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I once read a book called When the Machine Stops by E.M Forster. It was a great work of literature, and one of the first few science fiction novels ever written and because of that it didn’t have much believability to it at the time. But it was the premise the book was based on that made me a complete fan-girl for it. So here’s a summary to get you up to date with the book:

When the Machine Stops is based in the far future, when people are all dependant on machines for their living; they play on them, study from them and socialize through them. Since people don’t do more than sit in a chair and gulp down nutrition pellets, they eventually began to desert the unpredictable surface of Earth and moved underground, where all living conditions were controlled by machines: air, water, temperature. Everything. Over the span of centuries people became so dependant on machines to do everything for them that their muscles degraded, save for in their fingers which they used to input commands.

Then one day, the main system that controlled the entire outfit crashed. This was unprecedented, as nothing of this sort had happened ever before. People panicked but found they could no longer move to save themselves. They could not communicate with each other since they had lost the power to use their own body for the purpose, and were not comfortable with being in any other person’s physical presence.

The life support systems broke down and due to the lack of circulating air, and the heat from the proximity to the Earth’s mantle, people began to try to escape to the surface. They dragged themselves up using only their fingers. Most died since their hearts, unused to physical exertion, seized. Others died during the long journey without food. Some managed to make it to the surface but their skin and eyes, which had never seen sunlight before, could not stand it and they died like roaches spewing out of a poisoned drainpipe.

I’m not a big fan of doomsday theories but this one really hit me. What do we do these days but depend more and more on machines and computers? Video games, computers, Kindles have all begun to replace things like exercise, books and hard work. People are more adept at talking through text (IM, text messaging, FACEBOOK) than they are at communicating face to face. True conversation has died and rotted. People sit like zombies in front of the TV instead of going out, getting fresh air; doing things we did before electronics took over our lives. Back when we HAD a life off the internet. I mean look at how much the NEET population has soared…

I am a complete anti-advancement supporter in many ways. Everything was better back in the old days. War was more limited, people had says in each others’ lives, hey had a respect for nature rather than the greedy drive for MORE MORE MORE that people seem to have these days. “Better bombs, better processors, better air-conditioners, better calculators” which basically leads to dumber people pretending to be smart by using these intelligent things.

I mean, come on. We have toilets that clean you up after you do your business! Can’t you even wipe your own ass yourself now?

The time isn’t too far off when we’ll be making babies in little pouches in laboratories, and have machine tap into our lungs and pump air in and out so we don’t pull a muscle breathing…

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I’m such a textbook case of quarter-life-crisis. A very drastic textbook case, with all the symptoms completely apparent. I can only imagine what it will be like when I go through mid-life crisis and shudder. For reference and proof look here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarter-life_crisis

The idea that a quarter of my life will be over in 4 years is bothering me. Have I done anything amazing till now? Is there any memory that I really cherish? Has my life been a good eventful life so far? My answer to all the above comes down to a well rounded ‘not particularly.’

Life seems sort of dull and meaningless. Why did I make the choices I made? What will it matter to anyone, to the world if I learn how to crunch numbers and draw up balance sheets or take important business decisions? And if it doesn’t matter to anyone but me, why didn’t I do something more exciting, more interesting, something I actually liked? If nothing else at least I’d be satisfied.

The dullness becomes a bit much at times, becomes a flashing neon sign for angst. Why couldn’t I have thought more, been more serious, considered the future more instead of jumping head-first into whatever I could jump into? Gone through all my choices?

The worst part is I’m now surrounded by girls with absolutely no ambition except to get married ASAP and have 6 children. I’m one of the 3 single girls in my batch, and staying with this many wannabe-housewives is beginning to rub off on me. It’s making me lazy, like my brain is sedated.

Also, I seem to be developing this mild case of phylophobia. It’s not cool, seeing as how I have no romantic prospects anyway and having a metaphorical “fuck off” stamped across my forehead is not going to help.

It’s a sad life. And all I can really do now is make the best of what I have. But just the thought of corporate life kills me inside. But then again the thought of most other professions bore me to death as well. So I’m going to put up a list of things I will do in the next ten years or die trying:

  1. Ride a Ducati S4 Monster/ Harley-Davidson Sportster
  2. Backpack across at least one country. Preferably in the Far East or Mediterranean because Europe bores me
  3. Buy a new set of drums and play in a band
  4. Find a guy who is worth the time, effort and apparent misery that comes with being in a relationship
  5. Write a book. No matter how bad.
  6. Re-learn the martial arts
  7. Grow a garden. The vegetable-y and flowery kind.
  8. Learn another language to add to my repertoire
  9. Grow my hair long so Mom stops getting on my case and then cut it so short it never touches my shoulders again.
  10. Pay more attention to myself. And fit myself into a size 4 shirt. Yes.

