On the strangeness of weirdness

“That new girl seemed quite pleasant from afar,
But dude, she spends Friday nights at home reading,
That’s just so bizarre!”

“All the fashion sense in the world seems to have vanished,
Neon tops on faded ripped denims?
Now that’s just positively outlandish!”

“The entire world’s approach to partying is flawed,
Jumping up and down in smoky stuffy room?
That’s not fun, that’s simply odd!”

“Oh! The things that I hear,
They keep snails as pets instead of dogs!
Their culture is just queer!”

“Never have I met people so frivolous,
They pay for other people to entertain them,
Do you believe a thing so ridiculous!

“Of the Holy GIOSGOOP they don’t know a word,
These Earthling species we’ve discovered?
I’m telling you, they’re absurd!”

“They just sit all eternity in the nucleus, resting,
We electrons shift energy levels all the time,
But ugh protons are so perplexing!


All around, all the time
Every infinitesimality exclaims,
Everything is weird, save I.

 

Tldr: there isn’t one sort of weirdness, weirdness is inevitable and it isn’t such a bad thing. Embrace your weirdness, people of the world!

Switch It Off and Switch It On Again

Earth has had a shortage of many things,
But never a shortage of mysteries,
We have inconsistencies, littered
All over our histories

Mysteries like to taunt human curiosity,
And drive anyone mad with suspense.
How? What? Why? Reveals no answer
Within the realms of common sense.

Yet the determined human prods,
Pokes and picks and pries and probes,
Uses logic and fancy Latin words,
Confers with people in fancy robes.

Voila! The human solves it all!
Every problem known to humankind.
And Earth explodes in a fury of progress,
Struggling to keep up with this human’s mind.

Everything makes sense to the human!
This human knows Pi like an old pal
Higgs boson calls this human its secret keeper,
So do antimatter, duct tape, quarks et al.

Well, almost everything makes sense.
One peculiar phenomenon
can’t fit into this human’s head.
Scientific name: Switch-it-off-and-switch-it-on-again

It is a rather marvellous effect,
Proof that science is magic,
It enchantingly revives situations,
That would have otherwise turned tragic.

Picture a troublesome electronic,
A device that’s in no mood to run,
Just switch it off and on again,
And it’ll do all the work under the sun.

Phones, computers, laptops, tubelights
All must obey this dictate.
It is now a universal requirement,
Every gadget must have this trait.

Techie people have term for it,
They suavely call it “reboot”
But when you ask them why it works,
Far, far away they scoot.

This isn’t just an electronics thing,
(It’s wrong to be elitist that way.)
This curious conundrum
Applies to people too, everyday!

Human head not working?
Oh, Sleep over it.
Eight hours of switch off and
Suddenly, you’ve never been so fit.

This is the most spectacular gift of God
But it makes our smart human sigh.
Cause benefits and all are okay,
But the human needs to know WHY
 
How does turning off a kaput device
Make it work again???
Our poor human is stumped.
Where’s the logic, the sense?

The gritty human still tries,
Reads several million books,
But there is just failure waiting
Everywhere that the human looks.

Then one day, the human hears
That Himalayas are the place to be
“Go talk to The Great Mountain Spirit,
And enlightenment will come for free!”

Our brave human sets out at once,
Trudging through the bitter cold,
The human meditates for twenty years,
Eating only herbs with the taste of mould.

After an eternity of austere living,
When our human is literally in tears,
The sky thunders and shudders, and
The Great Mountain Spirit appears.

The Great Mountain Spirit is wise
Nothing can hide from its icy soul
Our human chatters out the question,
Shivering, but so close to the goal.

The Great Mountain Spirit ponders,
Thinks with the air of a savant,
Then says, after like forever,
In a manner most nonchalant:

“Don’t ask too many questions,
Don’t break this bubble,
If switch-it-off-and-switch-it-on stops working,
You’ll be in trouble.”

What’s your favorite season?

A seemingly innocuous question, right? This is how my answer typically goes:

“Well, I love the summer season because its my birthday season and plus its so bright and sunny and warm and fuzzy and optimistic and its like sunshine in your face and cheery smiles everywhere. (Not the best sentence construction, I know). Its like happy time, you know.

But I really like the winter too. It’s probably the influence of popular culture of snow, snow fights, snowmen, snowwomen, snow angels, snowfall, snow sledging, snowboarding and the entire snowscape of words starting with snow. (You get the (snow)drift, don’t you? No?)

