prose

Prose – Sanjana Kumari

Imagining Digital India in City

Essay

Abstract

The city is evolving every day. It is as new to the digital revolution as the revolution itself. Nevertheless, what used to be mere imagination in olden days has become the reality that creates the cushion for imaginations for the next step of evolution. The beauty of the city lies in its ability to manage both imagination and reality. It has adjusted itself to the ever-changing nuances of the digital realm. The massive organism that the city is, it makes it intriguing to observe the minute details of the digital revolution breathing inside its system. This paper is an effort to decode the processes that are operating in the city as a part of the digital realm and also making conspicuous changes to the cityscape and its working.

Key Words/Terms: City, Cityscape, digital revolution, digital realm, imagination, reality

 

  1. The Raw City

Urban Spaces have been the new cradles of economic growth and cultural intermixing for a considerably long time now. The cities across the globe have evolved through a variety of stages, although not necessarily the same ones. The first cities represented settlement units of hitherto unprecedented size (Childe, 1950). This, however, does not imply that they stood anywhere in comparison to the twenty first century cities in terms of population as well as complexity of processes at work.

The simultaneous processes of urbanisation, globalisation and industrialisation have reinvented the idea of a city in the contemporary times. However, it is widely understood that even though there has been a change in the character of the city, its raw nature remains the same. Cities are regarded as the powerhouses of economic growth, a melting pot for various cultures, the hubs of innovation and imagination, the carriers of a million dreams, and the leaders of the global settlements. Gordon Childe in The Urban Revolution pointed out ten characteristics that he deemed to be integral to almost all cities of the world. His paper included population, diversification of economic activities, standardisation of weights and measures, presence of infrastructure, trade and commerce as some of the ten characteristics. The contemporary city, however has grown beyond these basic ideas. However, it would be safe to assume that a huge number of the cities as they appear today do have the building blocks based on the ten characteristics referred to earlier.

  1. The Intercultural City

The city has become increasingly intercultural in nature owing to the fast paced churning of ideas and the availability of right tools to turn them into reality. The city in the contemporary world is a portal into ‘realised imaginations’. Everyday hundreds of thousands of people enter the city to make something out of themselves, to prove themselves and to create an association with the idea of the city. The city has come to be associated with success, growth, positivity, and opportunities, all of which are the attention-seekers for those deprived of them. It is also made apparent that the city hardly disallows entities to become a part of it. The intercultural city that lives with diversity is different from places that channel people into one worldview (Wood & Landry, 2008).

However, the image of the city as talked about above has also been emphatically pronounced due to a bigger reason. The advent of digital technology has secured a sure shot place in the life of the city. It can also be said that the intercultural city became so because of the digital revolution.

  1. Imagination in the City: The Digital Way

As said earlier, the city has long been the hotbed of imagination and hope. Imagination, however, has made a great deal of changes in the way the city functions and views the future. The digital technology has changed the face of the city. It has affected its daily life and also the way it carries itself. Over the last few years, we have seen a huge variety of familiar objects and surfaces – from televisions to bus shelters – transform into networked sensors that gather, process, store and display information (Anderson, 2012).

From dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn the city makes its way through the mesh of digital technologies to make life easier for its inhabitants. There is an alarm on the smartphone to wake it up, milk delivered to the doorsteps through a digitally placed order, cab aggregator service to book a cab in a few moments, navigation to help it steer through the large network of roads and lanes, real time traffic information to keep it punctual, online music to listen to on a smartphone while travelling, social networks like Facebook and twitter to post about how the start of the day has been wonderful, pictures to take from a camera installed on the smartphone and so on. The city deals with its finances sitting on a laptop. The digital revolution has set in motion forces that have so much to do with bridging of distances, simplification of problems, and reduction in troubles.

Browsing one minute, searching the next, we move seamlessly from private to shared information environments, offering insight into packages of urban experience (Anderson, 2012). In order to understand the level of impact, one needs to consider an errand as small as ironing of clothes. With the digital prowess, it is perfectly possible to “get the inside track on where to get shirts ironed fast and cheaply” (Anderson, 2012). The growing dependence on digital media can be seen in the growth patterns of the city too. The coming decades are being called the decades of the ‘digital city’. There are townships being established that are integrated internally through networks of information which is available for all their residents to use. The hi-tech planned cities coming up across the globe are looking towards digital media to try and create a perfect example of place branding and city imaging. The concepts are not as new as the context. It is in context of the digital world growing together with the urban world that these concepts have broken their boundaries.

The city’s daily life is being constructed everyday with the help of the digital revolution. The kind of fairs it will attend, the concerts that are going to be a hit, the street food festivals consisting of cuisines from unknown lands are all the examples of the dynamic characters of the city. The fact that the city entertains this amount of information and action made available to it by the digital technologies is in itself enough to understand their impact on its daily life.

