2019: Introspection, Tears and Future

‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. And, words encapsulate life.

It’s 31 Dec 2019, and my usual ritual of a customary recap of the previous year is now like a Netflix series – a recurring, never ending one, that is.

2019 will go down as one of the most enterprising ones in my life. And, also the most tragic one.

Enterprising, as I went in to a planning and retrospective mode, torrentially at the same time. Not typically me, but I guess I had too many errands running in my mind and was hell bent to rewrite my future with a pen and paper of my own (not really, I used my MacBook 😀). Nothing so far, but I am confident to reshape my future. Shortly.

Watching my son grow is a delight. The charming fella keeps both of us on our toes, and his smile has become the definition of our lives. He will be 4 next month and we have mixed feelings. We don’t want him to grow up at all, with his ever beautiful smile just frozen over the colourful walls of our lives, forever. On the other hand, we are super excited to watch him grow up, watch him talk with those cutely etched words, his naughtiness in everything he does is so adorable and watchable. We are trying to the best for him, the best that we could ever give to anyone else in our lives. Beings parents to such a lovely boy is a blessing, and parenthood has never looked so seamlessly difficult and endearing.

2019 was also one of the most painful for me. I lost my best friend, my brother, someone with whom I have shared a sibling like relationship for years and I can only talk to him in a way that only we knew was ever possible. We will die one day, it’s inevitable and is as much a reality as life is. But, to lose someone so young and in few minutes without offering an opportunity to reach out for help was devastating. I am still grieving, and am moving on. But, what has descended upon his family is nothing short of an enormous tragedy that is unexplainable in words and emotions. His loss reminded me, rather shook me very hard, to say that life’s fleeting nature could be associated with such inexplicable events. I still don’t believe he is not with us, and I believe that he is very near to me, watching me, smiling at me and just almost ready to kick off a conversation, just like we usually do. Friend, Brother – I miss you. Life will never be the same without you.

Resolutions? Nah. I have never been a person of resolutions, really. I have always been an instinctive person and would like to remain that way. But yes, I would want to see that everyone around me remains healthy, and sound. I have been very inconsistent with my writing this year, largely remained distracted with other necessary evils. I would like to change that this year, I have a couple of short stories up my sleeve and would like to complete them before moving on to newer ventures.

I am rounding it off with few pictures of 2019, the ones that inspired and fascinated me to capture them.

Adios, 2019!

Prevailing Disasters

If we meet someone for the first time and we end up asking, ‘What’s your name’, it’s a sensible question to ask. But what follows next, is a recipe for disaster and that’s exactly how our society is built. What we hear is what we percieve.

Apocalypse is not a situation for the future, it is a venom that lies deep within our present. What kind of a society believes in exploitation, violence and superstitions that lurk beneath roots and a semblance of darkness? Well, a society is built by people. People are made by birth or reproduction. Birth is not a choice, but the way of life is. And, our life is influcnced by plethora of factors – we are surrounded by some, some are imposed, some seep through education and a lot creeps in through the veins of dispute, culture, lineage and religion. Religion is meant to bring people together amidst differences, diversity and turbulence. Yet, what it has done over the centuries is just the opposite – hatred and scant respect for the human clan.

Caste and the caste system have always been 2 different dimensions to a clumsy concept. Caste was classified by humans and caste system was glorified for political reasons. The Gita or Bible does not talk about any such vehement classification or discrimination of human beings based on caste, creed, race or any mention of a reason for dominance that demeans a status of an individual in a prescribed society. The epic scholar and sage, Thiruvalluvar was an epitome of human resilience and his ‘Thirukurral’ is a magnificent tribute to a clan that should have existed without prejudices, exploitation and tyranny. It is an ode to our culture and a devastating reminder to a bunch of shameless ideologies that has done nothing but to bring ignominy and doom to a world that is still reeling from the events that shook the world in the last 120 years.

It is diffcult today to imagine this world without few iconic and dreadful chapters that displaced the dynamics of human existence forever – The Holocaust, The Cuban Revolution, Vietnam War, Partition of India and Pakistan, The Civil War in Sri Lanka… the list is endless and painful. The question is, do we have a world which is better placed today or was all this sacrifice in vain, for nothing? The answer is equally difficult and debatable. Or can I say, to anticipate or retaliate against such mercurial episodes is a task that beholds audacity and uncertainty in the same space.

The vanity of the situation is more precariously placed when we need our Constitution to define and explicitly state that discrimination of human beings of any kind is unacceptable. Worse, even such disclaimers are not good enough, the disdain and the ruthless killings continue. Yet, we still talk about education, civilization and development.