But I don’t even get snow where I stay. Nevertheless the cool winds, the thankfulness at not sweating every second, the presence of fresh strawberries make winters worthy of being my favorite.

And then the monsoons. How can one not like them?  The pitter, the patter, the rhimjhim, the jhimjhim, the tip tap tap, the thashooom (that’s not rain, I just fell down) and the splitshy splish splash. If seasons were people, the Mr. Rain would win the Grammys 3.6 billion years in a row. Also, he’d have the best perfume ever manufactured.”

I could similarly tirade about autumn season, spring season,  pizza season(ing), open season, bugs bunny in duck season, and so on, but then I realize my audience has wandered off in search of better conversation long ago, and that I am a blithering, blabbering idiot.

Now, I don’t like to be blithering, blabbering idiot, so I decide that I am a genius of the most profound order.

I start wondering why it is so hard to choose. And I’m not just talking about seasons here, I’m talking about everything. All the hundreds of this or that questions we have to answer everyday. Will your lime soda be salted or sweet? Do you want the New York Chocolate or Dutch Truffle? Should I read Fahrenheit 451 next, or The Fountainhead? Should I become a Computer Scientist or a Mathematician?

I’m not talking about The Road Not Taken-esque scenarios where one path is done and trodden and the other is difficult and exciting. I’m talking about two paths, that sound equally good, have the potential to take me anywhere and have no significant difference in a pro-con analysis. How do we then decide anything?

(At this point I should mention that I blabber, and I don’t really know an answer.)

But I have this new trick to deal with such situations. Just don’t think. I think its a perfect solution. Just don’t bothering thinking, cause it isn’t worth it half the time anyway. (After typing all this I wonder if I’ve accidently inspired the entire human race to get dumber, but I don’t believe this blog has that kind of a following. Also, I believe I am right. We humans think way too much about inconsequential stuff.)

So, remember, think before you think.

Everyday Oxymorons: My wish list

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that appear to be contradictory. It is better explained by example: Living dead, alone together, same difference, deafening silence etc. 

I think I first heard the word oxymoron in seventh or eighth grade. How wonderful, I thought, it is to have two absolutely opposing words operate in complete conjunction with one another. The words that in my mind were sworn enemies, each trying to negate the other with their illusory guns, were standing right next to the other, displaying supportive intimacy. It is heartening, really. So oxymorons became my proof for all sorts of theories on universal harmony and balance. In a way, I started thinking of them like literary yin yangs.

I mean, seriously, they’re perfect. They’re a curious combination of words but they fit in so well that their oddity isn’t typically discovered until pointed out. You can pass off astonishing combinations of words together by pretending you’re being oxymoronic (the oxy- makes all the difference.) They embody the phrase “to eat your cake and have it too”. They’re so perfect, so utopian that I started to wonder if they could exist at all.

In a fit of overdrive, I applied oxymorons to everyday life. I embarked on a quest to find polar opposite things that not just coexist but also give strength to the other. I returned with the opposite. I returned with things that I wish would magically garner the wisdom of oxymorons. You know when you have to make a choice between two stupendous things, because even though you like them both very much, they do not seem to like each other? This is a list of such stuff. Stuff that you wish was as quixotic as an oxymoron.

Therefore presenting to you my wish list of everyday oxymorons aka combinations of beautiful but opposing stuff that I hope could one day live together:

Trees, Paper

This one has been said before. They’re both boons to humankind, essential for survival and civilization, respectively. However one of them must be unabashedly murdered for the other to be born. There are solutions though. Digitizing paper is ecologically beneficial. So I suppose we could stop the war by obliterating paper itself. But well, it isn’t a solution that brings contentment.

Free information and sharing, copyright

It’s true. Whether the excuse was convenience, laziness, unavailability of the said material or genuine poverty, we all have at some point indulge in some act of piracy. Okay, I shan’t generalize. A large faction of people indulge in all sorts of piracy. It seems like a utopian ideal, doesn’t it? A world where content i.e. “knowledge and culture” isn’t charged. But then comes the creator. Someone who has put in a lot of creative cells into the said project. Someone for whom the project is their source of income. And every pixel/alphabet/frame/other appropriate monomeric unit must be justly attributed as their intellectual property. But how does one implement that in a world of screenshots and forwards? I find this a confounder.