The question of inclusiveness is the next when it comes to creating a future of imagination for the city. Is the imagination class-sensitive? Does it take into account the gender gap which still exists in the city? Does the digital advancement decrease the stereotyping the city tolerates every day by the means of its constituents?

It will be difficult to assume that digital technology has brought about a massive change in the inclusiveness in the city. However, it is visible that the diversity of the city has been regarded much more because of digital technology on one hand and discarded on the other. The latter is so because of the exclusion of many of the city’s constituents in understanding the ‘digital’ side of the city. The digital itself is being made into an exclusive object for the use of a handful of people. If this is not looked into, the exclusiveness will increase thereby defeating the purpose of intermixing of cultures and people in the city.

The imagination of mankind is brought to match with the reality in the city. The reality, in turn, creates a platform for more imagination to crop up and help the city rediscover itself. Imagine an arrow that appears on the pavement or on your sunglasses to tell you which way to go, or even a docking station that unfolds as you approach to lock up your bike (Anderson, 2012). The cities are brimming with quests and explorations for the future. This is why this paper has been titled From Imagination to Reality to Imagination, because the cycle goes on and helps the city establish new landmarks.

From reality to imagination goes the path to the city’s conversation with digital technology. The speed with which the city has been accepting the conversion to the digital media is unprecedented. It is an indispensable part of the social as well as the economic fabric of the city today. The digital realm has brought the city together like never before. In creating realities out of imaginations, the city has done itself a tremendous service.

  1. Conclusions

The digital makeover of cities across the globe has resulted in a lasting impact on the daily life of the city. From running basic errands to getting factories set up, the tasks have been getting easier and the system more efficient. Not just this, the advent of social media has made the city more accessible and informative. Where there was nothing some years ago, the city finds information on its own history and geography today. From struggling to pay bills to booking travel plans on the internet, the city sure has come a long way in organising its everyday life.

References

  1. Digital media and urban spaces by Barbara Anderson on RSA, 2012 – https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-comment/2012/05/digital-media-and-urban-spaces
  2. The Intercultural City, by Phil Wood and Charles Landry, 2008 (Book)
  3. The Urban Revolution, by Gordon Childe, 1950 (Journal Article) – http://www.jstor.org/stable/40102108

Sanjana Kumari is a reader of Geography and writes from Delhi, India.

Save

 

Advertisements
prose

Prose – Swati Sarangi

The Day Off: College, Hostel, Observation and a Dream

 

Non-Fiction Diary

 

Observation is a unique act of looking at Nature’s creation. Our surrounding is stuffed with a variety of things. Sometimes few things present in our surrounding amaze us. We get awestruck by the fact of their presence, creation, look etc. No matter how simple or ordinary those things may appear, they are the powerhouses of uniqueness in the sense that nothing can replace another thing in any way. The same thought can be applied to each human being as one individual should not be compared with others which can lead to the destruction of mental peace. From observation comes motivation. Motivation is the driving factor behind any task.

Morning hour motivation comes to me through observing the components of nature. Nature has got vivid imageries and when you start to spend time with nature, you’ll certainly get mesmerized by the way things have been put in their places. Their places are too perfect in a broad sense. Likewise, we all have been assigned with a certain task to complete in our lives which we regard as the call of destiny and the set of challenges that obstruct our paths have been put according to our ability to overcome them.

It feels great in the act of chasing those white doves with the stealth footsteps, which seem to have descended down from heaven to quench their parched throats from a limited reservoir leaked from the water tank over the terrace. Now I realize why those birds have been tagged as the symbol of peace and serenity. It’s even their slight glimpse that brings peace. They are the vehicles of the air; flying high to touch the limitless sky. Then a flock of birds in the sky draws my attention. On close observation, that flock seems to have led by a bird-might be more experienced in comparison to the other in the group. There are several patterns that they create while traversing that azure land.

My day starts with taking a walk over the terrace. What can be a better idea to observe things in the vicinity of a higher place other than terrace? The terrace has always been among my favorite spots at the hostel to hang out with myself. I get to witness a hell lot amount of things from a different perspective which compels me to dress those experiences into words. Adding to this divine view is the prevalence peace and serenity! I observed something today which is worth mentioning. As I looked down from one side of the terrace, I found that a barren piece of land lying adjacent to the periphery of my hostel’s boundary had got beautifully transformed into a cultivated land, producing crops and cereals. The meticulous division of the land for the purpose of growing different crops looked no different from the political maps representing demarcations of different regions in geography books. The putting up of scarecrows (artificial human beings) dressed up in today’s fashionable attire (for protection of the crop from birds and animals) added an extra delight to the sight. I recalled those days I visited my village a few years back and such scenes were quite less in number, even though the frequency had reduced to a great extent due to the effect of urbanization and modernization. The architects of that field lived happily near it in a temporary settlement reminding me of another one which was once existent in another side of the hostel.