The caste system is alive because we want it to stay. Caste is a tool, like religion. They are not just symbolic to our existence and way of life, they supplement our tragedies amicably. Apparently, by the poeple who we trust.

Curious Case of History

Stonehenge has remained a mystery and an enigmatic destination for years and centuries now. But it does invoke resonance and awe in the same breath.

Toppled rocks over a precarious design in different sizes placed over a tepid piece of earth – such torrid piece of landmark inviting such crazy anecdotes could only have one staggering reason. The legend of Neolithic remains that is one of it’s kind in the world, with a history of ruthless and undaunted stories can only draw such notes of torment and torrential attention.

Touted as the ‘Temple of Dead’ since it used to be burial ground, Stonehenge has history dating back to 3000 BC. It is widely believed to be a part of an ancient folklore, some beloved historians believe that Stonehenge was built by God, Demons and the Satan himself. Well, arguments are infinite but the science behind the iconic rocks also summon debate and curiosity, as it is believed that the position of the rocks was used to measure the time of sunrise using the size and altitude of the rocks.

Stonehenge was overwhelmingly stunning and epic, it is only a cluster of dead rocks for people who have poor taste, and have little sense of its diminutive incarnations.

If time permits, another visit is quite an interesting prospect.

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Wild and Close

How would you react if a tiger comes and kisses your car before meeting one of many other tigers for an afternoon cuddle?

I remember seeing them, and my 3 year old son’s epic reaction will always remain etched in my memory as the most memorable one. No, he wasn’t scared as he is too young to understand a tiger’s impact on a man’s life. But as the beast was close and missed him by a whisker, his excitement knew no bounds and the roar of his smile was more mercurial than the tiger’s. That for me, sums up the whole situation.

Well, it was a days of close ups and some of them were brilliant and intimidating. We saw monkeys, giraffe, zebra, Bactrian camels, Black Bear, Bongo, Rhino and Elephants, but up and close with the endangered species of this world was one hell of a sight. We saw the King of the Jungle, and truly, he sat like one, posing for us in the most unblemished way with a pinch of arrogance. Typical, I must say.

I had a tough time to take the best shots, and the most iconic ones are certainly hard earned.

Sea of Water

The coastal path of Wales is one of those places that doesn’t leave you even after you have left Wales, for a very long time.

We put our tents in Cardiff but it was the blue waters that stayed with us through our uninhibited and refreshing stay in the beautiful land of cliffs, wet landscapes and rocky waters. It’s always a delight to watch waters slash against the mighty rocks and yet not mellow down, thanks to its very nature to wade through sublime and regressive waters.

3 days wasn’t enough, two and a half actually. But it was a visit that we will cherish for a very very long time to come.

I shot some pictures, many to be honest and I was tired but my DSLR wasn’t. I am particularly proud of the close up shots, which talks a lot about emotions and aesthetics.

A dialogue with God

I ain’t a saint, I understand Karma but am equally susceptible to worldly pleasures and I am not ashamed to admit that I am normally sane and quite easily, overtly ambitious by average human standards.

I lost someone very close to my heart earlier this week. He was a more than a friend, a brother who did not require DNA to get us connected the way we did. And so connected we were in a way that I cannot describe in words, however eloquent they might be. It was a relationship where we cared for each other and we were equally critical of our decisions we made in our lives. But what stood out was the chemistry and the understanding we shared, we could just stop and take off again with elan. I am now poorer in this world, for I don’t have another friend like him in my life to have such torrential conversations. My loss stands undisputed, collapsed.

I now feel that someone, somewhere wasn’t very pleased with what we had between us. So disruptive has been this loss, so quantum has been the grief that I am only searching for reasons since Thursday when this colossus tragedy was conveyed to me.

I am searching for reasons, here and there. I try to divert myself to my daily chores but I am struggling to focus on whatever I do. What ridiculous reason can one give to the young wife who has just lost her husband in a matter of few minutes? How do I console parents who has have just lost their son? How can I ever provide an excuse to a father who is disastrously participating in rituals for his deceased son who had come in for a vacation to spend quality time with him?

How should I? How can I? Can you please please explain? I beg you to return him even if you have a reason which is evidently unexplainable beyond my admittedly ignorant stature.

He had dreams, he was excited to find out what life had in store for him, he has never been so happy in his life, we dreamt of a future that could change our lives. All washed away in minutes, a life well fought and well bred has come to a painful, screeching halt.

I might stop with questions, you might still return them with answers, but that is not what I want.

I want him back, please return him. Please.

Will you?

Dost, this was not the plan..

Mamu, yes we did have a lot in our agenda and for our future but this was certainly not recorded in our books. And, as I am left weeping at losing you, I cannot accept the fact that life’s gorgeously fleeting nature has robbed me of a great friend and an amazing human being.

