Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weigh it...

The average description of the average libran would start with "balanced". Probably because of the scales, I'm guessing. But most often than not, the average libran does not have a totally balanced way of looking at everything. He/She does not stay in control and equilibrium and is not the person one would want around to solve an issue by balancing matters, or to give a totally unbiased opinion. However he/she'd be the perfect person to ask for a well thought and backed opinion (however skewed it may be).

The point to be driven is that a libran is a confused person in a lot of internal turmoil. He(assume the /she from here on please) breaks his head over non-issues and petty matters to achieve a well-balanced opinion on it. He seeks that equilibrium state but most often is in only a trying-to-get-there position. And his growing turmoil spills all around, irritating most around him; the people around do manage to see that he's not normal but they fail to understand his conflicts and associated trauma. A libran is not a calm or composed person by nature. He does of course, feel at some points that he's got the solution to his problem in hand and a well-weighed perspective on the matter - at which time he'd be serene (or so he thinks). He now has enough reason to battle out his policy with the universe. But the rest of the world does not see this as a tranquil state; it is a state of unbearably heavy stubbornness and a stone-like coldness to other opinions - an indifference that is not well-liked.

However, all the above non-positives and positives (as the relative case may be) are supposedly neutralized by what is called the libran charm - which we will not make any ground on.

We will observe some of my personal confusions and conflicts (that be a joy. To me).

I am a person of south Indian origin but my current (and past!) memory starts only from the age of 4, an age where I had already been in Bombay for some years. The cosmopolitan really helped me grew - in awareness of variant lifestyles and cultures, at the same time allowed me retain my south Indian roots; I could at least speak my mother tongue and know of some practices. But, naturally, I was different from the average south Indian. I wasn't aware of south Indian movies (a major culture drive factor in my opinion) nor was I fully aware of how it is to live like one. In strict senses (and some less strict ones as well), I was not south Indian. But at the same time, I was not a total...anything else (there is a lot more outside south India than just the so-called stereotype "north Indian"!). I was not a full Bombay person either. I was unacceptable in most circles - there was always a certain rule that I could never live up to.

I moved to Chennai for my undergrad. Chennai was supposedly my native place - where I had great fun over vacation trips. Naturally I had a great opinion of Chennai when I first arrived. Only, to my dismay, vacation trips and living were two entirely different things. The Chennai I had seen in the past was limited - to my relatives, a few sight-seeing spots and some miscellaneous others. This time it was plain culture shock. I was moving around with people from a different plane, lifestyle, mindset, and other related parameters. It wasn't fun anymore.

But as is every other college experience, this one was...important. I did open my windows to Chennai (to a fair degree at least) and took what I could from it. In other words, I continued (tried), involuntarily, the libran balance-act.

Was this entirely circumstantial? Would anyone else in my shoes feel the same? Probably. But I had conflicts in a lot of other areas too. I was unable to meet the norms back in Bombay as well and that seems to be a life equation (or non-equation!) now. I was not entirely religious but I wasn't a non-believer too. I had my personal practices. I was short-tempered, but not short enough to become THE guy. I like my subjects and have a lot of motivation towards them, but I'm not totally passionate - given a choice, I would probably still read comics for a living (for a sustainable income and medical plan of course). I was(am) not a total good boy, but I am not bad either. I love music and sing and play with a frenetic enthusiasm but I am nowhere near the best one in my house even! I am computer savvy; I use it for a lot of my purposes and can take it apart and put it together, troubleshoot and understand its working. But I cannot write even a print program in any language to save my life! I am not chauvinist and I do respect women, but I do not respect all of their talk and deed just because of the latters' origin. I like a clean house and I do work to keep it that way (at least now!) but it is still not strikingly clean! I do not like to spend a lot of money but I am no thrift worm either! I do not like to get on the wrong side of people and do try to help such situations but I am not a diplomat either! I am not a stereotype person but at the same time I am not driven too much off the average in any direction! I cut the examples here and conclude on them that this brings a lot of confusion and turmoil in my life. But I love living with them.

I will not patronize on how I deal with them (I don't know how I do it myself but I know that I love it like this!) but it probably has something to do with acceptance and subscription to Gandhian thought (but I still like Metallica and rebellious dialogue! - if that can make a striking conflict...sort of...!). And my zodiac persona (I believe in the Zodiac but not entirely!), I guess, helps my take parts of each trait, put them together and make a formative picture - a structure that allows me to rationalize through the chaos. Or is it something else...? I debate...

- A stereotype yet off-center libran

Monday, November 05, 2007

Of Tolkein's realm...

Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo!
(A star shines upon the hour of our meeting!)
Imagination is a talent of which Tolkien had achieved beyond mastery. How would one have thought that a simple tale of a small halfling who had an unexpected tea party would have unfolded (and still unfolding!) into an entire universe of breathtaking detail - with even languages, and lineages and creation and evolution! Tolkien's wizardry (for that indeed it can be called) is still in the process of being understood - as descendants, researchers, purists and fans are doing their best to understand his middle earth and the other realms of that world.

I was, but a boy of eleven, when I first read The Hobbit. It was a simple tale of a short, stocky and content fellow - who suddenly found a bunch of dwarves walk into his house under the instruction of a troublesome, tall, Grey-cloaked old man with a tall staff - and then ended up in an adventurous trip from home to far west and back again. It was surprising - how a small little "thief" like him could evade goblins and curious mountain creatures, slay spiders and even muster a straight conversation with the dreaded Smaug (the Magnificent). He returned rich - not just with experience, tales, songs and friends but also with gifts from the dwarves - gold and more, a mail of moria silver and a helm to go with it, a fine blade of elvish make and a number of other small items....including a simple round ring of invisibility that he found on an encounter of riddles with a curious creature that called itself "my precious" and make a horrible swallowing noise that gave it its name. He made a rich account of his travel - There and back again - and the settled down and lived happily ever after. I shut the book with a smile and went on with life...a nice read it was...I liked it...

But there was more to it than met the eye...

In my early teen years, I stumbled upon a book - The Lord of the Rings. Catchy title, I thought. What was more - it was a Tolkien story. Hoping to relive the simple pleasure of that adventure from the eyes of a small hobbit (There And Back Again), I started reading it. The first page surprised me. This book was starting again, where the Hobbit had stopped - I was taken... The first chapter came with elements that relived the joy of meeting old friends, the content of an adventure far behind and the sarcastic and dry humour that I was so familiar with from 'There and Back Again'. But then it shifted...

The world was bigger, more cruel than before, there were orcs - not simple goblins - and more fell beasts. Evil was afoot and the dark tower was stretching its evil hand over the world. The race of men had failed and the world as we knew it was coming to an end. The elves were leaving Middle Earth for the undying lands. All old alliances were lost and the fate of the world hung in the hands of young Frodo Baggins of Bag End and the ring in his possession...

This book was like a travelogue, similar to The Hobbit on that, and yet it was different. A lot of people I knew then and I know now, still are unable to get past the initial chapters of the book - not because it was complicated or difficult to read - but just because it was a travelogue that could get tiresome after a certain point. But then, I was familiar with Tolkien's narration and sustained that patience; I slowly got lost in the book. When I finally finished the book, appendices and all, I had seen the book for what it was - a sacred monumental saga of more sorts than one. It had become my Bible and Geeta.

I read it thrice more in the subsequent weeks; I had to know everything. It was but a peephole into middle earth and a lot more trespassed in Tolkien's world than it spoke about. I had to learn the languages of the high elves (and men and dwarves and orcs and the black speech!); to speak a fairer speech in fell days. I had to know the history of middle earth and all its unspoken and unfinished tales. I had to live it.

I picked up more of his work and devoured them wholly. 'Tales of the Perilous Realm', 'The Silmarillion', 'Lost tales of Middle Earth'. Tolkien's world was exploding in my head like a brilliant fiery sun. I finally was satiated to a good extent by Peter Jackson's epic (I use a poor word here) work. I would laugh at every movie and I cried for these. Subbu still recollects the day I walked into class after watching The Return Of The King in a maniacal stupor. I was way beyond 'in love'... It was not the cinematography or the effects and graphics or the stunts that were the achievement. It was Jackson's ability to understand Tolkien's world and also the minds of the purists that made him produce a heavenly vision of the trials of the second and third age.

Jackson had shown Tolkien's mind and its elements -

It was the sadness of the end of the third age and the final establishment of mortality in middle earth, yet the joy of the end of darkness; the fear of the ever consuming evil, yet the courage of the weak who stood against it; the sorrows of the evils that had eroded and scarred the past, yet the inspiring memories of alliances and courage and songs and purity of heart and spirit; of planning, hard battle, strategy and survival, yet of innocence and simple needs and humor. There were tales of malice and hatred and yet of a friendship and a love that survived it.

I still quiver and tremble when I hear lines from Tolkien's works and verses from his songs. Tolkien's narration, to me, has become the voice of Eru. I have felt god many times over...

NamaarieAa' menle nauva calen ar' ta hwesta e' ale'quenleLissenen ar' maska'lalaith tenna' lye omentuva!


May your paths be green and the breeze on your backSweet water and light laughter till next we meet!)