I reflected for a moment that whatever I was witnessing then, was the result of the relentless toil of those people. They took every care to convert a barren land into a productive one. I could relate that land to our minds and the crops to the countless thoughts which are required to be cultivated with utmost caution. Our thoughts make us who we are. In fact, we are the portraits of our own thoughts. All our emotions like pain, suffering, joy, sorrow are deeply connected with our thinking process. That’s why someone has very well remarked that “We suffer more in our thoughts than in reality”. We become happy or sad because we revise the thoughts of our past. Thoughts keep on creating utopian environments continuously in our minds. They have enormous power to transform us into anything.

You never can tell what a thought will do
In bringing you hate or love-
For thoughts are things and their airy wings
Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe-
Each thing creates its kind,
And they speed O’er the track to bring you back
Whatever went out of your mind.
-Anonymous

Looking at the importance of thoughts, I remembered Napolean Hill had once advised everyone to devote some time for analyzing one’s own thought pattern because of our mental processes each destructive thought the same way as in case of a constructive one. Both problems and solutions are present in our mind according to a saying there are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge. Quoting the author’s statement from the novel ‘Think and grow rich’, “We are what we are because of the vibrations of the thought we pick up and register, through the stimuli of our daily environment.

“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you are lost,
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with fellow’s will-
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battle don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man
But soon or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.”

Taking care of your thoughts is as important as taking care of your body. Amidst these train of thoughts, I forget that the day has started to lose its brightness gradually.

Being a daydreamer, the terrace provides me enough elements to dream about. My restless mind would run in all directions just like my vision. The vision of mine which used to get confined within the four walls of the room has now been liberated, extending its reach to infinity, boundless possibilities. My mind picks up the subject of dream whenever my eyes get transfixed at any point. Then I would start to weave dreams about it and these hypothetical connections to the things present in my vicinity would break all differences between reality and imagination already existing inside my mind. I get amazed by the inflow of powerful thoughts and start to pen them down. Countless articles have got their birth from here only. Sometimes, I’m with academic study material other times I’m with a non-academic book. When there are no friends with me to accompany, those little birds start to play around me and I somehow start to enjoy their friendship. That’s when I realized friendship is not just an emotion bound to human beings, it’s something which can get developed as an intrinsic interest in non-living things. The surrounding is so lively that I get instant motivation from it. The courses which always appeared burden to me melt down into their easy form. I don’t know how. Is that the magnetic effect of the place?

The sunset view is breathtaking. The fierce hot burning yellow colored cosmic body, Sun turns orange, pink then gets absorbed amidst the vast stretch of clouds. The clouds, fundamentally, the agglomeration of numerous tiny water droplets, bear the shades of a color pallet at different instances. On closely observing, I find a resemblance of those yellow and peach colored clouds with those of the cream over an ice cream cone. The sky radiates the colors of a painter’s brush or I’m watching a creation of the greatest painter, the almighty, I just can’t differentiate. The commotion on the other side of the boundary of the hostel drags me close to the boundary of the terrace. When my steps take me there to have a glance, I find a bunch of toddlers playing with clay- in the lap of nature. Neither the darkness of the surrounding nor the responsibilities of the life scare them off. They are like free birds flying carelessly with the passage of time. The cold blowing breeze makes me light and I let myself get blown with watching the activities of those notorious kids. It makes me realized how quickly my childhood days have passed and the days of adulthood that I imagined as a child are not that amusing. The floating of cotton with the breeze in the atmosphere creates the scene picturesque. It seems as if there is a unique combination of summer and winter as the spread of cotton in ground resembles snow.

The darkness of the sky is now accompanied by a silver-colored celestial body shining prominently with other numerous tiny stars. On observing the moon closely, I find many unidentified scars over it which reminds me of a tale that my grandma used to narrate in my childhood days. The gist is- Once a hare visited the moon and it got lost there. That’s why the shape of that lost hare is still visible. There was no congruency of that tale with the reality but we as children were fascinated by it. As the night grows thick, the flickering radiance from the other side of the river resembles little candles spreading the light amidst the ever-growing darkness. A thick layer of grey colored fume ejected out from the chimneys of the industries diffuse in the tar-colored background in the backdrop of many colored lights of the structures turning on and off synchronously. Now, the tall structure of the transmission tower stands still in front of my eyes. I recognize it to be off suspension type with few discs hanging down. I wonder how it is different from the famous Eiffel tower! I mean, that ordinary tower can be analogous to the famous Eiffel tower. The road, on the other side of the view, seems to be invisible except the tiny moving vehicles. Their positions can be traced by the light emanating from them which looks like a video game being played in front of me and yes I’m the spectator and the player is omniscient, omnipotent and invisible, needless to say, that the world is the big screen of the video game, visualize the hugeness of this screen for once! My vision can chase few moving lights performing rectilinear motion and then disappear. Sometimes, it seems as if a competition is going on when a vehicle overtakes another. Everything seems magical and the air takes me to a completely different realm of imagination.