Disclaimer: This list is fully editable and is subject to suggestion and opinion :

Flow

Life itself is never enough for me. It only becomes real and solid when I fashion it into stories. Words are a bountiful resource to be squandered. Think, discard, write, discard, mull over, discard. They never run out, never desert. They flow faithfully from hidden crevices in my mind, along my senses, down my arm and out the pen. And bring my world to roaring life.

I have to say, holidays are the strangest times in my life. My mom doesn’t let me sleep in, so everyday she wakes me up at 8 before she leaves for work, and everyday I sit up in bed, blabber inanely and go back to sleep around 8:05, the moment I hear the car go out the gate. On weekends we have special sleep concessions till 10:00 (that’s when mom wakes up herself and then raises hell for those of us still in bed.)

On weekdays, I wake up to the sweet sound of nothing. No little cousins screaming outside, no mother stripping my blankets off, no bleeping alarm clock. NOTHING. Nothing is bliss incarnate.

After shuffling into my socks and sweater without letting my head slip out from under the blankets, I emerge into the argh-so-cold! air. It takes a while to drag myself to the bathroom and brush my teeth what with my brain shutting down every two minutes, so by the time I haul myself downstairs and unlock the front door, it’s usually 11 am. Sometimes 12. Once it was 1:30 and I had to scramble to get the place cleaned up before mom got home.

The house is usually quiet, often creepily so, so I turn the TV on and call up the main house for a meetha paratha and tea. Or when I’m particularly awake drag myself and my lounge blanket to the kitchen and make myself some cheese-scrambled eggs on toast. Our house has REALLY tall windows, from the floor to the ceiling, and we haven’t gotten around to putting up curtains yet, so it’s very pretty on winter mornings with the light slanting in.

So I curl up on the couch, chomping down my breakfast and absent-mindedly staring at the TV till it suddenly hits me that I’ve been watching something like “Na Aaana Is Des…Laado!” for the past fifteen minutes, at which point I thank God I’m alone and flip channels till I hit Discovery, or History or MTV.

At around 12 one of my littler cousins will always come in, lugging my fat toddler nephew Saud, aka Bubble behind them. Bubble is this adorable tube-light-white ball of flub (hence Bubble) on a constant sugar high. As usual the kid goes crazy, he can’t talk properly yet, but jabbers on and on in his ‘Bubblish.’ As is his custom every morning these days, he comes in all sober and collected, stands squarely in front on me and states: Mama, baba, saad, ball, bhaiya, mum; the extent of his vocabulary. Then he promptly turns around and starts waging war on the Playstation with inspired intensity.

Prying him away from the playstation makes him poke fingers in the heater, throw his ball at the tv screen or try to stick his tongue into the electrical sockets. And scolding him makes him pose adorably so you HAVE to pick him up and cuddle him. The kid’s going to be so spoiled, but I don’t CARE!!!

So yeah, after finally having enough and sending the kids on to their next destination on the morning Saud House Tour, I flip open my laptop and fiddle with it till I realize that oh, crap! Mom’s going to be back any freakin’ minute!

After that it’s a mess, with me tripping over to-be-folded blankets and falling down stairs to the tunes of YUI, Buck-Tick and the GooGoo Dolls. The falling down the stairs is routine, it happens everyday without fail. And while I lay recuperating at the bottom of the stairwell, hoping I didn’t break the glass sliding door to my left, Mom came in.

Mom: I’m baaaack! *abrupt stop* Uh, did you just fall down the stairs?

Me: Um… What’s my name again?

Mom: Oh shutup you wiseass and get off the floor.

Me: *whine* But mooooooom, what if I was really broken???

Mom: If you were ‘broken’ you would be doing better things than cracking bad jokes.

Yeah, that’s my mom. You can’t argue with that.

So I fix my limbs, get up and reattach myself to the couch.

And it just gets worse from there…

There are no fairytales. There is no happily ever after.

There are only pieces of life. One part quilted haphazardly with another and that with another; the colors don’t match, some parts are faded, others too bright, yet others that are darkdarkdark.

There are staples instead of stitches.