I cried today, stopped for a while and then cried again. You going away so abruptly has startled me to the core. I have not just lost a friend, I have lost a very special relationship wherein all our banters, hours of exhilarating critic reviews for our favourite films and deciding to end our never ending calls when our wives came in to disrupt our conversation has just so suddenly disappeared in thin air. We always shared a nonchalant and open relationship, where we could play the way we wanted to. I have lost you, and I have lost someone with whom I was always purely myself. I don’t think I have another friend in my life with such unsurpassable bonding, and if I could, I will ask you to please come back, we have unfinished business to take care of.

It’s a much greater loss to your family, but I have no courage to console them as I am too inconsolable at the moment to provide them with a ray of hope that they need at this hour of tragedy.

Vijay Iyer – At the moment, I feel so down and depressed in life, that it looks like the end. But our relationship has been so much about positiveness and energy that inspires me to believe that there is a reason for this enormous loss. Hence, I will smile again, I will miss you but still talk to you. For old times sake. 😢😢

Stunner of a Sunday

If it was raining glorious passing shots and some brilliant baseline tennis in one corner, the other corner at home celebrated Cricket’s brand new World Champion. And, a cracker of a contest it was!

The Wimbledon final was expectedly a long one as I could not expect anything less from the 2 top players battling it out for the ultimate prize. With 38 Grand Slams between both of them, this could only be as epic as it gets. And, I don’t think I was disappointed. Another iconic Wimbledon final with a 5 set thriller, it all boiled down to energy and perseverance. Federer was sheer class, Djokovic was rock solid. It’s a shame we had to choose one winner, but Djokovic finally prevailed over the 8 time champion. Aptly, only he could have stopped the legend from claiming his ninth, and his fifth could not have come in a better time and place.Apparently, I was focusing on the Wimbledon final today. My attention was diverted when England were 86/4 and I could sense that another thriller was in the offing. And, no surprises met me this time. A World Cup final going in to a Super over has not happened ever before, and this one took the nerves to the wire. I almost felt it was going to be New Zealand, but England’s persistence won hearts and the cup. The over throw that yielded 4 runs in the final over was a painful turning point for the Kiwis and some dazzling scenes in Lords and Trafalgar Square meant that England just seized their first ever World Cup Glory.Over to 2023.

When emotions win.

How much ever we try to elude the inevitable question, an India – Pakistan Cricket Match isn’t a Cricket match any more, it never was. More significantly, it’s even more illogically placed if it is a Cricket World Cup. And, that’s exactly what unfolded today. Our emotions were more pertinent than the significance of a World Cup match, though you will see diplomacy and kind words doing the rounds when men are talking in front of the cameras. But we know, what’s going on inside.

Both nations have seen turbulence together, our hatred for each other is born out of sheer legacy of discard, gore and admonished fervour. Both nations also have a strong history in Sporting events like Hockey and Cricket. But with time and tide, Cricket has gone to another level, not particularly in the ascending curve. Most of our dispensed feelings is attributed to devious political minds and a self destructive plague of concurrent events. But, the those feeling are mutual. For sure, it looms large over the prospects of such glorious events like Cricket World Cup.

We don’t want to play them but we can’t escape playing them in big ICC events due to the massive logistics involved. Big Money, Marketing, Sponsorships and Betting flies high in such encounters, it makes things more obvious that India holds centre stage today in World Cricket and has to abide but cannot be dismissive of their opinion which oscillates between Patriotism and Realism.

Today’s victory was clinical, no doubt, but it was another prominent reminder to Pakistan that India have kept their winning streak in World Cup intact. And, the battle will always continue offline, off the ground and off the limits.

London, again.

This is my nth time in London. We visit London very often, reasons are plenty. Friends, and I think we really love London. At times, I find London overrated, sometimes so vibrant and exuding energy all the time, with all the people around. I guess, I do love London. Sorry, said that twice now. But, it’s just that I am so copiously surprised with myself that despite so many encounters with London, the city keeps calling us. Perhaps, for a reason but I don’t know yet.

Lunch with friends, a visit to Kensington Gardens with my family and some delightful stories across North Greenwich.

Done and dusted, this time around.

No Blood, Just Death

Not often do I see crime and gangster dramas without a blood splattering show. ‘Siberia’ was one such example. Less (in fact, none at all) blood, fewer dialogues, some steam to get you hot and an insanely predictable end. Love lost, cause lost, not sure why it all started in the first place.

Gosh, I have seen Keanu Reeves in a better shape and in a much better house as an actor. Sadly, he is approaching nadir in this so-called thriller.

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