I’ve not been able to resist myself from spending my evening time over the terrace, gazing that distant view of mountains and river at my favorite spot over the terrace and simultaneously appreciating the splendor of each component that I visualize and perceive. The scene is breathtakingly beautiful as it reminds me of the paintings drawn in the fantasy story books of childhood days that my father purchased. As a child, my innocent mind would always question whether such places really existed or will it be ever possible for me to witness this sight in my lifetime. After so many years, I now have the answers to all those unanswered questions that once used to get built up inside my mind. It’s perhaps this place, the place where I’m right now present. The small lighted houses at the opposite bank of the river seem to be no different from the demonstration of any mysterious fairyland as if those have been constructed with the help of small and delicate matchsticks – a unique masterpiece!! Simply wonderful and amazing!! The glow of faint light resembles the ray of light emanating from burning candles spreading the light as far as possible and destroying the darkness. The red colored flag at the apex of the Lord Shiva’s temple shines in the dark background of the sky jeweled with tiny sparkling stars. And, now the atmospheric air transports the sound of evening prayer to my ears- so divine and peaceful, and few lines of songs of childhood days running inside my mind-

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all…
The Lord God made them all (Chorus).

Everything around us has got so much to give. It seems as if the inanimate things want to convey us a message of eternity and peace. What is required is to lend an ear to their unspoken or a keen observation.

 

 

Swati Sarangi is currently pursuing Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering. She completed B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology, Sarang, Odisha. She writes on two blogs along with her sister Sweta, Creative Constellation and Words To World on different blogging platforms. Her poems have been published in The Stage, The Seasons, Bibliograph, Agnishatdal and Writer’s Ezine.

.

Save

poetry

Verse – Reshma Ruia

1. An Old Man’s Mouth
Reshma Ruia

Today you kissed me with an old man’s mouth
Dry lips puckered against my cheek
The grey stubble of your chin bruising mine
Your hand fumbled and felt beneath the bedsheet
As you heaved your body over mine
Pinning me down
Arms spread-eagled and crucified
I lay absolutely still
I felt my insides shutting down
The breast. The liver. The heart. The feather-thin bone
Sighing to a pause
Your rasping breath turned fevered and hot
While I quietly slipped away

2. Mother’s Love I & II
Reshma Ruia

I
It is at night I hear you
A single cell you grow noisily
Now a limb. An eye. A throat
Just don’t ask me to feel love
For you as yet
To shut my eyes and breathe your name loud
It’s too early to feel tender towards
This accident of cells
Multiplying within
There are no grudges against you
As yet
Just this need persists
To make you understand
This body and mind
Dozing clumsy through the hours
Does not mean there won’t be far-off battles
Still waiting to be won
Urgent footsteps shouting to run
This blood will still growl
Though now it whimpers low
You won’t fell me down
With your heart or your blows

II
Suddenly the hours. The vacant hours come rushing in
The children all grown up and gone
Busy feathering their own nests
The husband hiding somewhere out of reach
Tripping over shadows that he conceals
She looks at her hands
Lying in her lap
And can’t quite understand
How and why a life crammed so full of loving and living
Became so stripped of meaning
Like an empty milk bottle
Left out on the doorstep

3. Love in the East
Reshma Ruia

To Bangkok and Pattaya
The old men come
In neon-lit cocktail bars with come-hither pouts
Their Hawaiian shirt-a blaring klaxon
They barter their varicose-veins and wheezing voices
For caresses and promising smiles
I saw one of their tribe
Bending expectant over his gin and lime
Bright-splashed shorts holding afloat
Sunburnt tyres of flesh
A hero he was
Fleeing pin-striped suits
Fast food counters and the odour of the rush hour tubes
His kids grown up and gone, his wife addicted to Corrie
And she…dark-eyed and easy grace
No less a heroine
A heroine fleeing the bare-foot walk to the well
The grudging kick of boiled rice in belly
The dripping palm-leafed roof
Leaning pensive against pictures of Hollywood hunks
She dreams of young firm men with blond haired arms
They come together the hero and the heroine
Pantomiming the motions of love
Biting their feet is the sea
With its blue wrinkled mouth
There are yellow flowers in her hair, seashells on her throat
The taste of his stale beer dances inside her mouth
He pries open her legs and keeping time
Together they abuse
The Christ who refused to resurrect
The Buddha who failed to reincarnate
Inside the hunger of their embrace

Reshma Ruia is a writer based in England. She has written two novels, ‘Something Black in the Lentil Soup,’ and ‘A Mouthful of Silence.’ Her poetry and short stories have appeared in international journals and anthologies and also commissioned for BBC Radio4. She is also a co-founder of The Whole Kahani, a collective of British writers of South Asian origin.Save

Save

Save

Save

poetry

Verse – Line Toftsø

1. The Colour of Self
Line Toftsø

I am.
a sound in your body
the exhale before
the inhale
unconsciously convincing
the unstable nucleus
a biological necessity,
one body made

I am.
in every layer
except resistance
the metal pen I’m holding
is processed like a rasp
I am silence too
foil a tunnel thousands of objects
passing through a body
that I used to see as mine,
the parts of me already found.

