Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl is a psychiatrist and in this book, Man's search for meaning, he narrates his experience as prisoner in concentration camp during World War 2. He chooses to stay in the war because he did not wish to leave his family behind. It was a big decision for him because he had the opportunity to get away.
It is another Non-Fiction I read after SpeedPost. I enjoyed it very much. It is full of insights and ideas and it really motivates my mind. I have become fascinated with memoirs and personal experiences where one share their journeys and how they overcome their suffering and gained insights and their relation with world, people, God, spirituality, etc.

The book is divided in two parts, one part contains Frankl's experience and the second part has his theory - Logotherapy which emphasis on will to meaning.

In his experience at concentration camp, he divides the experience into three phase. The one in which when a person enters the concentration camp as prisoner. Second is when one gets used to life in concentration camp. Third is when one leaves. One feels loss, apathy and emotional deadness, and liberation respectively.

The crux is what helped Frankl and other prisoners to survive in conditions which were torturous, inhuman and full of disgust and fear. The important is inner world. Frankl tells us in the worse conditions, the lastest freedom of a human being is to choose about his inner world. Those who give up this, feels without any choice, becomes mechanical and succumb to death. But those who keep their inner strength alive, the choice to be able to find a spiritual life, could actually survive better than those who might be stronger physically.
This choice is central part of Viktor Frankl's work.

Frankl in his logotherapy tells us that the will to meaning can be found in creative works, in being love with others, and accepting the suffering.

It is very good book, it is one of the best book I have read till now.
I read him and I agree with him so much. Then I remember Camus work and absurd. It just reminds me that there is different perspectives, different ways of being. Camus reflects on suicide. Frankl tells us the possibility of not able to replace the human life when we are contemplating suicide.  Frankl gives importance to future and it is the goal or purpose in future that keeps us alive. His love for his wife and hope to see her one day kept her alive.


 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

SpeedPost by Shobha de

The book Speedpost was gifted to me on my 17th or 18th birthday by my friend's mother. I read it that time. But now I rediscovered this book in my shelf and I had no memory about the content of the book. I longed to read it again. I longed to feel the motherly affection again.
This time I am 27 years old.
The book has letters written by a mother, Shobha de, to he daughters. Currently Shobha de is in her 60's, the same age probably my mother would have been if she was alive. I lost her when I was 7 years old.
 
Speedpost, the book is interesting read. Letters by an urban mother letters to her children. There were times I related with Shobha De's children. Other times it was amusing. I wondered why would a mother would write open letters to her children. I mean if she would have given them personally,  what could have been the difference. Then I could have not peeked into life of her, children.  I would have not been attracted to Radhika. I wish I could travel to Happy country, Bhutan, and among other things.
  
This book definitely attempts to fill the space of absence of mother in my life. It takes me closer to experience of mother-child relationship. I found shobha de to be very conventional mother and who talked about usual worries of  mother. It is an autobiographical too, I meant not only about children but mostly about herself. I found it filled with urban desires and urban lifestyle. I had difficulty in relating to it sometimes, and found it superficial.
 
I felt engaged to parts when she gave up some of her plans and assignments to stay with her children. I thought it was very touching and self sacrificing. It could be perplexing for many, this doubt.
 
She compared many times with other families and she always believed she had better understanding and dealt better with her children than others, ofcourse it did seem like a motherly nature or human one, to not see faults in one. This book is positioned at a comfort level and when it sees the difficulties of life or problems of world, it does not go deep. Her views on politics or religion did not affect me anyway. I thought it was exaggerated a bit.
 
I do find it interesting to read about her life and her children. When I find some stuff online about them, I do find it attractive and something I might want to know more about. It is because I have entered their lives.
 
The book has around 100 letters. Each letter 2 to 3 pages. This is one of the books, I found easy to read. This book is special in its idea and knowing the lives of people. I would like to read more of Non fiction. It makes me happy to read and learn about lives.

