Aphorisms and Other Learnings

An Aphorism (noun) is a pithy observation which contains a general truth. 

Living in both, reality and fantasy, I can no longer believe in and fall for mighty quotes that inspire. I would much rather read into situations and discover my own learnings. A first attempt at the same, I am listing down ten aphorisms which I owe to my past experiences, friendships, and relationships.

  1. If somebody calls you a fool repeatedly, you will soon start believing that you are one. You will then spend a good amount of time fighting that phantom only to realise that it never existed; you never were a fool to begin with
  2. The illusion of having a man by your side is painfully romantic till the time he actually is by your side.
  3. Often, love is only a euphemism for convenience.
  4. When conversations inside your head sound more enriching than outside, it’s time to change your friend circle.
  5. If the number of people you hate is significantly lower than the number of those you suspect hate you, congratulations, you’re doing well in life.
  6.  Never go by words, go by actions. Actions never lie.
  7. When convinced that you’re being lied to, play along. Don’t make your life uncomfortable, they will only deny it, or worse, make an unconvincing argument as to why they lied.
  8. Never settle, it implies that someone isn’t willing to go to great lengths for you, as you see yourself doing for him/her. So, you’re just extending your own misery.
  9. Perception is the invention of the mind. Just like a brain tumour.
  10. Never mistake codependence for friendship.

Once learnt, you cannot unlearn these little findings. While the feeling isn’t too pleasant and you find yourself becoming some sort of a cynical philosopher (?), it reinforces the fact that there is always room to learn.

Do leave your aphorisms/ thoughts/ findings/ love in the quotes!

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The Annihilation of Autonomy

Willy Wonka will die a sad man knowing that the Chocolate Factory is no longer the place where unimaginable magic happens. Actually, it has all been imagined, you should catch the West End play at Covent Garden, London. It’s an absolute must. Anyway, Marketing is the new king in town. The Marketing industry is where the magic now happens. You’re either a part of it, or you’re a product; both being awful choices and worth being judged for. Let the game begin.

He’s watching you. Don’t flatter yourself by thinking you’re special or anything. He just wants to know if you’re watching him. What your vanity does not allow you to observe is that he just wants to know whether or not he is being noticed. Freshly manicured nails, nose hair clipped and eyebrows shaped, he’s looking dapper in the Emporio/Giorgio Armani suit he’s wearing. Or so he assumes you’re thinking. He’s confident, intimidating, alluring…isn’t he?

What we have established till now is that he clearly cannot think because you’re already doing the thinking for him. What he cannot see is that everything has been cleverly manufactured by you- not just limited to his attire, you have created him, his identity, his ideals; everything. You smirk as his eyes linger on each pair in sight, constantly gauging reactions, verifications that he is in possession of all things desirable. He is your guniea pig and he smiles back to what he mistakes as your approval, clearly missing the sinister gleam in your eyes as you watch yet another creation of yours.

You are the creator. He is the consumer. He is your consumer. You have created everything he believes in, you have carefully changed his lifestyle, and the beauty is he will never know that. He believes it’s all him! They say ‘power cannot be innocent’ and one can only imagine the thrill of creating a SIMS character you actually love. That’s consumerism today. You create. You control.

All I ask of you is to be mindful. For, those who identify the pattern, capitalise on the chaos. Be mindful while purchasing items, and observe the identities created by others. What to wear? Where to eat? What opinion to endorse? Whom to date? Which is your spirit animal?

 Think. 

Amazon Invades India

Kudos to Amazon. While there are millions being exploited by only a handful corporations owing to open cross-ownership of businesses, these are your insights into this raving new “market”.

Do read the inside story of Amazon invading India.

“The size of opportunity is so large it will be measured in trillions, not billions—trillions of dollars, that is, not rupees,” says Diego Piacentini, Amazon’s senior vice president for international retail.

Source: Amazon Invades India

Goodbye Secularism ! Enter Theocracy !!

Three cheers for Democracy?

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Understanding the yet unfolding ‘Dietary Fascism’

Image : Courtesy – bollypedia.in

To the question whether the Hindus ever ate beef, every Touchable Hindu, whether he is a Brahmin or a non-Brahmin, will say ‘no, never’. In a certain sense, he is right. From times no Hindu has eaten beef. If this is all that the Touchable Hindu wants to convey by his answer there need be no quarrel over it. But when the learned Brahmins argue that the Hindus not only never ate beef but they always held the cow to be sacred and were always opposed to the killing of the cow, it is impossible to accept their view…

B. R. Ambedkar 1

“Did the Hindus never eat Beef?” Dr Ambedkar has dealt with this specific issue holistically in his various writings and has also tried to link it with emergence of ‘untouchable’ castes.

At a time when the…

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Defense Against Defence Propaganda?

Death Machines. Taken by the author at an Army base.

Death Machines. Taken by the author at an Army base.

It is God’s duty to forgive the enemies, but it’s our duty to convene a meeting between the two

Note: I am no intellectual, I am merely sharing an experience and my musings on the same with a neutral audience.

I sat through a discussion consisting of intellectual elites and of course, the regulars. Some were enthusiastic, some trying too hard to make jokes and most were just zoned out. It was quite a set up and I, running a fever, was only waiting for it to get over.