2. The Nights of Longing
Line Toftsø

The thing is I want to reach you
and then a night is nothing
moons are lipless, silenced and
to examine my body as if
it was even here
it seems real to me
I am the impossible
in you: me.

Line Toftsø is a Danish published writer and artist. She lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. Find her at toftsoe.dk and on Twitter at @linetofts.Save

Save

Save

Save

poetry

Verse – Jake Sheff

1. Between the Timothy and Heather: A Pregnant Sonnet feat. Offspring
Jake Sheff

“…When they couple with one another and the male is in the act of generation, as he lets go from him the seed, the female seizes hold of his neck, and fastening on to it does not relax her hold till she has eaten it through. The male then dies in the manner which I have said, but the female pays the penalty of retribution for the male in this manner: the young while they are still in the womb take vengeance for their father by eating through their mother, and having eaten through her belly they thus make their way out for themselves.” (Herodotus, “The Histories”; on the winged serpents of Arabia)

To penetrate the penitence of light
Was never good enough; a viper winged
In mooing rain the Tet Offensive zinged *
By hangers-on like Tetris gripes: “This flight
To make the same mistake as Otho; right
As blushing beds to bluish brides I’m pinged.
It says, ‘I am that iamb’; oath so ringed *
With snow, temptation called him Friday night
To flee herself. Kenosis doesn’t give
An F; denial’s like a lion’s den
Or planet’s earwax fossilized to hive
Beneath Kenosha’s final sigh. To live
Is no step-sister to ‘fa shizzle’; ten
Years sepsis-free and dry or gauze and five.”

* Tinged begat Zinged; and Fringed begat Ringed…

2. Pinworms for Mount Fuji’s Daughter
Jake Sheff

Rich Man:

My DNA has decorated bones
with guilt that’s not my own. I’m poor! My sorrow’s
a deep, protected well; Kilimanjaro’s
got nothing on it. Vitamin B1
is low between the sheets without her. Nine
-to-five, I loved her like nine-irons, kine
and bon mots purchased with three-sided coins.

Let vultures carry on about her eyes
ejaculating goodness. Norovirus,
go spread her baklava – notorious,
like all fine painting – on the shepherd’s pies
and clouds; high visibility locations.
Let MiGs send all her unicorns and patience
below the branded gentry; let them eat degrees!

Poor Man:

This neti pot and carpool lane for pain
that would brûlée a man’s third testicle;
I’m rich! I’ll mint her loss. Divest your treacle
in hydrochloric piggybanks. Her nape –
where Boethius would piggyback ideas
he wished to keep – its semibreve I ID’d
quickly; its yellow scent that turned me hairpin.

Decentralize the tulips north of Delft
and let them roost above her; let their beaks
eat worms that root for her to rot. Let Keebler –
with her brand loyalty – phase out the elf
whose cookie doesn’t crumble. Let tycoons
rebuild her, summarize for booms in coonskin
caps typhoons; shine her rising face on mini-golf!

3. The Castled Mountain’s Maidenhood
Jake Sheff

jake-sheff-castled-mountain's-maidenhood.png

 

4. Chimpanzee in Love
Jake Sheff

The jungle moves atop the earth like pride,
Erratic children chained to charity
Desire is a building, humility
In waves within forever’s form of greed
The sea with its obligatory lust
It doesn’t even stop and smell the chastity
In a cold embrace, a sandy wrath

Or sunny sensuality like kindness
In this fifth season of abstract and patient
Rain, there is a truth on the horizon, envy
Setting like horizontal people, temperance
On the wing to issue bloody diligence
Where roads are not, and not for gluttony
But time is wisdom out of love with sloth

Jake Sheff is a major and pediatrician in the US Air Force, married with a daughter and three pets. Jake’s poems are in Radius, The Ekphrastic Review, The Brooklyn Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. He won 1st place in the 2017 SFPA speculative poetry contest. His chapbook is “Looting Versailles” (Alabaster Leaves Publishing).Save

Save

Save

Save

editorial

Editorial – Pawan N Hira

Rebirth Of Author : Interpretation, Education, and Cultural Narrativity

Non Fiction Essay

 

Editorial Blur – The Uncertain Collection of The Quiet Letter

What is an author? The author is foremost the only artist who has to live through words and words are so connoted and relativized according to an environment that an author has to know more to become less. On a panoramic level, if there were no artists, no human progress would have taken place because artists of all kinds move life itself through darkest days and they have always been the primary site of imagination offering themselves to the lens of scientific curiosity but our focus is on author as a host of weaving culture of words over centuries crossing many disciplines as the sole sailor moving somewhere, here or there.