Friday, 5 December 2014

7cups of tea

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Monday, 1 December 2014

Shantaram or appropriately LinBaba


Shantaram by Gregory Davis is one of the longest novels I have read in my life yet. It is just above 900 pages. I finished it in over several months in my free time. It was suggested to me by one of my friend I met at 10 day retreat.  I am not in touch with her anymore and she is not Indian. It is the book that inspired her journey to India.

I wanted to read this book very much knowing it is journey of a traveller. But I strike a discord with novel from the beginning when I found it is the narrative of fugitive. It is the story of some who is paranoid and hence as an escape coming to Bombay, India to make a new beginning. I continued, reading it forward, with a hope of learning about culture of parts of India I may not be aware of. As a tourist, one sees think much more clearly and with a fresh perspective than a person living inside who might take it for granted or may not have observed or thought about. I have never experienced drugs and drugs are such a central component of novel. Cold turkey is what I came to know about. It also includes all the illegal activities like fake passport making, joining mujhahidin in Afghanisthan to fight war… This fictitious novel is story of fugitive who finds a corrupt home in Bombay under the hood of Khaderbhai. Throughout the story, the protagonist claims that he has never killed any other human being and this is the sign of his good nature. All the bad things he does, he feels are only way of surviving and feeling safe in the world.

It introduces me to the culture of philosophical discussions where one discusses about truth, life, moral questions and anything from spiritual to physics. It seems like it is common place culture for Muslims or any religion to sit and discuss about anything. I liked the dialogues and felt attached to reading when there were dialogues. I found very detailed description of places and people, very annoying and repelling and I skimmed through it mostly. It does not see terrorism as bad and must be stopped but the novel brings the inside life of these people which is full of manipulative and deceitful relationships. It is hard to trust anyone.

All and above, it is a love story. There are often sentences shared by one person stayed with characters and they are being thought of when a moment comes that resembles the saying. It is thoughtful, detailed novel. I am awe with the work that must have been gone through to write such work. May be many years. I just found Gregory is writing his second novel since 10 years now. It is incredible dedication. I am inspired by author throughout reading of his work. It gives me understanding how he has placed certain things at certain place, how he is tried to make it fast pacing and interesting.

The end. It ends as the protagonist has forgiven his love partner and they kiss. He look forward to another adventure with his friends. And he rest back in the slums where he found dearest friends and sense of home.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Fighting with one's name

I have been truly seeking some kind of validation. Validation that name of this blog is alright. Because the point is that the name of this blog does not mean anything to me.
I liked the word individual, but since it was not available I used indivisual. It meant someone whith no purpose. But that's how my life isn't. I do thinks and I find meaning in them.
So I am struggling with the name of this blog.
I wanted a name that is closer to me and unique to me.
The dogs outside are barking loudly at racing car. I fear they might not get their legs fractured. The superactive dogs who sleeps during the day.
If the name would be special then I would feel like coming here again and again and writing as often as possible.
I have consistently fought with this space. What this space has become is very much mirror image of me. The kind of struggle I had with commercialization and money seeking activities like adsense and similarly desperately seeking a job. I had come to point where I could have done anything. But thankfully I came out of it and some meaning brought me back. I grew with patience and waiting became name of life.
I am again doubtful about the words I use, about my language. Do we wonder about it? Do I make sense when I write?
This place has become screen for me to be doubtful. To feel how much confused I am with things. How much validation I need? How difficult it is for me to survive alone? The confusions can come to surface only because there is certain validation that is holding me.
To live without validation would mean asking the questions and dwelling into the confusion and reaching somewhere. Does all these movements are realized within or they just are words?
There are days when it feels that I am just right, the way it is. I mean the way things are they are just right and I am good at it. But there are times, like now, when there is anxiety whether it is alright. Am I as grand as I think?
The moving cars does not stop taking my mind away. They invite dogs and with this the test whether dig can differentiate between who is known and who is stranger, hence must be feared and attacked.

What wrongs with name? It does not matter it is not as special as other might have. But it has its own story. I cant find another name could be sign that this is the right one to live with. I feel so shallow and empty. How can I sleep in this dark and dreadful silence?



