Saturday, May 25, 2013

the anand gandhi effect

Memories are phenomenal things aren't they. Lucid, slippery, indefinite. We fill them with stuff we want to, we remember only the ones we wish to look back to and I'm pretty sure we fabricate a few ones. Maybe we can't create new ones out of thin air but depending on our mood at a certain point of time, I'm sure we juxtapose a few unrelated events to create the events we wish had happened. Anyway, honestly, I don't even believe in the linearity of time anymore. Not because of philosophical underpinnings but simply because Deja Vu's happened to me a lot of times. It has to happen. Because your mind's dealing with so much all the time, maybe it hangs up a few times, and unintentionally, it points to the current location and time as something that happened a few lifetimes ago, or recently in a parallel universe, or maybe its you realizing that life's like Groundhog Day.

So, anyway, we've been hearing this shit since we were like kids- Do not do anything to impress anybody or do not live somebody else's life. Well, we can't live somebody else's life and despite knowing that there is a tough story behind the adulation that someone popular receives, don't we, atleast for moments wish to emulate them, hoping that it would lead us to our salvation. Despite repeatedly refuting the notion that external acceptance is important to us, don't all of us crave for widespread adulation and respect. And it is this part of us, I believe, messes up the most with us. Without understanding what is deeply personal to us, what is closest to our hearts, we tend to do things that are triggered by the environment we live in, the world we wish to be a part of. This is probably the reason why so many of our countrymen aspire to be cricketers or film stars. Admitted, they start off with a love for the craft but I'm pretty sure that if established cricketers or movie stars aren't treated like demigods, a lot of the aspiring ones wouldn't be trying so hard.

We want the world to look upto us, to love us, to remember us. But all of us know everybody is busy living their lives. Maybe Tendulkar brightens us up when he takes on Shoaib Akhtar or Shah Rukh Khan temporarily erases our dread when he makes us laugh but after walking out of the theatre or the stadium, we are back to being the protagonist in our lives. Our lives are our movies, and though we have a few important people in our lives, we are more important to ourselves than to anyone else.

Sab ke dimaakh mein picture chal rahi hain. Sab saale hero ban na chah rahe hain apni-apni picture mein. E saala, Hindustan mein jab tak saneema hoga, log chutiye ban tey rahenge 
                                                                                    - Ramadhir Singh in Gangs of Wasseypur II

Like Bob Dylan once said, "I can only be me, whoever that is", is it really possible for us to carve an identity for ourselves without the influence of society, our environment? What are the factors that truly leverage our decisions, our ways of living, our dreams and passions? How much of our identity is hardcoded into us at the time of our birth? Can a child who is a gifted painter turn into an astounding musician when trained and nurtured the right way? Is there anything such as natural talent or is it just the confluence of one man's inherent taste in craft with the mindset and social behaviour of an audience? Is that why genius is often misunderstood at its time and lauded later? Is it why a few people are called "ahead of their times"? Is there anything such as genius or is it just one man's mindset mildly different from a socially accepted norm? If very high IQ is out of ordinary and is considered brilliant, why isn't very low IQ, also out of the ordinary, considered brilliant? Can we even measure beauty, intelligence and righteousness? Why is someone called beautiful and someone else called ugly? Are we born with a sense of what is right and what is wrong? When we fall in love with that person, do we fall in love with that man at that point of time for what he is? If not, then why didn't we love him earlier, or if yes, since he will not be the same person the next moment, will we not love him? If a child is swapped at birth, will an unknowing mother love her foster son like her own one? Is the love between a mother and child because she carried him for nine months, or because the child is a representation of her womanliness, or simply because like somebody once said, "The only reason a mother loves her child so much is because of the friendship they share.From the time of the child's conception to atleast the age of six, the child is perpetually around her. And so she gets so used to the child's presence. Also, because the child is the weakest and loneliest then, the fact that the mother takes care of him builds a sense of gratefulness."? I don't know.

All this is the Anand Gandhi effect. Ever since I saw his interview at TIFF and his TedX talk, I have been mesmerised by that he has to say. So all these questions have been popping into my head. There is so much to know, to understand, to appreciate and yet we live our lives like trained elephants that don't break free of their shackles because they believe they can't. We have been taught to fear the future, fear the world outside, fear the unknown. Maybe that makes sense when we are kids. But we don't walk out of the beaten path even when we're grown up because we've been conditioned to live within boundaries. But boundaries change every generation. Someone has to push them, not for the sake of humanity, but just to satiate curiosity.

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