At that subtle moment when man glances backward over his life, Sisyphus returning towards his rock, in that slight pivoting, he contemplates that series of unrelated actions which becomes his fate, created by him, combined under his memory’s eye and soon sealed by his death. Thus, convinced of the wholly human origin of all that is human, a blind man eager to see, who knows that the night has no end, he is still on the go. The rock is still rolling.
I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one’s burdens again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He, too, concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
ALBERT CAMUS The Myth of Sisyphus.
brought back from a note, because Shuba Desikan shared –
Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
– Isaac Asimov
sat to organize notes on theatre & performance. much needed now, if i want to work on longer rehearsal processes. some study time alone. some collating. some referencing.
for about a month or so, i hope i’ll be able to archive as much as possible here. organized like now. shifting house in between this.
an early rehearsal photo of sunset sisters by sudharshan. – love it.
Once again, I met disbelief when I talked about micro-nations. Here’s a conversation I had with Eric Lis, Emperor of Aerican Empire.
something I wrote a long time back:
The end of a year, the start of another one, comes with a sense of celebration all over the world. It’s just celebrated on different calendar days in various cultures with their most unique festivities. Crackers in some towns. Grand feasts in others. We decided to break away from our regular routines and travel to Goa this New Year. We reached on the morning of the eve and took a drive down to the beach where we chose to stay. On our way, we were called out to from the road where a large gathering of children were jumping up and down. Next to them on a plastic chair, sat slouched a man made of hay, pots, old clothes, and sticks. The taxi driver later told us that it is a custom for them to burn this dummy made in the image of a human on New Year’s Eve to…
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the last story has convinced me to stick to this act of typing, writing. just keep it going. something managed to excite you now and that can’t be the end of it. now apparently there is a danger of thinking so aloud on the internet as i am making myself vulnerable to the evils of society – people stealing ideas. now, why have an idea if you are so bloody secure about sharing it? if you have an idea only for the sole purpose of making money the world really has no use for it, it helps only another person only in search of making more profit. if you have an idea to tell a story, and you’re not really wondering about how much money it’s going to make you than you worry about having the money to produce it, what’s the harm in sharing it. so what if someone steals it. the amazing thing about stories is that even if you steal from me and say it, or i steal it from you and i say it, we both can never say the same story, if all we are worried about or rather occupied about is storytelling.
now speaking about black holes. though i am not really up to date on scientific properties of it, the concept of a black hole just thrills me. the last story i wrote obsessed about this was… About a man who worked on creating the nuclear power plant and then retires with his lover to the greenery of the jungles in the Western Ghats for peace. Both of them build this box that magically devours everything in it to invisibility, even light. So, it is kept in this dark room. When his lover dies of some horrible painful skin allergy, he puts her in the box. Now a friend who visits him to give his condolences steals the plan for this bloody box and then it soon becomes a genocide weapon in this world, causing great amount of State-endorsed deaths. Later, after great protests, they dumped these boxes in the sea and everyday more of the sea disappears into these boxes, an eventual doom anyway awaits this world. The lonely scientist not able to face the guilt of having created this weapon, on one night, steps into the box himself. poof.
as you can there was no scientific enquiry, but rather a lash out on all kinds of injustice i saw happening in this world. even though i did say what i wanted to say, in retrospect, this story actually tells me i was fucked up in my head. i am fucked up in my head even now. black hole or no black hole this is what i have to see the end of. a narcissistic quest. what the fuck goes on in my head?
sudha is playing some videos that are raking up some unpleasant and equally pleasant memories. they are blowing through my head. the laughter in the room makes me blind. so vulnerable i am to such triggers. and usually what people think of me as is detached. i usually don’t stay around for dinners or lunches, go to reunions, funerals or marriages, engagements or showers. the only three social events that i feel okay in are arbitrary home parties in close friends’ houses, underground or over the ground raves, and cast parties. more than this i find very hard to extend myself. not because i am detached from these friends. instead, i actually think about my friends and family all the time, someone or the other is in my mind, i need only a certain smell or taste to trigger certain imageries.
i think blabber phases shall become a regular feature on this blog. i’d probably even dedicate a space for it on the top bar, once i have blabbered enough.
from the last post one possibility: what if all friends and acquaintances land up one day to teach me the important lesson of keeping in touch? see that doesn’t excite. as much as the high moralistic result of that story, placed on a protagonist such as me – so reclusive, so forgetful, so choosy about phone calls or emails or dinners and lunches – might appeal universally on a sentimental level, as probably a sunday afternoon film on star movies, i don’t see it going any further than that. however, i do comprehend writers of sunday afternoon films on star movies do earn in numbers i can’t even talk about.
