. In 3 Idiots, he showed us what is wrong with our education system. In PK, he showed us the problems with religion and godmen.

And tactful and insightful that our media is, we made him the voice of the nation. Aamir Khan tells the nation not to litter. Aamir Khan tells the nation to have proper sanitation. Aamir Khan tells the nation to be nice to foreigners.

Aamir Khan is a thinking man. How? Because all his films have long shots of him staring into the distance, thinking about the welfare of the cosmos. Aamir Khan is a perfectionist. Why? Because he undergoes a physical transformation for every role (which, as any theatre actor will tell you, is the fucking basic thing to do. Also, he gets paid crores for every film). Aamir Khan is a socially aware star. How? Because he blogs about issues.

However, as we all know, even Vishwamitra’s penance was disturbed. So Aamir Khan, the ever-aware thinking man’s Gautam Buddha slipped out of character and blogged about Shah Rukh Khan licking his toes while he sat on his table.

And of course, there is Satyameva Jayate. Now, I personally have no problems with the show. A star like Aamir Khan talking about issues that we Indians never bother to speak about, is commendable. Kudos.

I also have no problem with him projecting himself as this new-age Carl Shehnanigan who tells the nation how to live – much of an actor’s image comes from this. It is no different from Salman Khan being the large-hearted bhai, Ranveer Singh being a horny guy, and Honey Singh the nation’s Mahalingam. I have no problems with that.

satyameva jayate

I defeated the English in one of my movies. Now I’ll change the world.

My only problem is with Aamir Khan’s opinions on other artists. You see, Mr. Perfectionist doesn’t give a fuck about other artists. His work is sublime and pure and unadulterated and heavenly. The rest can go fuck themselves.

amir-stya1

Take for example the controversy regarding 3 Idiots.

Now, even though Chetan Bhagat is the Rakhi Sawant of Indian literature, he wrote the book and sold millions, and no one can take that away from him. If you’ve read 5 Point Someone, and watched 3 Idiots, and you possess the IQ of a garden lizard, you’ll know that the film is more or less an adaptation of the book. However, since it is Bollywood (and fuck writers!), Bhagat wasn’t given opening credits. He raked up the issue and Vidhu Vinod Chopra asked a journalist to ‘Shut Up’. Which is at least an honest response.

Mr. Khan, however, using his special 8th Sense, somehow had it all figured out. He told Bhagat off in public, calling him a cheapskate who will do anything for publicity. Which is fine, till someone asked him if he’s read the book. To which his response was – ‘Ahem, no.’

Fuck you, dude, fuck you!

How the fuck do you know that it isn’t an adaptation, if you haven’t even read the goddamn book? But Aamir Khan, yo. Intellectual actor.

When he released Delhi Belly, he appeared on Aap Ki Adalat (that classy, artful show with a completely non-creepy looking host), and justified the language in the film. His logic was, the youth of the nation today talk in that manner. If you can not stand such language, please don’t watch the film. All good.

Now, the AIB controversy. Since our media has no fucking work, they went and asked Aamir Khan, the brahmaguru of wisdom, what he thought. Aamir Khan first looked at the sky, blinked seven times, sipped some water, and then gave out his thoughts. That the show was offensive, hurt people’s sentiments, blah blah blah.

But then, here’s the key – HE HASN’T WATCHED THE FUCKING SHOW.

If you haven’t watched the show, and someone randomly told you there were jokes on body shape, sexuality, and religion without providing any context, it’s the partial truth. You’re like the blind man of Hindustan who held the elephant’s ass and thought that’s what an elephant looks like.

But no. Aamir Khan ko kaun samjhaye? He is the voice of the cosmos.

The universe works in perfect motion because he approves of it. Every time Aamir Khan sheds a tear, a kid in Africa gets cured of AIDS.

It’s bloody annoying.

***

Dear Aamir Khan, this isn’t the 60s. Where you could do a few patriotic movies and become a national hero. The audience you deal with is thirty years younger to you, a completely different generation. They understand subtleties, read between the lines, and can tell an actor from a chutiya. Just because you did regressive shit for 20 years, and suddenly conscience struck you like lightning, doesn’t mean the rest of the nation is a bunch of chimpanzees.