 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

How to feel like traveller at home?

I wonder how can I have this feeling of being traveller, by being at home? How is it possible? When travelling life becomes outdoorsy. It can be exhausting. But there is something keeps going. How does the same energy can be replicated at home?
All the people around me gives me this feeling. As if they are settled. I hate civilization or settlement. A human being is not meant to be a person who can settle anywhere. He can keep moving. And wherever takes rest becomes his home.
This I think is very natural to us, to wander.
And recently I have come upon this experience that how alive and natural it feels to wander and travel.
 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

All the boy love Mandy Lane

Since it's a high school movie, I could compare it with another high school movie I saw recently The Kings of Summer. How different can adolescent be?
In one there is all sexual desire, drugs, alcohol, partying and killing. And in another, there is friendship, heartbreak, freedom, independency.
The second one is more mature than the All the boy love Mandy Love.

I do not know whether there is any story. I would have to assume a lot to bring coherence to story. I don't understand why Mandy and her friends would kill their friends? There could be no justification for crime or murder but yet there has to be depiction of deeper motives of characters. So the character were loosely created, only rested upon desire for sexual energy, libido.

Well after seeing this, high school may think twice before inviting any hot looking girl with good tits. I think that is the message. In this way it is humorous.

The director might wanted to release his sexual energy and there fore stereotype of high school boys with sex drive comes. Of course there is more to growing up. This movie only depicts one side of growing up, which is major.

It stereotypes the character of women, Mandy lane and when it is found that she is killer too, it may come shock to audience. The character which was developed on physical beauty, excellence in sports and right mind comes across as murder. This could stir anybody whether they identified with beauty or was chasing the beauty.

It was not really scary. What more can I say? There was no character history or their environment. I think without bringing families, the story of adolescent is incomplete.
Not a good movie. It is a fantasy to see a beautiful woman as murder and this image of both in woman is what movie rests on. She is so smart that she cant be caught. An anger with knife.
The idea that what may seem like or look like may not be as it is from inside. Look for beauty inside rather than only outside, A message for high schooler.

Friday, 19 September 2014

where is my friend's home? by Abbas Kiarostami

The movie was made in 1987. It is Iranian product. One of my friend suggested me this film, as he introduced me to inspiring and great Iranian films.

Where is my friend's home is the story of a 8 year old child Ahmadpur frm Kokar who studies at institute of intellectual development along with other students. One of theme is Mohammad reza. Reza does his homework in a different copy because his book was with his cousin. Upon checked by his teacher, he was punished for not doing the work in the book. It was final warning and further not doing work in book could expel Reza. The same day Ahmadpor accidently brings Reza's notebook along because they looked similar. And then his journey begins after school to find Reza's house (where is my friend's home) so that he return the book and prevent Reza from expelling.

There are various moments that touches me and introduces me to Iran's rural life. The participation of kids in home life, helping mother and going out with father for work. The grandfather who sits useless whole day, wishes to teach discipline to kid by asking him to bring cigarettes and beat the child every fortnight as important part of teaching the kid.
The door worker who does not listen to kid, and forcefully takes a page from his book and also forces the old chaps to get the door work. Very business minded.
An old man without children have desire to speak and narrate his story about his life.
All this and a kid, who is seeking his friend's home.

A random thing. A flower in the book. And it comes back in the last scene and it surprises as if it is presented to us. It was beautiful.
Another random thing. the continuation of story of old man as he takes off his shoes and we see his worn socks and until we close the door.

The father who does not speak to child and keeps himself occupied with a radio, only to reach to a time to sleep. A storm comes tells us the inner world of child who feel tormented as he is afraid and guilty that because of him, his friend will be expelled.
 next day he reaches school late.
A sweet, slow, honest, simple cinematic experience.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Home or traveller

At home I could feel that I am comfortable, secure and protected. It could get boring, dull and careless.

When travelling I feel like explorer, independent, alive and hopeful. It could also get risky, dangerous and also carefree.

