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Face to Face with Parakala

06-11-2018published_dt 2018-11-06T07:35:57.653Z06-11-2018 13:05:57 IST
Updated On 06-11-2018 13:05:57 ISTmodified_dt 2018-11-06T07:35:57.654ZUpdated On 06-11-20182018-11-06T07:35:57.653Z06-11-2018 2018-11-06T07:35:57.653Z - 2018-11-06T07:35:57.654Z - 06-11-2018


How are you, Parakala? 


I’m fine if you want a formal routine answer. But if you want a real answer, it will be long, complicated and perhaps boring. 


Well, this is meant to be a long,  complicated and boring programme anyway. You will be helping us if you give that kind of answers. 


Oh! Then it’s fine. I thought it’s just another routine tv interview. Asking pretentious questions, expecting feel good and ego boosting answers with untrue anecdotes and some silly jokes thrown in. 


No, ours is not the usual stuff. So, go ahead. And tell us how you are. We have no restrictions on length, and there’s no compulsion for you to make it interesting. 


How am I? Actually I have no answer to this. I mean I have no one line answer like ‘I’m fine’; doing well; I’m good’. Whenever I give such an answer to that question I feel a little uncomfortable. My mind immediately shoots off many questions to me. Are you really alright? Are you sure you’re ok. You’re good you said, are you joking' so on and so forth. I don’t let my mind finish that list of questions. I ignore it, I silence that creature within me, and I continue the conversation with the person so that it’s voice is drowned in the din. I realised that I did not want to face those questions. When I say I’m fine with a smile pasted to my face, it looks credible. I can yet again push a host of questions under the carpet in my mind. 


So what’s the real answer, then?


Hmmm, the real answer! I really don’t know. Let me talk. And if you can, do try to find out if any real answer tumbles out from my ramble. It’s not untrue if I say I’m fine. But it’s not the entire truth. I’m fine, I’m not fine; I’m happy, but I’m also unhappy somewhere; I’m satisfied, also not satisfied; I’m calm, yet there’s a part of me that’s agitated; I feel I’m rooted, yet some part of myself is unhinged; I really can’t describe how I am in just a few words or in a line. I’m a bundle of many things at the same time, very dissimilar and contradictory feelings and emotions exist in me, they cohabit in me. I’ve had no patience so far to look at them one by one and identify them. To be honest, no courage to do.  Haven’t done it for fifty nine years. Wanted to do sometimes,  but also didn’t want to. Didn’t want to do element was stronger I suppose. That’s why I didn’t do it. I often wondered why that didn’t want to do was stronger. Even this wondering was fleeting. Didn’t spend much time wondering about it. Just a small flash in my mind. Perhaps I pushed it aside. How did I rationalise that pushing it away? Told myself, what good is it to examine all those? You don’t have that kind of time. You have other things to do. And of course there always were other things to do. I invent things to do, cook some urgent things up to do. Wait a minute. 

Am I boring enough? Complicated enough and promising to be long enough?


Yes, yes, perfectly alright. Getting excellently boring. Make a bit more complicated. You need to be  more longish though. But you’re doing fine. Carry on. 


Ok, that’s encouraging. 


There’s one more reason why I don’t want to examine those bundle of similar, dissimilar, complex and contradictory feelings. 

That is, I won’t be able to hold them all within myself. They’re all deep, long, sharp, heavy and huge if I bring them to life. If I look at them, examine them, separate them from one another and meditate up them, they come alive. Alive, they threaten me. And I’m afraid I can’t hold them. They overwhelm me, I’m afraid. They might devour me. I’m scared. 


With each one I need to live, in order to elaborate them. I need to escort them and go along with them to wherever they take take me. I don’t know where they will take me. And, will I be able to return after reaching the end of the journey with one feeling and escort another one? I’m worried. 


Can I do this while inhabiting my physical world? How long does it take? Well, I don’t know. I’ve not tried. But why am I saying all this without even once trying to examine one feeling. I didn’t try. I really don’t know if that’s really scary as I imagine and it takes that long to examine one. Does that one feeling really take me out for a long journey and that it becomes so difficult for me to return to take another one along for the long walk? It’s my feeling that it takes long, that it would turn out to be scary, leading to dark alleys of my bottomless mind, and turn out to be ultimately pointless. 


There’s one more thing that worries me. Dark and unhappy melancholic thoughts might take me farther. Happy things might not go farther than a few steps. Don’t know. Haven’t tried. But that’s my feeling. My guess. Sometimes I feel for some reason unhappy things dominate the mind. Do you also feel the same? I think I have happy and unhappy things in equal measure in my life. Maybe more happy experiences than unhappy ones. But my mind clings to unhappy and dark things. Happy things don’t stick. I don’t relive happy moments much. My mind returns to unhappy things. Searches for reasons why they happened. How they happened. Who was responsible for them. What caused them. Gets into the self censuring mood. Accuses me. Blames me solely. 


I don’t want to absolve myself of all responsibility. I know I’m also responsible for whatever bad and unhappy things that happen to me. But at the same time I don’t want to be told that I’m solely responsible. By the same token, am I responsible for my happiness? Partly, fully, solely, not at all? How will I know? Will I ever know? Will anyone know? Should I know? Should anyone know? If I know and if someone knows, how will it help me? How will it help that someone? 


I think I’m rambling now. Is it ok to ramble?


Yes, yes, perfectly alright. Rambling is another thing that we value much. Go ahead. 


Ok, that’s fine then. 


