Thursday, July 17, 2014

News Channels, Movies and Books

I mostly do not watch TV. Well, sometimes I do. I flip lazily through movie channels (in search of a highly gory action scene or a sci-fi or fantasy scene), music channels (old movie songs, ghazals, bhajans), travel/cookery/documentary channels (some NatGeo documentary on space/physics/computers, or some fat chef cooking something unhealthy and delicious, or rich, beautiful women in skimpy clothes talking about spirituality and world welfare holidaying in expensive resorts in South Pacific where I will never go), entertainment channels (soap operas, reality shows, just as a preparation to switch off the TV).

In that order.

Mostly, a fairly cursory pass through all these channels exhausts the 15-20 minute window of mentally vegetative state that allow myself.

My behaviour while going over the newspaper is similar: I start with the glossy supplementaries, I feed my morbid side by lapping up a few items reporting suicides, murders, accidents, rapes and robberies. Then, past all news on international politics, commerce, sports ... I jump straight to the editorial page.

If I really have some time in hand and am looking to spend it with myself while enriching myself, I pick a book. If I want to watch a movie (I love movies), I get a DVD or go to a threatre. I don't find it worth trusting the movie channels to telecast the movies I would like to watch, where they decide the time, and also the number and duration of commercial breaks.

An interesting observation is: I don't remember myself ever having sauntered into one of the numerous news channels. Not even when looking for information. In the days of Doordarshan, I remember having sat through the 20 minutes newscast where the very beautiful, elegant and impersonal-faced Salma Sultan would monotonously read out headlines worded crisply, impartially and lifelessly. Though I was still a kid, I would appreciate that those newscasts were talking about something important. And though I was still a kid, I was grown up enough to admire Salma madam's beauty (of course, there were others: Manjari Sahay, Avinash Kaur, J P Raman, Ved Prakash ...)! But never in the current days do I remember having survived a single news channel show.

There's plenty said about how the news channels have become sensationalised, loud and biased. So, I will not go there. I will sign off by just mentioning that however much I rationalise with myself, I haven't been able to motivate myself to keep up with current affairs, particularly by the way of TV news or newspapers. I do pick up magazines like Frontline and India Today sometimes. But I find keeping up with the day to day updates beyond my capability. In other words, my interest in certain current affairs gets aroused only when they lose some of their currency.

For me, a chunk of time devoted to entertainment or enrichment is often scraped out with some effort. I can't bring myself to squandering it. If it's entertainment, I would like the taste to stay in my mouth long after that. If it's for knowledge building, it can't depend on raw nuggets of information/rumour/gossips dished out to me in loud voices, sensationalised wordings and fake emotionalism, but on crafted/distilled/verified pieces of work with a direct connection of it to things I hold dear to my thoughts.

Whether entertainment or knowledge, I can accept only things which have a dash of timelessness in them, not anything with false claim of quality but essentially volatile.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Thank You All for Your Birthday Wishes!

In my years of Youth, I used to resent birthdays. I used to think of them as yet another milestone in the journey to an inevitable darkness. I used to feel depressed that I wasn't famous and popular. I felt ashamed that I was still not in love, or in a one-sided one! :)

Yesterday evening, I went to the store, bought a packet of Cadbury Eclairs, and distributed among the children playing in my neighbourhood, the way I used to do in school. It was silly and childish. But I felt happy, uncomplainingly satisfied about how my Birthday had been, how my life has shaped. I spent the entire morning yesterday in solitude. I breathed the openness around me. Then, later in the day, I opened myself up to my family, then to my friends. My birthday was spent in serenely, carefully, observing my entire existence, layer by layer. And today I can proudly say that I accept myself in my entirety. My physical being: lazy, unfit, achy. My mind: unstable, egoistic, insecure, jealous, hiding a savage beast under a thin layer of intellect which peels off at the slightest touch of indignation. My soul: pure and lovely, in harmony with everything within and beyond.

And I feel that this transformation which has come over me, from a complete lack of acceptance, to this peaceful acceptance of me, has been nothing less than miraculous.

As years pass, I get to see as real the invisible threads which connect me to the Universe. I feel with more and more clarity that a part of me lives in various ways outside of me, and pieces of this Universe have an image in me.

Some of these threads also connect me to you, my friend! I wish to thank everyone who wished me on my birthday, and those who didn't but thought about me for a moment.


Birthday 2013