Also, like Russel Peters said, you are an actor. You appear on the set, mouth lines written by others, get numerous takes to perfect your craft, and get paid a bomb for it. Which is all fine.

But just like you’re an artist, there are others too. Who are attempting to make an honest living by pursuing what they think is art. If you really are an artist, at least have the fucking decency to look up their work before commenting.

Like I said, you’re not fooling anybody. This is a generation that sees through bullshit. And right now, for all your decades of carefully constructed PR, you come across as an aging douchebag.

I hope you aren’t offended by this blog. But if you are, I hope you at least read it before getting offended.

Scraps 4.0

On the onset, the post is by Weronika Jasnoch. A very dear friend of mine, this is her first writing stint for The Indie Guy.

A cruise ship met with an incident at sea, on the ship was a pair of couple, after having made their way to the lifeboat, they realized that there was only space for one person left.
At this moment, the man pushed the woman behind him and jumped onto the lifeboat himself.
The lady stood on the sinking ship and shouted one sentence to her husband.
The teacher stopped and asked, “What do you think she shouted?”
Most of the students excitedly answered, “I hate you! I was blind!”
Now, the teacher noticed a boy who was silent throughout, she got him to answer and he replied, “Teacher, I believe she would have shouted – Take care of our child!”
The teacher was surprised, asking “Have you heard this story before?”
The boy shook his head, “Nope, but that was what my mum told my dad before she died to disease”.
The teacher lamented, “The answer is right”.
The cruise sunk, the man went home and brought up their daughter single-handedly.
Many years later after the death of the man, their daughter found his diary while tidying his belongings.
It turns out that when parents went onto the cruise ship, the mother was already diagnosed with a terminal illness.
At the critical moment, the father rushed to the only chance of survival.
He wrote in his diary, “How I wished to sink to the bottom of the ocean with you, but for the sake of our daughter, I can only let you lie forever below the sea alone”.
The story is finished, the class was silent.
The teacher knows that the student has understood the moral of the story, that of the good and the evil in the world, there are many complications behind them which are hard to understand.
Which is why we should never only focus on the surface and judge others without understanding them first.
Those who like to pay the bill, do so not because they are loaded but because they value friendship above money.
Those who take the initiative at work, do so not because they are stupid but because they understand the concept of responsibility.
Those who apologize first after a fight, do so not because they are wrong but because they value the people around them.
Those who are willing to help you, do so not because they owe you any thing but because they see you as a true friend.
Those who often text you, do so not because they have nothing better to do but because you are in their heart…
“Every friend is a gem, eventually someone else will value it if you don’t.”

Dear Ms. Treasurywala

Dear Ms. Treasurywala,

At the offset, this isn’t retaliation to your open letter (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/actor-shenaz-treasurywalas-open-letter-to-pm-amitabh-bachchan-srk/1/406410.html). It’s a mere response. Yes, the letter releasing right before your movie feels like a badly timed PR gimmick done with a blatant, ham-handed disregard for timing, and any respect or delicacy that a situation requires. However, that’s a debate on ethics and morality, and one that takes a backseat over the other pressing concerns your rather enthusiastic letter inadvertently highlighted. Yes, you raised pertinent issues, but how you raised them, and the solutions you proposed, expose a deep, deep schism in the understanding of empowerment, equality, autonomy, justice, parity, and feminism as a concept. This is a mere attempt to clarify these issues.

We’re a generation born with a rather firm, but dicey hold on a proverbial trigger. Outrage is a right we have created for ourselves, and cemented with access to social media and the outreach it provides. Everyone has an opinion and everyone has the ability, and the capability to air it. This leads to a lot of half-baked information being circulated and biases cropping up, yes, but it also lends itself to solidarity. That’s where your letter connected with the audience that read it. You spoke of gruesome incidents of sexual assault, yes, but you also spoke of the apparently harmless leching, catcalling, and staring that leave an insidious impact on a woman’s psyche. It was relatable, and your outrage justifiable. Also, your repeated insistence on the fact that it’s not ‘our shame’, was on point. The victim of sexual assault is, truly, never at fault. It’s the perpetrator. However, when you add ‘it’s their shame’, you don’t just blame the perpetrators. You blame men, as a whole.