“That author broke in tears
When a second before the author was in smiles

The author understood the meaning of Sentence
When a second before the author understood freedom”

The author is a self sentenced person who has buried himself or herself over a heap of lines and paragraphs which interconnect now and then to provide a new gap to look through their own doings as a person who has come to terms with the life of an author to be experienced. The author writes because he or she has found his or her cell where words are his or her food to find some money after all. The author before becoming an author knows not the journey of a sentence he or she is courting while exploring depth and breadth of different seas like worlds of words from novels, poems, criticism gulping them whole while at the end is famished and hungry to have a bit of fragment in a sentence.

The author meets the sentence and forgets it quickly in jest then waits after which he or she wonders on and on. If he or she ponders on and on, he or she becomes a philosopher and if he or she wonders on and on then a novelist and a critic and if he or she does both the things equally then he or she becomes a poet lost in his or her own music. The author can be the three or four of them like a classical site where oral and memory narratives heave upon his or her breast to sift through them and glue them with the contemporary lens of what is lacking in the public discourse of imagination. The author thus becomes clinical and temporal with no form in particular except to travel through all of them like time or wind, moving in and out from it. The form of criticism that is essay is the locus for an author to continually put things in perspective when the other side wanders away in creative forms and imaginary landscapes and altogether in criticism as well as creative work, one thing plays an important role and that is the arrival of a sentence.

The arrival of a sentence for an author in the writing process is a beautiful thing which has an immense value: to expand on its own as if the words in that particular sentence had brought with them a whole history of several periods of observation. The sentence comes from a long silence and both are attracted to each other to invade each other through a play of words in love.

That arrival of a sentence in their work is the predicament of an author who is exhausted finally after sailing across many seas through other words because he or she could not sail in reality and that sentence in their work gives him or her an immense laughter, a sense of belonging in a thread loom of humanity to weave something that can become another great sail so that another one can arrive from here or there to know the meaning of what a sentence is. It is brightly suggestive that the sentence in their work is the mirror reflection of what an author is—a creature of solitude and company, a sign of contradiction, a sentence in a sentence.

The long sentence for an author through sentences is, however, not self imposed in a direct manner. The author in the beginning of his or her career is unaware of the dive through words which are akin to woods and each word laps in lush light when the author starts the day in the early morning when birds are yet to open up their vocals in a dim faint light of night passing by in its last hour and it is then the sentence in a work reflects what the author is.

The sentence for an author though is a long exile to escape the selves from one text to a work, one form to another in a constant slowness to realize that the sentence may end some day while deep down this sentiment of being sentenced by one’s own doing places author as the only artist who has speech in a sentence tied with words as a long bridge and which makes the author as the only artist who is the mirror image of silence. Not only that but also the author as the top worker in the chain of humanity where his and her flights and fancy allow a chance to rethread real broken narratives of many lives which are evoked through characters by taking them in from the real ground of society and adding a splash of colour through words to play in the woods long before a dawn happens and long before the machinery of human work and chores start. The author is a foundational brick carrying history of ideas and travelling through them he or she arrives to meet his or her own act as an observer.

The author is the sentence and the player of his or her own act pulling strings anew to make a work of art through text. The author lives through many of his or her sentences which starts always with a single sentence arriving like a core from where fragments of other words attract to it like bees towards a beehive ready to churn out a nectar in the form of a text. It is with that single sentence when found after intense play of theatrics in a lonely playground does the author know the worth of his or her long sentence to be lived through a life to push out sentences wrapped in all kinds of design which are not always of nectar but a broad picture of everything that is good and bad equally.

The author is the room itself where silence is known and unlike a person in a cell has his or her meals and pleasure in minutest and most childish moments which allow a flight across the seas once again from where he or she had arrived and stayed like a drowned case forever in the bosom of the sea. The author is the worst sailor then but the only sailor who has been able to provide sense of the moon and the sun and the stars aligned with many a fabrications of this or that tales to live by and interweave myths and magic to let the author in sentence survive. All this is for the soul and in case someone arrives as a reader then the author will drown him or her too in care and kindness to make him or her understand what it means to be alive and yet feel dead as an author of sentences after sentences in a sentence forgotten now but evoked by the author long ago when not sure of what life was there to see.

The author when in intense struggle with a text can see two sides of it knowing how it is seen from an omniscient lens and perhaps many a writer who live through it know how a text can weigh their conscience. A tiny fragment, a paragraph of interpretation which would add another layer to the already mystified understanding of a given matter that is at most the most serious one related to one’s history, culture, and society. The author here then becomes the poet to silence many a sentences and paragraphs which are not ambivalent and open to interpretation as he or she likes to have it but then he or she chooses to neglect them and at times also chews them back like a cow still with a distant sight on a busy road with a jaw working on and on for something that is hurting to the core.