It began post a presentation on the various achievements of the Indian Armed Forces; while the oration was sloppy, it was cleverly accompanied by two short documentaries highlighting the progress made by the various wings in the past few decades. With (for lack of a better word) badass visuals of warships, fighter jets and tanks accompanied by a high tempo soundtrack, it was a great watch. What nobody will talk of is how most of the data provided flew right above our heads as we were too busy watching missile launches and other advanced defence machines in action. But, wait, that’s not even the best part.

After the introduction, came the real reason why I even sat through the damn presentation instead of recuperating at home:

  • What is the government aiming to achieve releasing such videos for the layman to watch?
  • Is the government trying to manufacture consent?
  • Why is the government spending money trying to justify it’s defence spending?
  • Why would the government dramatize the video and try to ‘sell us the idea of nationalism and patriotic ideas’?

Sitting where I was, I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of these questions myself. The same was mistaken as me blushing over, well, romantic ideas of Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Understandably, I am not contributing to discussion, so it’s correctly assumed that I have no opinion and even better that I’m dreaming about Tom Cruise and his Ray Ban’s, right? Hey, no questions raised there.

Firstly, these videos aren’t specifically made for the public. They are mostly used in presentations in Parliament and other domains where decision-making is involved. There’s no particular channel on which they’re displayed, there’s no advertisements for the same and if you still don’t agree, watch the video, one is able to understand a very small portion of what’s being conveyed. Yes, they’re made available in public domain like ALL other central government departments, maybe? But no questions raised about the spending on Railways. Not even on the day the annual Railway Budget is announced. Because, just.

Secondly, why? It’s common knowledge that a majority of the public doesn’t really know about the workings of the defence and thus would question the spending. However, if you’re claiming to be smart enough to think of propaganda, why can’t you zoom out on the map and realize the importance of having a strong and equipped force? It’s only a percentage of the tax you pay anyway.

Thirdly, the question about ‘nationalism and patriotic ideas’ arises. One has to be extremely imaginative to come up with an answer for that, correct? Why would the government try to force the military, whose job is to protect the citizens and the physical borders of the country, to make you feel towards them? Isn’t that inherent considering the nature of their job vis-à-vis yours? Obviously, they’re guilty of stealing you of your money and creating expensive content you can make movies about every couple of years.

I’m not offering solutions; I actually wasn’t fantasizing about Tom Cruise but was just marveling at the importance being given to this topic over a whole lot more that I regard as a contemporary issue.

But, what the hell, thank you, Noam Chomsky.

Lost in Longewala

Longewala

I still can’t describe how I felt walking in the empty battlefield. The fact that I was aware of what had gone down itself sent shivers down my spine. As I walked towards the many relics, including captured tanks and weapons, there was an almost eerie calm in the strongly guarded desert. It never made sense to me to pose next to artifacts and force a smile, but to try and capture what I felt at that very moment in order to relive it countless times after. Always in awe of the mighty Indian Army, the Battle of Longewala is an addition to it’s invaluable achievements.

There is no war or conflict which hasn’t been a turning point. In India’s scuffle against Pakistan in 1971, the Battle of Longewala was that turning point. Argued to be a part of the army folklore by some; the battle, fought between the Pakistani offensive forces and the Indian defenders at the Indian border post of Longewala in Thar Desert of Rajasthan, was the first major engagement in the Western Sector during the war of 1971. In the battle, not only were the assaulting Pakistani attack foiled and dented, the Pak forces were forced to withdraw when India launched an offensive attack against them. Thus, winning the decisive battle that changed the face of the Indo-Pak war forever. Major Chandpuri  and his battalion of 120 odd soldiers (comprising 23rd Punjab Regiment (Sikhs) and handful of Indian Border Security Force (BSF Rajputs), to defend the post of Longewala despite heavy odds from the strong Pakistani Army of 2000-3000 soldiers. The Indian troops battled the Pak army with all their valor and held the Pak army at bay all night before the Indian Air Force arrived at the break of dawn. By noon the next day, the assault ended completely, having cost Pakistan 22 tanks, claimed destroyed by aircraft fire, 12 by ground anti-tank fire, and some captured after being abandoned, with a total of 100 vehicles claimed to have been destroyed or damaged in the desert around the post. This scene is alive even today. An area of 2 sq km on both sides of the road lies strewn with anti-tank mines and has been fenced. No one, not even the BSF and Army jawans, are allowed to go there. Each year the Vijay Diwas — marking India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 – brings in a stream of jawans who come to pay their respects to the martyrs.

The photograph by me as a part of an assignment in January 2013 when I visited Rajasthan. Folks, there is more to every city than what websites tell you and there is more to culture than exotic artifacts.

Assumed Roles vs. Identity

You

“Only in the water of rivers and ponds could he look at his face. And the very posture he had to assume was symbolic. He had to bend over, stoop down, to commit the ignominy of beholding himself.

The inventor of the mirror poisoned the human heart.”

-Fernando Pessoa

You and I, can heal, cure, transform, and inspire. We’re all storytellers. Constantly passing by other individuals, rarely taking a moment out to simply gauge that each one of them has a whole universe about them, consuming them. We’re too “busy” to reflect, to process or to empathise. For all those we do know, we judge. Judging is a relative term, isn’t it? We hold ourselves in a certain regard and in accordance to it do we view what’s around us. We also act in accordance, as we know we are constantly being judged by people around us. Our true nature reserved for when we are alone, not judged thus uninhibited. That is who you really are and that might just be more repugnant than what you pretend to condemn while playing your assumed role.