It stretches behind you like a road you’ve been travelling as far as you remember. The past is a mish-mash of clashing hues, pools of light and darkness. But now that the darkness is behind you it doesn’t seem so dark. It’s been colored in with a vague indigo fondness and it makes you happy, looking down the path you’ve stapled together.

But there are no fairytales and happily ever after is just a point of time. It cannot stretch very long.

For you there is only the present.

Only the future that you can reach out and brush with your fingertips before it moves farther and farther away; fluttering, morphing, evanescent and tumultuous like a stormy sea.

The realm of happily ever after a mirage that shimmers seductively in the distance, always just out of reach.

It’s taken you a long time but now you know that happiness is elusive. It can vanish like a phantom moth cupped safely in your hands, or it can trickle away slowly like sand, grain by grain till the emptiness inside your clenched fist is a black hole of nothingness.

So you learn to be grateful for it, enjoy it while it last and staple it safely into your patchwork of a life.

You ground yourself in the present with your left foot in the past and let it wash over you in warm, frothy waves.

The future before you is still dark, with ribbons of light appearing and disappearing, flashing over murky shapes you’ll never recognize till you reach them.

It’s like you’re at the center of a labyrinth. There is the warmcoldcomfortableknown presence of the past behind out. You know you can lose your sorrows in the selective memory of the past, all the good times lurking just out of your sight behind your back, weaving narcotic tendrils around your mind, drugging you with vaulting promises of light and warmth.

The future yawns before you, dark and foggy and hopelessly twisted within itself. You don’t want to go, to leave this safe place. But your feet refuse to stay and you’re just that curious about what lies in the dark. You fancy you see another happy place in the distance, shining faintly somewhere beyond the murky halflight.

There is no drama to it. You take no deep theatrical breath. No straightening of shoulders or scrunching of brow. No setting of chin. No hardening of your eyes.

Just a vaguely guarded look as you, stranded in the miraculous moment where today turns from present to past, take your first conscious steps toward the light.

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He wonders idly, what he should name this feeling.

 

This feeling he has when she’s with him. A strange sort of contentment. The warmth of a quiet blanket that drapes gossamer folds over them. A silence that holds forevers of words. The want to smile for no reason.

 

He would never call it love. Never. Love wasn’t for people like them. They were too different. He was the edge piece of a puzzle and she was in the center; they were never meant to be. But someone thought it would be funny to shave off her protruding bits and shove her into an awkward fit with him. He doesn’t know whether to shoot them or thank them.

 

He doesn’t understand it. But he doesn’t mind his ignorance. After all she’s in his arms now and her ear is just where he always imagined it would rest. Her hands on his waist are precisely where he thought they would be.

 

They had touched once before, during a fight while she was trying to scratch his eyes out. Her hand had found his and it had been a jolt of sensation. Her hand felt good in his; the soft parts, not the sharp one with the fingernails that dug crescents into the spaces between his fingers.

 

He had known then that the next time they touched it would be explosive.

 

And it is.

 

A leisurely burst of heat and color that leeches into his bones and everything around him, painting his world in vivids.

 

A supernova in slow-motion.

 

She feels small and fragile and loveable right now. Not at all like the demon cat she that he knows she is.

“I can hear you think. Shut up already.”

 

She’s looking up at him, peeved and somewhat sleepy eyed.

 

“Sorry that my brain can’t catch up with the pace at which your moods swing…”

 

It takes a second for her to shrug his away and don her trademark scowl threateningly.

 

It doesn’t take him a second to see the vulnerability hidden under it.

 

So he pulls her back to him; because she’s his, sharp fingernails and all.

 

He doesn’t need to name it.

 

Because this isn’t a writing on a wall.

 

They can make it whatever they want it to be.

 

As long as she’s with him under this silent gossamer cloud-shadow of a blanket, in their world, where names have no meaning.

 

Quick Post

Island-RomanceI find romance such an overdone concept… It appears lack of romance is a family trait. The other day my mom was saying that my dad is probably the most unromantic man on the planet. And that he’s lucky that she’s a very unromantic woman and can deal with that. I don’t see why romance is so important to people. There should be a LITTLE in each relationship… but how much mush can you choke out before it becomes fake? Sure, give gifts on special occasions; go out on drives and stuff but love, real love, should come through in everything you do. It shouldn’t just be limited to words… I know that if someone went all romantic-mushy on me I’d burst out laughing. And then seep through the floorboards with embarrassment. I guess I’m more like my dad than I give credit to myself for…