Chains

america, college, Life, study

Imagine a body; tied and subjugated. One born so, just like its fore-bearers, and its bloodline as far as it can imagine time and history. The entirety of its life can be captured in one single unchanging frame; half bent, with a wooden structure inextricably tied to its arms and neck. Prevented from ever standing upright or bending completely, all the body ever does is drag the structure forward. This might not seem like the best way, but efficiency isn’t particularly a concern. Or perhaps it is a different kind of efficiency altogether. Given the limited visibility, the landscape in its vision changes constantly in movement, but never in character, form, beauty, or even promise.

One day, the body has had enough! It explodes in a burst of strength that shatters its wooden prison into pieces. As the splintered remains of the enslaver slides of the body, it rises up with a crackling sound unfamiliar to its own constitution. Its vision moves in the direction it has always wanted to; up and ahead. Upright for the first time, the eyes behold a landscape farther than they have ever seen, distances which seem infinite but attainable. Even as the back comes to term with a posture so fantastic and alien, the body’s resolution is set. It will move forward, but this time, on its own terms; towards the distant horizon. This is its promise, its future, its singular salvation. In time and space, it will be what it wants, what it never was.

As the newly liberated body takes its first step, it stumbles and falls. “It’s just the first step, the body is simply adjusting to the new conditions…” it thinks to itself. Unwavering in resolve and fixed vision, the body rises and moves forward. Only to fall again. As time passes, a new routine emerges; the path to progress and salvation becomes that of  an upright and forward facing body, falling again and again. “The horizon must be where this stops! The horizon is where this atrocious despair will end! This body, at the horizon is the the promise. I can unmake all that I was, become new, tirelessly march on, towards a new horizon! Perhaps even rest! If only this dratted stumbling would stop, I’d reach faster. I am doing everything right anyway. Straight vision, focus, determination, and movement!!. The promise of my promise will not elude me!”, as its hands reach for the fast approaching earth to break the fall.  

The falling continues. The seething sun and the rough terrain, earlier naturalized and discounted, now become impediments constantly assaulting the liberated body. Somewhere between where it started, the point of its liberation and the rupture from its forgotten past, and its failing movement towards nowhere, the body stops. We’d never quite know why it stopped. Presumably to catch a breath and continue on. Perhaps it was tired. Perhaps it lost hope. Or perhaps it was just a glitch in its internal circuitry causing it to halt for but a second. But in that brief moment of respite, the body became aware of itself, and looked down. And as the eyes beheld its own body, and micro-seconds later, so did its consciousness; the unyielding chains around its bloody legs became loud, heavy, and painful. The chains that never left it. The ones the body never remembered to shed, or even notice. Perhaps they couldn’t ever be shed. Not by lack of wanting, but somethings never can be.

The constant companion between your rupture with the past, and the future that is nowhere.

PS.: My flatmate suggested this could be something one could call the ‘Manacles of History’. I want to improve this metaphor. History and its manifestations expressed as a individual experience could be conceptually misleading. Perhaps the manacles are experienced differentially across space, time, and the social. Perhaps chains is not the best metaphor. But it is the one I thought of right now. I will work on it I guess. What got me thinking about this was the Angel of History.


There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. An angel is depicted there who looks as though he were about to distance himself from something which he is staring at. His eyes are opened wide, his mouth stands open and his wings are outstretched. The Angel of History must look just so. His face is turned towards the past. Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet. He would like to pause for a moment so fair , to awaken the dead and to piece together what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise, it has caught itself up in his wings and is so strong that the Angel can no longer close them. The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm.

(Benjamin, 1940)


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The guessing game

america, college, Life

Guess whose account had 500 dollars withdrawn from it from an atm far far away?

Guess who never ever visited that ATM?

Guess whose finances are now precariously fuckered?

Guess who is going to have to manage this, apart from all the studying that needs to be done?

T’is I, and this is not but a scratch.
Tata!

 

P.S. I now have the flu.

Post colonisis

city, study, trains, travel

Hey hey hey,

I am in London.

Everything is so damn quirky and strange.

There is so much history here: owned, borrowed, stolen. But it’s here, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Its overwhelming at times, the sheer number and geography of destinies  which sprung forth and contorted themselves to the notes emerging from this city. This is true for my parents, and theirs before that, as it is for millions around the world.

Meanwhile, I spend my days in a library reading 18th century texts. It’s quite enjoyable, once you get used to the circuitous writing style, which is also unnecessarily polite. I occasionally take time out to dig out manuscripts pertaining to my home town and any information I can find on it. Apparently I have descended from ‘heathen’ ‘aboriginals’.

I am exceedingly tired today , and can’t even think of a half decent point for writing this, if not for its own sake. Nor do I have a profound observation about the city.  Except perhaps how well dressed everyone is, and how I feel like a potato here. It’s annoying that I can’t ever dress well, or care to.

Finally, I think all women everywhere are beautiful.  And fabulously better at most things. But before I go, a special mention about the women here.  I  struggle to frame this  delicately, trying to balance  between sounding appreciative while not seeming flippant: but these striking visions of beauty I can but be grateful for, and hope they realize they are so.
Ok they possibly do. And I can’t be poetic to save my life. And this just sounds all wrong.

Now I sleep. More history awaiteth tomorrow.