The author lets them die with himself or herself and allows no seed of such a thing that had weighed his or her conscience in a bitter mark of being alive as a person in a long sentence. The author puts them into the basement of the deep sea of words or the intricate paths of the woods from where he or she picks up the drive to write and thus the author escapes many such one sided interpretations of texts of certain nature that arrive with coldness and objectivity in the foreground but are texts which have a notion of violence recorded in them in innocence and thus the author becomes the poet to not leave the text outside in the world which could trivialize the meaning of it into a cauldron of boiling temparements of many sides into one fight over a text and yet the author unbeknownst to himself while in a heap of transitional sentences in the long period of a single sentence, throws out many other texts outside which to him and her are nothing of certain nature but of weakness and the author so then becomes the person who eats his and her own tail or tongue and like a person with no guilt, the author commits the original sin of whatever kind that is through such weak texts because of that one long sentence in which he or she has to live through his or her life and which was given to him or her with no fault of himself or herself.

Ages ago, the ability to write a sentence after sentence arrived when the author fought the primary author within who liked to have no play with words because of the human narrative already broken apart by The Book, the sole book of one’s culture. The author since long ago is inevitably the mid-wife to birth a discipline in a field of knowledge system and the last critical rise of author equally came around with a host of many signs to counter post world-war II with the birthing of many disciplines in humanities, social sciences, and sciences. It was a liberating act of procreation which found its germ in postmodernism and was lost equally in several branches of discourses. It was the greatest period of initialising a practice of including several narratives with differing point of views and led to birth of many authors in continuity. Yet it has been berated because of its looseness in our contemporary period where causes have diverted from their core to a series of chaotic expressions. This age however shows the onset of impulsive era of short-spanned generation of people who can be the emblem for narrativizing our contemporary period post technological renaissance with a classical finesse to touch on matters hitherto always seen struggling in a vain tussle between academic writing and creative writing. The rise of author thus is the rise of discipline of education to break out of the nihilist sense of being alive in this world and deliver the promise of literacy to the next generation. However, the author was never supposed to be so.

The author in the beginning time primarily in his or her mind liked his or her text to have no other interpretation but a sole interpretation akin to The Book but the author came beyond the illusion of it and indeed there was a pang in his or her heart for a long sentence to live through as an author. It is so then to derive the reward to write sentence after sentence as a right, the author kept punishing himself or herself for being a sailor of words which were made in the mid-air and so to chart a different course the author centuries ago started to leave a thread of open texts which helped to look into the mirror of our society where a heap of interpretations could open up from all the sides of a text by all kinds of people as it was read and explored and filled with new meanings and words which is what the author then liked the readers to do while knowing the author within himself or herself carried a double-edged sword and so to keep them busy in opening the threads of a text to have many interpretations while finally helping them in kindness to come on the shore and play the ball of a text with questions and not lie in amusement or in waiting for a dictatorial text up from above the sky as if coming out of a book falling from there.

The author then has the right to chuckle because of this one long sentence to live through the life where grief is potent and because of the contradictions to have to live with a sense of weight and childishness which arrives when measuring a text for its potential harm or goodness and through which the author always fails (and liberates) to choose the wrong one which is the right one while the right one which has no room for interpretation like a dictatorial sentence or a paragraph in a text is further damned into the basement of a sea to never allow it to rise again and this humoruous stance of the serious author is a reflection of what a mirror is to a society. The author moves past the existential struggle of being a human with the wrong text.

The author thus like a scientist kills many right texts which have an energy so charged up and so right, for the author when he or she writes them knows that because of his or her long sentence that they are the most heartless ones carrying within their phrases and sentences a whole gamut of emptiness depicting blackness devoid of any light except the light of the author as an omniscient narrator of everything which is always a false light made in illusion as the authors since centuries have known how books came in our world through an earliest author who became humble to open a path for many books othwerwise primarily all were hitherto glued to The Book in respect of their cultural narrative to fall back and push each other against each other in the name of one’s religion and culture. The author hence chooses colour to prescribe something beyond the blackness inherent in such one book narrative of their respective cultures and allows a relative production of many a truths to ensemble together in their own fragile light with their own weak text like his and her which has colours but no strength or spine of one book that makes people fight. The author is thus a lover of one’s bosom and in a single line it penetrates deeper into the archival mysteries of our mind.

The author thus kills many right texts in which a reader might not find the illusion of the world of words because such texts are so literal and direct that no room for a metaphor humour is ever present and with a sharp sense of judging it on his or her own the author makes such texts die to open the garden in light and love even if there is a disorder in a wrong text because a wrong text mirrors the most real of our society which is broken hilariously in divisions while also showing the blood and violence in divisions of all kinds that is shared by humans altogether. The wrong text is a wandering body of a paragraph stomach built on a heap of sentences which further dance weakly on metaphors and symbols like a burning matchstick and which can open up a trajectory of hundreds of synonyms for a single word in a single sentence and so then to arrive at the door of such a wrong text, the author in his or her long sentence has had to punish himself or herself with the killing and erasure of the right text which adds no value at all to the imagination of humanity.