Individuality, Equality

This is not a tangible example, but I found it relevant nonetheless.  They aren’t opposites in the good-bad, sun-rain usage of opposites, but I seem to find that they do not exist together. Individuality seems to promote distinctions and equality does bear a close, undeniable relation to monotone. But they’re both perfectly good qualities. Individuality is an expression of being a unique life organism and a display of our hopes, dreams, desires. Equality is absolutely necessary in any society that claims a moral background. I wish there was a way where individual tendencies are highlighted and exalted but not judged unequal.

Stars, light

I have kept my personal heartbreaker for the end.

This doesn’t make sense right? How are stars and light adversaries? Stars are sources of light even. But wait, I have some logic, I assure you. Lights and stars are unarguably awesome and very necessary for human civilization. They’re often used as symbols for knowledge, progress, enlightenment. Lately however, the stars aren’t very visible in the sky, especially if you’re living in a metropolis. Some sort of idiotic pollution. Light pollution, in fact. The lights from cars, buildings shining in the night reflect in the sky and create a skyglow that hides the stars. It is a literal, vast glowing dome that exists over cities and towns. Now, I don’t find shutting off all lights in a city every night appealing. The lights are necessary, useful, beautiful even. But I’ve always dreamt of seeing the stars every night to. So I am conclusively stuck. (Of course there are attempts at solutions, better lighting, more focused lighting, etc. But they aren’t even remotely satisfactory. Who knows though, one day..)

Well, that’s just four things. But four items do make a list. I am sure however, that there are many more oxymorons I would love to wish true. I don’t know what the point of this list is but there is a point out there. An important one. Maybe its a lesson that there doesn’t have to be one right answer in multiple answers. Maybe this helps dispel the theory that stuff (ugh I need an alternative word for ‘stuff’ and ‘things’ ) is simply black or white. So maybe, just maybe, what oxymorons are actually trying to tell us that outwardly conflicting ideas could co-exist.

Oxymorons, the figure of speech which reveals the philosophy of life.

Popcorn.

Do I like popcorn? Yes, I guess. Isn’t popcorn one of those foods you are universally obliged to like? Its the ultimate movie snack, for one. And the smell, that of a melted butter fountain erupting in Disneyland. Not to forget the most characteristic of popcorn properties, the “pop” sound. The way it almost might be the tune of your favourite song (almost). The way the sound pauses for just a second, and when it continues you feel like how the heart beep machine in the movies goes: A long terrifying straight line, followed by a sudden blimp.

Eating popcorn isn’t eating popcorn, its an experience. To stick your nose against the foggy microwave glass (I don’t actually stick my nose against it, it might be hot and yes, I’m a slight coward) and watch the wrapper as it unfolds itself. The excitement builds up in your stomach as the packet builds itself up. Given how much we know  of the universe, it could actually be a minimalistic version of the Big Bang.

Its beautiful, its exciting, its the next highest grossing blockbuster movie and you’ve used up a lot of precious time reading about what you’ve (in most cases) seen before. But what does popcorn taste like? Buttered popcorn is butter, salted popcorn is salt, cheese popcorn is cheese, caramel popcorn is something that’s trying to be caramel. But where is the popcorn?

My hypothesis: Popcorn is only there in your head. It is that extra zingy advertisement that sells you the World’s Best Electronic Plant that you don’t really need. Popcorn is the sum total of your excitement, your fascination, your awe and your imagination. Only the calories are provided in the packet.

So is popcorn <gasp> a bad thing? I would hazard a no. Its does give you the joy of anticipation and an opportunity to jump up and down and be all wide eyed. And I have always been a defender of unwarranted optimism.

Have you notice that futuristic scifi robotic movies are always so distant, dry and drab? It scares me! Why will humans suddenly stop loving colours and creativity? I love technology but that does not stop me from appreciating colour, art or the sunshine. There is an erratic quirkiness of life that is so visible in our small joys.

The sun, the stars (barely visible), some graffiti, an aimless walk, a illegible doodle, a happy dance, a book you’ve read a zillion times already, and some popcorn as well. This is stuff you do not associate yourself with because of any purpose or motive, but simply because you want to. These are things that take you away from the clockwork of reasons and compulsions into a rollercoaster world of choices.

So if you don’t like popcorn, you might just be a robot.

(Disclaimer: Before you seethe in anger and denounce my views, remember, I’m not a fine connoisseur of food. My extent of knowledge goes up to knowing the difference between chocolate and asparagus, and that serves me adequately. In short, I’m being a know it all when I know nothing at all.)

Also, first blog post! Yes yes yes! This is a good feeling.