S

P. S.  I am already seeing regular faces in the Tube. 

Slide #1

america, college, Life, philadelphia, study

Hi,

I am currently struggling to put an entire semester’s worth of reading (10 books, 20+papers, and an infinite number of articles) in a 10 slide presentation. All I have for now is  the introductory slide (in Gray Scale: because meh) with my name on it. Fuck.

We conjured up visions of utopia in our heads, only to find ourselves incapable of realizing it. Then, we built the machines.

As I scramble to make a coherent presentation during what has been a truly terrible week, I am struck by my inadequacies. Not with words, or thoughts. Those I have plenty of, but they aren’t half as disconcerting. This is  a far deeper shortcoming I have managed to live with long enough to have  forgotten about. Today seemed like a good day for it to emerge though; on the edge of a long stressful semester, dancing around my thoughts, inserting itself in all that I see, hear, feel, and most importantly, think.

Then they dreamed some more.

And as I stare at this blank slide, I think of every single person I have read about. Their work I read, consumed, and admired. Sometimes it was shit. But still. People who wrote about all that they were passionate about, all that made them tick, all that fed their desire to live, to wake up and accept the drudgery of life as a small price to manifest their truest passions in words. This could be for multiple reasons; knowledge, general altruism,  fame, or even tenure. But I wont begrudge anyone their motivations, nor would I extol them more  than necessary.

One must at least dream to have faith

I say this because I have always imagined that one day I would write  in a fashion. The sort which flows, within the realm of writing logic and understanding, but a flow unfettered. The thought itself is more pleasing than anything else I can think of. Even as I constructed these elaborate dreams, they were explained as a future certainty, woven together with a promise of a more accomplished me, contributing, participating, and building; if not in form, in flow.

But I see it now, a jolting reminder  hitting me right in the face. What I lack is faith. A term I have always derided, if not ignored entirely. This is not faith of religious kind that I refer to. Or I could be. I dont really know anymore. How would I ever write something of value if I don’t repose myself within any meaningful understanding of the world? What would it be worth if I reject the magic or the logic from whence comes that which I write? Even as I try to write this concluding section, I find myself restricted by my own thoughts and uncertainty about what I really wish to communicate. Well that, and the blank slide. But suffice to say, I feel a deep sense of unease both from the source of the unease, and my inability to put it to words.

So I shall end here.

From faith stems feelings, from feelings stems conviction, and from conviction, fortitude

 

Si

To K

america, college, philadelphia

I am sitting here as well. It’s bright and the wind is far less murderous than usual. Circles don’t exist here since everything is bathed in the sun. Except perhaps, the jagged contours of the shadows, which punctuate this beautiful landscape.
This feeling of being crisped by the sun is quite new. And nice.

We should read a book together sometime.

S

image

Enterlude

america, city, college, philadelphia

Today, I submitted my first half finished assignment. Why?  Because I am coming to terms with how acutely limited my aptitude with numbers is. Extremely limited.  I can’t do numbers. I really want to, but I can’t.

And now I sit in a lecture, watching spectacular visions  of post-human architecture in the dark landscape that is the future smart city. It’s beautiful, in a sad, depressing, inevitable sort of way.

Did I mention I am having bourbon from a flask?  In my defense,  I had forgotten I put it there.

I feel like writing a novel.

I have the feels, not the words.

Si

Not so springy Spring

alone, america, college, Friends, philadelphia, walk

Yes, I am late. Yes,  I had 19 post ideas, all of which are now forever lost in the bottomless pit of my memory. They may resurface someday,  and I may write a version of it, but it won’t be the same. So loss is a loss is a lost loss.

For now,  I am going home. Walking home at an odd time makes everything seem weird. The familiar scenes are missing : no deserted sidewalks, no night-piercing harsh brightness of police lights, no national flags furiously fluttering in the evening wind and invoking unsettling and atavistic feelings of belonging (or otherwise), no drunks asking for change. All that, and you have to squint while walking, for the sun shines bright and proud these days. And for most people it seems to be a joyous occasion. Clothes come off, running shorts are worn, children, dogs,  and strollers are procured, and lawns occupied. Love assumes a pathogenic quality as it spreads across the populace, consuming everyone in its way, making them susceptible to warm display of affection and general friendliness.

So why am I going home?  Because fuck this. There are far too many happy people in love on campus. And I think I’d rather be alone now. Well, not like I have much of a choice in that anyway.

I never liked the sun much anyway.

Si

P.s. I assembled my own computer a few weeks ago. Like most things in life, events rushed in the opposite direction of what was planned, and I had more than one urge to kick my monitor screen. But I am pleased to report that HAL-zero is up and running, and makes for fantastic company.

image

Must get a pc table soon though.

This is not how I…

america, college, Life, philadelphia, study

… expected my Monday to turn out. At all. Someone else gone done fucked up. And now I am privy to secrets I’d rather not have known. Or be aware of. Or exist in the same space as that particular snippet of information. Especially, since I spent an entire year vacating that space.
Sorry for being cryptic, but suffice to say,  pleasant company was the only high point of my day.

Also, I can’t do math.

On the bright side, I have econometrics, and math to look forward to tomorrow. Sweet.

Gnight

Ps. Just had my last cigarette. Hopefully for life. Or for the foreseeable future at least. Sincere apologies to my lungs and all other bodily parts for almost a decade of incessant vapoury violence. But I don’t think I want to do this anymore.
There is far too much abuse in the world. The least I can do is breathe fresh while being depressed about it.