There are two sides of both travelling or at home. I enjoy being careful and yet exploring. With travelling, I bring this sense of travelling at home because I do not home as I believe. When I say home, it means Delhi or my home in Delhi.

I think experience of living outside home for some time brings that sense of traveller to home.
  

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Melancholy and Writing

It is such a melancholic mood that I want to keep it to myself. Firstly I want to get rid of it. It is such  a sad atmosphere. I begin to feel what I was feeling and there was such comfortableness in this neutrality. I do not know whether this is neutrality but it is very poker and without any superficiality. It takes certain strength to feel this stance and be with it.
I have been here, in this mood, a lot of times before but not recently. I have found out that it is one of the best mood to write. It is best moment to feel. I think I can see the world clearly in these moments of sadness.
I often try to distract myself from it. Like by switching on a cricket match or something random nonsense. It is so strong that I feel that I miss someone. And I have to contain it. It is when I read I feel the length and breadth of the moment of sadness. The writing, watching cricket match and watching advertisements becomes a way of distracting away. Why? in this moment, it feels like staying within and taking all of that is outside into the breadth. It is moment when I am closer to myself.
As if I remember that I had lost this feeling of melancholy and was never alone. I have always been occupied with something or other and when alone I did not face it. It is end of the week and it might be right time to feel it. People might use the weekend for party and get away with it but I wish to nurture it because I am sure there might be a humour in it of different taste. It is that I was looking for this mood to bring me back to writing. I think I like my writing when I am under such clouds. I also feel like writing. It does not matter if other judge it as poor but best thing is to enjoy.

“What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

I have been becoming used to living more in social spaces than in the inner world. Though inner vice is always a companion and guide but sometimes I really have to be out. In these social times I have begin to value the inner voice that exists during social spaces. It is very satisfying to hear it during a conversation with someone. I feel good.
It is similar feeling when for the first time I begin feeling my voice. It felt like I am closer to people. It is similar feeling when I hear myself during the conversation. It comes to me, like it came before to me. And I valued those moments.

Melancholics are arguably the most talented of all the personalities. They often have a natural bent toward artistic expression, including writing. They’re detail-oriented, patient, and idealistic. But in spite of all their talent, they’re often prone to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. Their perfectionism and mood swings can cause them to feel they never measure up, which can, in turn, keep them from completing projects.              -  London 


“Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad.”
Victor Hugo 
   

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Friends and their Friendships


What are friends? who are they?

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born" Anais Nin

It is reinforced that thought can development through emotional exchange between two or more human beings. This another person with whom we share a relationship is our friend.
A friend with whom we share moments regularly. They keep us in movement in a world and hence we grow and we meet again. There are friends with whom we never meet again, we met before because we went to same college or we worked together.
With most we never here them again. But I hope and wish they are doing well.

A loner has less friends or may be none. There are friends we never see but we talk to them over phone or through messages. And when we see them physically in person, we hardly know them. We find that there can two different persons, one who talk over the phone and other whom we meet.

There are friends who are there, whenever we call or message. We hardly talk to them in everyday basis but they have become our back up.

We cannot meet all the friends in one day and we can also not meet new friends everyday. There is some regularity with some friends and others are sporadically met.
This also applies of me as friend to other. Usually I have friends who talk to me sporadically once in a while with whom I have shared many good and bad times. Others do not reach out to me even if there is occasion, like my book launch, or silly birthdays and festivals. So do I.

There is kid in the neighbour who has some friendship going on with me. He comes to play video game. It is a different kind of friendship, more emotional than verbal. Some times we play games together. Other times I ask questions to have some exchange of words between us. He brought a friendship band on a friendship day. Cutie pie.

Some friends stay inside long after they are gone and we hope we could have met them last time. We could have spend some moments with them, before we say goodbye. Some moments where we can talk about tomorrow, about each other and where do we see each other in tomorrow. And other things to hold each other until we meet again or not.

With friends, there is no friendship. Friends are more important than friendship. Just like a person is more important than the relationship.