That being said, the crux of the letter you wrote shifted from the problems of sexual harassment and abuse to how you perceived it, and how you presume these issues could be solved. Worryingly, your perceptions that were allowed to take root and garnered immense support are skewed and very dangerous. Yes, that seems like a hyperbolic choice of words, but when my Facebook and Twitter homepages are flooded with your letter, shared by people my age, accompanied with vociferous agreement in the comments, it points to a deep rooted lack of understanding. Let’s begin with the people you addressed the letter to. The Prime Minister, and a sportsman, an industrialist, and a few top earning actors of this country. Your letter was aimed at the men you believe run India. You ask them to use their power to take charge in ways that would help in, and I quote, ‘SAVING US or PROTECTING US by insisting and protesting for the LAWS TO CHANGE and Rapists and Gropers to BE PUNISHED SEVERELY!’

The idea, and the belief in it you display, are inherently disturbing. According to you, a woman has no agency over her own safety. To use Hindi colloquialisms, a woman is an ‘abala nari’ and a ‘kachhi kali’, who needs to be protected at every turn. She has to maintain a stance of constant vigilance, and hope to have the men in her life act as her guardians and saviors in times of dire need. You go ahead and ask men to ‘SAVE US, Save your mother, daughter, sister please!’ By this understanding, the worth of a woman is tied to her relationship to a man. She has no autonomy over her own existence. The only time a man would, and should stand up in arms against the mistreatment of a woman is when he has a direct stake in her safety and wellbeing. The concept of an egalitarian respect for human dignity seems to escape you, for reasons unknown to me.

I am going to go ahead and bring up the big, bad F word here. Feminism. I can already feel the readers of this letter cringing, for they expect a rant about how women can do everything on their own, without a man’s help. However, there’s a rather lucid definition that would fit in this context. Feminism is simply the radical notion that your sex, gender, skin colour, choices within the legal ambit, social strata, country of origin, and any such subsidiary classification does not exempt you from having access to basic human rights, dignity, and respect. This does not exclude men. It, in fact, actively involves them in the breakdown on patriarchy. This does so, however, in an egalitarian manner. What you propose is, for the lack of a less clichéd wording, the idea of a damsel in distress. You have been indoctrinated (just like all of us) with the idea that a man is, by virtue of being a man, a savior. You forget that men too, are victims of patriarchy. You also forget that women, alongside being victims of patriarchy, are also propagators of the cycle. A prime example being you.

The idea that a man is a perpetrator, and hence also the only one who can be a savior, is a very regressive one. You’re very comfortably handing over the entire burden, of what is a societal structure that has stratified into a toxic standard, to a section of society that does not have the power to destroy it alone. Yes, having ‘powerful’ men on board with the idea of change would be a great help. But would this support have an impact if it were begged for, like the precedent you set? Or would it lead to concrete developments if it were born of an understanding of the concerns?

This, of course, will take time. Prevention of a crime is born out of a systematic deconstruction of long held standards and norms that will happen over years of debate and research. As headways are made into that lane, the idea of justice and recompense are equally important, as you yourself agree. Your rather radical ideas are alarming, to say the least. ‘All I ask for is the -Death Penalty Please. NOW! QUICK! If that’s too hard or will take too long then at least LIFE IMPRISONMENT. Put them away forever.’ In your understanding, making an example out of criminals by punishing them arbitrarily is the best way of preventing future crimes. However, you forget that if that truly worked, the Uber rape case wouldn’t have occurred with Nirbhaya case accused Ram Singh’s suicide in custody. That should have been, as your logic dictates, deterrence enough. In your case, your quantum of punishment is the same as the pinnacle of punishment.

Capital punishment is extremely difficult to defend for a variety of reasons. As Noam Chomsky says, “The death penalty can be tolerated only by extreme statist reactionaries who demand a state that is so powerful that it has the right to kill.” Justice may have a canon it refers to, but it is dispensed by mere mortals given to making errors in judgement. ‘Justice’, although perceived as a gospel truth, depends on a variety of factors included, but not limited to the quality of representation the accused is provided, existing cultural biases, and the amount of pressure on the judiciary, which is unique to each case. These factors lead to arbitrary judgements. An example would be that of Ivan Henry. A victim of legal errors, a careless police investigation relying too heavily on eyewitness evidence, and incompetent legal counsel, he was incarcerated for 27 years for sexual offences he did not commit, before being acquitted. Now, implement your idea of capital punishment here. It would have led to the death of an innocent man, and the state would have been a murderer.