I’m wondering why you want this kind of a talk? I used to think that if someone spoke like this people tolerate it out of decency. But you seem to be asking for it. Anyway, you must be having your own reasons for it. Perhaps you like it. Perhaps you want to help me unravel my mind to myself, help me discover myself. You know, I often want to put an end to some uncomfortable lines of thinking by simply dismissing them with a single line: but what’s the point? That there’s no point in anything is a very sound perspective. How do you prove that something is not pointless? Something leads to happiness; but it doesn’t last, therefore it’s pointless. Something leads to unhappiness and therefore it’s pointless. 


I have this pen. I like this pen. I feel nice writing with it. But I have no answer if someone asks me ‘what’s the point?’ My happiness from using the pen is not continuous. It’s disconnected. I use it, and I feel happy that I use it. I forget that and put my mind to what I’m writing. When my mind is on what I’m writing. Am I still happy that I’m writing with the pen that I like? What happens when I put it back in my pocket after I finish writing? Do I continue to feel happy that I wrote with that pen? Now I’m writing on a digital device. Am I happy that I continue to possess that pen which I like but not using it right now? 


Are these questions silly? Are they pointless questions? Do you also feel the same way as I do about the disconnectedness of happiness? Isn’t it true of unhappiness too? About being fine and about being not fine? Who tells me that I’m happy? How do I know that I’m fine, or not fine? Maybe I’m conditioned. My society and culture, my surroundings tell me that I’m fine, I should feel fine, I ought to be fine, oh you have all these and therefore you cannot be anything other than being fine. 


Similarly, you have this damned thing, you don’t have that, you lost that, and you are yet to get that, and therefore you’re not fine, you ought to be not fine, and how can you not be not fine?  Left to myself, without these conditioning what am I fine with and what am I not fine with? Do I know? I haven’t thought of this. Can I know? 


I see someone from far. I form an idea that they’re happy, unhappy, fine or not fine. Perhaps I’m happy to know that they’re happy or unhappy, fine or not fine. I might think that I was able to know that. I don’t know whether I’m right or wrong. I don’t want to. I assume and that’s sufficient. Maybe someone is doing the same thing about me and about many others near and far to them. A lot of such things happen in every mind on this earth. Continuously. I often think what if some sound is made for every such thought, opinion, feeling, prejudice, idea that strike all these minds? Wouldn’t the earth be full of deafening noise with millions and billions of thoughts, opinions and judgements, prejudices, ideas, hypotheses, guesses, estimates, feelings, making enormous sound? The world then would resemble a mad house. Probably the world is saved from looking like it because all these things are buzzing quietly within the billions of minds. And those minds that don’t contain quietly these buzzing noises within their own minds but speak out, are put in asylums, termed mad. Terming them mad serves one clear purpose. Others make efforts to contain their buzzes within their minds. And look normal, and civilised. 


Maybe that’s why people don’t examine their happy or unhappy feelings clearly. What if the examination, and the conversation that takes place while examining spills out? Everybody then judges, they will know you. You will know yourself. Isn’t knowing yourself is much more dangerous? 


If you don’t confront yourself, you can entertain any idea of yourself. If you squarely face yourself, you can’t escape yourself, avoid the truth about yourself. You can’t anymore wear a mask and feel ok with yourself. Do people design theirs masks? I often wonder. Some people do, perhaps. Masks get made as they go along in the case of many. Unknown to them. They come to believe that that’s them, their masks. Like others believe that your mask is you. 


I’m told that people understand that I’m alright if I smile. Some people tell me if I smile I feel nice about myself. Do I smile and feel nice or I smile because I feel nice? I don’t know. Maybe both ways. And some people tell me that I must smile bcoz my smile will cheer up others. 


I’m very impressed with this kind of rambling. Is this fine?


Oh yes. You’re doing well. Tell me more. 




But I don’t think I’m telling you much. I’m just conversing with myself. Meaningless talk maybe. Unstructured, purposeless and without an object. But that’s fine I suppose. That’s what I do most of the time. I ramble within myself. With myself. 


It’s only when I speak to others that I suddenly think of structuring my utterances. I feel everything that I say should mean something. Convey some meaning. Please them, hurt them, flatter them, make them feel small, make myself feel big, tell them how knowledgeable I’m, how much I know, or if it suits me, how ignorant I’m, how poor I am, how bad the others are, how much harm they did, how they cheated, how great someone is, how scary something is, how great my religion and country are, how bad our neighbours are, how great were our yesterdays, how pale our todays, where the hell is the world going, what a brutal and ignorant past it was, what rubbish all those recitations are, how developed and modern our Today is, what great future awaits us, that miracles do take place, there’s the saviour, we don’t have to do anything, he/she will take care of all of us, I will take care of you, them, and everyone, love them, hate them, don’t care about them, care about them. 


My words and sentences should mean something. But when I speak to myself, they don’t have to be clear like that. They can talk about something now and immediately talk about something totally unconnected. I don’t mind. Why? I don’t know why. I guess you’re also like that? Or do you talk to yourself like you talk to others? Maybe to some extent we all do in the sense we are not candid to ourselves, open to ourselves. We do pretend to ourselves as we pretend to others. 


I think it’s ok if our pretension to others is only as much as it is to ourselves. Anything more is dishonest. Anything less is perhaps madness. 


I tried to be as natural as possible. Didn’t say anything that’s not true to my nature. Didn’t use a single word for the sake of effect. It’s just a raw, uncensored, unpretentious ramble. 


Hope your viewers will find it boring enough, complicated enough, long enough and oh yes, rambling enough. 



Thank you Parakala for sharing your boring, complicated, pointless long ramble with our viewers. Have a good day, whatever that means to you.