Pawan Nooroo Hira (@RamtiloPNH) is a poet, novelist and an editor-founder at The Quiet Letter. The Essay is a part of The Quiet Letter – Editorial Blur where blurred is the line here and there. It takes its new model from a previous discourse archive which has now been cancelled at The Quiet Letter.

Save

prose

Prose – Rahul Gupta

Dialogue, A Two Faced Question: Good or Bad.

Non Fiction Article

[The Chronicle of one bad-ass weekend: When I woke up I was asked a simple but convoluted question at once, “Which side of the world am I on – the good or the bad ?” a rather strange awakening. But wait, are you also perplexed like I was? Well, don’t be. Calm your nerves, breathe and give it a thought. Just as I did.]

Weekend – an escape from a moribund working life, a tablet to curb pangs of the routine tasks and chaotic meetings. For me, it’s a ‘breakout.’

On any weekend, I would wake up and start knitting plans for making most out of it. But this weekend, surprisingly, I woke up and beside me, rose one question – rolling into my blood and striking into my conscience, “Which side of the world am I on – the good or the bad?.”

“What? Seriously, out of all the random thoughts, why would I pick pace to this one!” With no clue – completely perplexed – I started discovering the answer, and unexpectedly got into an exhausting conversation with my inner self. I asked myself, “What do you mean? Why this question?”

It smirked and asked, “Dude, you ever thought if you are a good apple or a bad one? I replied, “No, I never thought about it.” It laughed and said, “Okay, think about it for sometime.”

I was relieved that I had successfully escaped the conversation, but this kept pinching me throughout. It would come back and knock hard to get an answer out of me. I knew I had to unearth the answer to this convoluted question and so, my mind started constructing a classifier and excavating the deeds from my past to feed it – deeds which were bad or good. I was not even sure of the parameters, I should have built my classifier on. All I wanted was a formula or some kind of an equation in which I could substitute variables with the pasts’ good and bad acts. After investing considerable time in reasoning, I managed to narrow down to few parameters. So, according to the rules which have been clawing me ever since I was born, lying, cheating, abusing, killing, harassing, torturing marked offensive while helping, obeying, respecting others, being religious were well appreciated.

No kidding, if I go by these rules then I believe I fall into none. I am neither good nor bad. Well, not that just leaves us more clueless! I can’t forget this incident that happened to me a few days back at a traffic signal; a fragile weak woman with her kids was begging. Seeing her pitiful condition and her malnourished kids, I walked up to her and offered food. But to my surprise, she refused to take it, rather started asking for money. I said ‘No’ because it was against my principles; I will offer food, clothes, shelter, but not money to a beggar. Now, what I did was right for me but for others, it might be wrong.

I could have offered money which I had spent in buying food but I didn’t. Morally, I should have helped her but I didn’t. Does that make me a bad person? My parents never approved of alcohol. They never consumed any and expected none of their kids to touch it, too. But, I drink, occasionally, with colleagues or friends on outings. I never told them about it, I don’t want to. I know, if I ever tell them then they will be hurt and feel deceived. To forgive me, they might ask to leave it which, I can’t promise for now. So, I have been lying to them ever since I started boozing to keep both parties happy.

Now, again I face this dilemma – I feel both guilty because I’m lying to my parents and innocent because I’m doing what I want, or like, or desire to do all the while ready to face the repercussion of the choices that I’m making. Those indelible impressions of bullying will never fade away with time from my mind. I remember vividly, how I used to obey my teachers, and always listen to them. In return, my teachers would appreciate me but my batch-mates would despise me and pass ill comments like fawner, bootlicker. I never understood why it was this way? I was only obeying my elders, the why did I face all this hatred? Here, even after doing good, I was loathed. What’s right, what is wrong – It’s hard to tell when we don’t have a defined denomination.

What’s ethical, what is unethical – It’s hard to say when everybody is perspicacious in his own way. This world is a convoluted place; it has theories postulated by different people, set of facts and beliefs which some follow and some don’t, rules which would make one smile and another cry. Both plants and animals have a life but eating leaves are fine while devouring over flesh is still frowned upon by many. This whole setup is a vicious circle with no way out. I feel the suffocation felt by the many others. I feel like I’m standing at a hold, when others liberate.

“Wait. Hold on. This wasn’t exactly how the ‘dialogue with self’ started. I guess, I’ll hold it for some other time or rather put it all behind me because, I don’t have the answer to a perplexed two-faced question and I guess I will never have one.”

Rahul Gupta is an aspiring writer, while also a volunteer as a content creator and editor for CRY and currently pursuing Computer Science, USC, California.

Save