You ask for people to take responsibility. ‘YES, BAN UBER TOO. Make everyone responsible.’, you say. Ignoring the fact that banning a taxi service (for what was definitely a lapse in their administrative functioning) won’t actually change status quo, you seem to forget that the protection that the legal system provides has three components. Firstly, laws. Secondly, implementation of the said laws. And finally, if the first two steps fail, justice, that works on the principles of retribution and recompose, and deterrence. You seem to bypass the most crucial step, namely implementation, altogether. Of what use are harsh, draconian laws, and equally regressive punishments if the gap between them cannot be bridged by tackling the problems of corruption, laxity, and administrative laziness?

These problems, of course, are far too pressing and ingrained for a mere letter to solve them. However, the point is to make sure that you use your considerable influence to create a holistic understanding of the issues. Women don’t need saving. Men don’t have to be saviors. This isn’t a battle of the sexes. Justice isn’t solely retributive. Retribution isn’t the only way to create examples. Yes, a problem exists. But, using that problem as a PR strategy, and harping upon outdated, regressive, and rehashed rhetoric just ends up leading nowhere. Although well intentioned, your letter ended up being a fine example of precisely what you tried to talk about- a complacent attitude that passes the buck on.

I don’t know if you’ll ever read this letter. I also admit to not being an expert in any of the fields I have spoken about. However, I do hope this clarifies a few things, for a few people.

Regards,

The Indie Guy

P.S.: Try controlling your arbitrary capitalization. It was wholly distracting.

To Everyone I Love

I want you to take me for granted.

I want you to be able to pick up your phone and call me whenever you please, even if it ends at me telling you I can’t talk. I want you to be comfortable with texting me at any hour of the day, and be comfortable in the knowledge that I’ll reply, as soon as I can. I want you to send me music you think is good (and I probably hate) and have faith that I’ll listen to it irrespective of my complete dislike for your taste. I want you to know that I’ll put on a brave smile and take another bite of what you order when we go out, just because you like it. I want you to know that I’d drink vodka for you, even though I’m a whiskey and rum person, just because you want to do shots and get sloshed (something I’m inherently against). I want to be your first preference. The first person you think of when you have news, good or bad, to share. The first person you text on a late, sleepless night. The last person you say goodnight to. Hell, I don’t want our conversations to have an end. I don’t want something as mundane as conditioning to force us to use bland platitudes like ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ when we could just have a long, never ending conversation.

I want you to know that you can be utterly selfish around me. You can rant on and on about your problems, and I’ll be there to nod sympathetically and call your boss/colleague/boyfriend/girlfriend the choicest swears even though in reality I may be completely disinterested. You should be able to be talk endlessly about what fascinates you, even if it doesn’t engross me. Whatever it is, and however embarrassed you are of it. I want to know. I want to know all of you. Your quirks, your sadnesses, your triggers, your subway sandwich order. I want to know of how wonderfully awkward your first kiss was, and of how you didn’t know how to react when a guy hit on you. I want to know all about that girl you keep eyeing. I demand all of you. I don’t necessarily need any of what you are. But I want it because I want to invest in the person you are, and make you my person.

In return, all I want from you is to want all that from me. We should be able to consider each other as existing blessings which don’t waver. Of course, that doesn’t mean our bond won’t require nurturing. It will, maybe more than other bonds that we’ve created. But it shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be a ‘work’. Every day should be another success. Fights, doubts, anger. They’ll exist. But so should, and hopefully will, unwavering faith in the mutual understanding of the fact that the other person won’t leave. At least not now.

I know it’s a lot to ask for. And that it’s going to be a lot to give. But that’s what the point is. I’ve had too many one side relationships and I’ve seen too many of my investments fail to give any returns. It’s selfish. But I want to have some security with you. I want to take you for granted. And I want you to do that too.