Sunday, December 21, 2014

Time to kill

Of all the epiphanies that can strike a person at utmost inopportune moments, the ones about ones own character and passions is the most monumental. There I was, reading through some of my daily customary internet garbage, that this one shook my world. Well, not something so intense, but exaggeration goes a long way in trying to make a story more digestible. Ironic, in a way. So the digressions aside, today while reading an article on the quality and experience of leisure, I realized what truly drives me.
I've always been very vocal about the fact that hard work is my drug, that I can sit for hours on end at some challenging enough task, one that tickles my grey cells and puts me in a stupor-like zone where the world seems to recede into the background. Today, it struck me that I can only be comfortable in my leisure time, a time of doing absolutely nothing "productive" in the conventional sense, when I have filled up my quota of "work" for the day/week/month.
When I'm deep in a project, working and clicking away on the mouse to make things happen on that rectangular screen, somewhere deep in the dark recesses of my being I am creating a time for leisure which is guilt free. So the question is that, do I really love working, or do I love the feeling of having "earned' the guilt free leisure time when it does actually come my way?
Has the conditioning of this capitalist world been so thorough, that I cannot allow myself a period of nothing-ness, without having deposited in the bank of workaholism? Even more worrisome is the fact that most of my free "me-time" is peppered with myriad versions of distractions and activities, which are universally considered to be fun. And today I realized a deeply latent fear of not doing anything with my leisure, as if leisure also has to be filled in and scheduled out in a likeness of the calendar at work.
Is this what I do to myself or is there a larger force at play,one that afflicts so many more in varying degrees, across all walks of life. Maybe I'll schedule an evening of not doing anything, so that can also be cancelled out of my to-do checklist.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Selfie City

With the grand inclusion of the word into the Oxford dictionary, the authority on all things English, selfies have become as commonplace in the digital world as the beetle juice stains in all Indian public places. Yes, I'm not a fan. Why though? Why don't I like to turn my phone camera the other way around and direct it towards my own radiant visage you ask? I will break my answer down into three parts. Firstly, it's really inconvenient. I don't have hands that stretch like one of The Incredibles, to give me a decent vantage point for a well-composed picture. Most selfies tend to end up looking like enlarged, distorted nose dominated mugshots. And if they're taken in a mirror, then they seem amazingly narcissistic. 

Which brings me to my second point. Flooding the digital media world with your own pictures, taken by you, in various 'fun' situations is a form of socially sanctioned narcissism.
Lastly, the selfie, contrary to the coinage of the word, is little about yourself, as it is about the way that you want to be perceived and recognized by others. In a weird twisted sort of way, we put ourself in the spotlight, in a carefully manufactured setting, such that others can view us at that chosen moment. It defines us, by putting a visual in the mind of others, exactly the way we want it to happen.
Maybe it's mostly harmless, and I being the cynic-in-residence, might be overly critical of it's implications and consequences.

Still, it can't stop me from hating every situation when I'm asked to provide one, or look at my social network feed and see the plethora of people photos, all holding the phone in their hands and collectively posing the same question,"Who's the fairest of them all?"