Meeting Meursault

Back to back hectic weeks of work, unending pitches and other trivial things later, there is finally some space to breathe.  Saturdays and Sundays are precious and coveted, much like a cool breeze in hot Calcutta summers.

It’s been a while since I have read something exceptionally moving, my last few experiments with books have been nothing much to write about. ‘Persepolis’ by Satrapi was predictably good but nothing I wasn’t expecting, Ned Beauman’s ‘The Teleportation Accident’ was disappointing, insipid, and painfully tedious to complete. ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ by Murakami and Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse 5′ were pleasurable to read, almost wanted to kick myself for not reading Vonnegut before in college.

But the book that I really wanted to talk about is ‘The Stranger’.

Again, I have no idea why I did not read this book back in JU. It’s easily one of the best books I have read in a while. ‘The Stranger’ has moved me in more ways than one, it’s a kind of philosophy that every 25 year old needs to read about…the value of truth, the injustices of our so called civil society and the shackles it imposes on us. Actually, I am glad I didn’t read it when I was 20 or 21, sitting on the jheel, while smoking a cigarette and drinking tea, pretending like I’m the cat’s whiskers who knows what injustice actually is. I’m 25 now, I mostly never have time to sit by the jheel, I don’t smoke, only drink black coffee (mostly because I don’t have access to doodh cha in office) and I still don’t know injustice for what it really is.

But I know now that it is okay not to judge others, and it’s is okay if someone judges you because that is what most people are good at. The world is essentially made up of three types of people, the ones who belong, the ones who perpetually don’t, and the ones who are unoriginal enough to fall in between. Sadly for me, I’m the third kind. This is the worst kind to be. The ones who belong easily take to the ways of the world and the idiocy it perpetrates all around; the ‘outsiders’ are bold enough to be true, they are original and unique, not meant to be bogged down by the limitations of society; the third kind is merely pathetic…they are torn between being different and conforming, but mostly end up conforming and hating themselves for it.

Meursault is obviously the one who doesn’t conform, beautifully characterized by Camus who was also an outsider himself, I suppose. Something Meursault said just before he died is stuck in my head, ‘after a while you can get used to anything.’

Sometimes, I feel that way about life.

This is a no frills post just because I want to.

I went to the recording studio for the first time and saw/heard two of my radio spots get recorded. Best feeling in the world. The voice over artist even applauded my script and said it was well written. Even better feeling. It was one of those genuinely happy moments when it all seems worth it. Stayed up late all night watching people make Plasticine models for a 3D project. I love how creative work is at times even though I crib about the hectic hours. At times advertising is sheer joy and pure fun. I hope it always stays this way. Sigh.

I can only imagine how happy I’ll be when/if my TVC ever gets made. Eeeeee.

Playing catch

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about loneliness. It seems like the most romantic thing to be when I read Murakami novels…girl eating dinner by herself in a cafe, reading book by herself in her room, taking long walks by herself across the city. Being with nothing and no one has never seemed so appealing. But in reality, loneliness is like stale cheese. It tends to overpower your senses gradually and slowly till you reach a point when you can’t bear it anymore. Fuck the stupid cheese, you say, and throw it out of the window in one swift move.

Which drives me to another more relevant point, when does one get used to being alone? Is it an acquired taste or is it something meant for higher beings. There are innumerable accounts of people just wandering into forests and spending hours without any friends or family, with only trees and birds for company. Is that really doable? Thoreau emphasized on how all of us have to go and live in a jungle all alone at some point in our lives without fail. I wonder if being alone for a long period of time forces our brain to understand certain things about life, questions to which we all seek answers because of some immense sadness that has befallen us or some great luck that we can’t seem to get used to.

Honestly, I don’t mind being alone. By now I am a pro at guarding my emotions, carefully storing my feelings inside a well-protected glass case hidden deep within some high brick wall. It helps that everyone is too busy to even try and climb the stupid wall. Mostly they choose to meander around it carefully, take a stroll by the glass case and just leave it at that. Suits me perfectly.

On a different note, sometimes I feel like I’m floating, being tugged from one corner to another with a rope, like Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Only I’m not her, life isn’t space and there is no Clooney. Although there was a Clooney  at one point of time. There were others too, mostly characters from books – a Holden, a Toru, a Winston. In fact there is one now as well, a very difficult one because I’m just not being able to find an apt character to retro fit this new one into. I think that is my tragic flaw – I am trying to live my life like some story book a crazy ass author wrote and probably didn’t care much for later.

I blame it on the old fart Salinger…it all started with my obsession of catching and being caught. And boy did I find catchers. Anyway now I realize at 25, that playing catch catch tends to be tiring specially if you are the one being caught. It’s a very teenage thing to do and one needs to graduate from all this catching business into something more solid and socially acceptable, something like sitting. Sitting down is safer than playing catch (better in my opinion) because when you sit down you don’t have to bother about a thing. Sit down with lemonade, some sun tan lotion, a nice old book, your dog near your feet and that’s that. No more running around, worrying, pretending to catch or get caught or any of that idiotic shit.

 

Poem 2

It’s a man’s world.

But you, pretty young thing

Know how to play

And pull that little string

Which tug at their heart.

It’s just a game for you

A joke, a laugh, a lie.

But when the day ends,

Where do you run and cry?

You love a big fat mess

Dirty little damsel in distress?

Dishevelled hair, torn jeans

25 but stuck in your teens.

You stick out like a sore thumb

In that room full of hot dumb

bitches, who are so sweet

they make honey taste bitter.

But you are one of a kind.

Erratic? Not of sound mind.

Hey bitch. Yes you!

Look up from that book

All that shit you read

It’s all gobbledygook.

Take a break, take a nap,

Smile, flirt, sit on his lap.

Use your sharp rusty knife

And that’ll be the end of his life.