nevertheless, making that life-changing story impossible, because i am just stubborn to change that about me, i have to move on. that means more blah blah blah. the problem with real life characters is that people stereotype and i haven’t really studied psychology or psychoanalysis that much, even in terms of theatre, to fuck an audience up mentally by playing around with how they relate to stereotypes. and maybe, that is for a later date, something i can’t really be ambitious about right now. note written, kept, if someone else does work that handles this i should scrap book it so i can create a delusion of how i am still very interested and curious about this. but in fact i am interested. i just don’t see myself doing anything concrete anytime soon. so for now the morale will be low. note saved for later.
ingi has been sitting right next to me for the last post and as I am typing this one. one of her eyes are open. she sometimes sleeps like that, just to keep a watch on me. when i am alone i can get very stupid. maybe, not work. maybe, drink too much coffee. maybe, switch on the tv. maybe, flip from here focus on something else other than writing, because then I wouldn’t have to feel so bad about myself. apparently writer’s block is one of the most common topics written about in the online world. not surprised. but, i have to come to a conclusion writer’s block is basically this – you want to say something, you just don’t know what it is, and you can’t really believe you can have something to say to this world. and you have already crystallized the forms in which you need what you want to say to come out even without figuring what the fuck is actually in your head and hence the silent evenings on the terrace convincing yourself that you have this metaphysical mental block towards writing. i think it’s a little pointless in hovering about this imaginary block of wood, instead of just getting down to the physical act of it and then desperately hoping maybe now, maybe in seven years time, you will manage to crack what you want to say to the world.
what do you want to say to the world sam? ha. non fiction is so much easier way to say that you know. ah just shut up will you, say it or i’ll chop your head off.
recently, i came to the solution that the prison (as much as believe the current college) as an institution is pointless. why? okay, i was supposed to wait till i put this together as an “essay” for chai kadai, but you know what i don’t think i’ll be pouring any of the bullshit in my head in any form, if i don’t forget about forms
ingi over the years has actually acquired many human behaviourisms, or actually our behaviorisms. she is sleeping now and she is twitching her legs like me, lying on her side as she was just a smaller replica of baba, and almost snoring like sudha.
so forgetting forms. forgotten. last month’s note in puck bulletin by pushkar raj got me thinking about the state of prisons in india. the koodankulam struggle, the arrest of soni sori, and free speech being jailed day after day in this country, got me thinking about what is this whole point of arresting and detaining and what the State uses it for. i actively started thinking about this only a couple of months ago, after many people i knew by name or face were either harassed by police or arrested for being part of protests for a more dignified life, whether in Koodankulam, Kodungaiyur, Kalpakkam, Manipur, Tibet, or Chattisgarh.
the prison industrial complex debate has been brought to front by activists part of the critical resistance in the past few years (in America). the brown v plata was a decision taken by US Supreme Court last year mandating California to reduce their prison populations by 30,000 (137.5%). now, california government’s solution for this is to shift tens of thousands of prisoners from the state to the county level, therefore opening the doors for funds that will help them expand their county jails. critical resistance has been fighting for a long time to dismantle one of the planet’s largest prison systems which constantly attacks the state’s poor, working class and communities of color. more information is available in long research reports by these human rights organizations, and with quoting them specifically i should be able to elucidate this further.
however, quite a bit of overload on lectures by prof. angela davis, prof. ruth wilson, and prof. john smith. wondering about the origin of why we think its okay to punish and on why the prison (and its related atrocities like death penalty) on a governmental (universal) level is marketed as the best institutional possibility of correcting a society. so instead of focusing on prison reform here should we rather be looking for prison abolition, an alternative to prisons. and will that not be a more humanitarian protest? wondering only. not throwing accusations. why have we misconceived punishment (positive and negative enforcements) as a method of instruction, as one of ‘structural equilibria of society’?
last night, rahul and i talked about how it is so tough focus while researching. with so information available to us, and so much not available to us (which we can get to only if we have finished plodding through what is already there) there is so much to know, so much to ask, and so much more to know about. every day. the personal ethics of meticulous workaholic researchers like so many others i know. no personal ethics at all and we are still developing it. see our colleges didn’t really demand any kind of academic inquiry into our subjects. so other than personal motives to dig and delve through history, there wasn’t really any external need to be academic. now the only thing college wanted out of us was attendance in boring lectures, which was essentially teachers dictating notes, we writing it down, and hall tickets, pink slips, blue slips, and yellow.
but coming back to storytelling and whatever it is that i do, i really don’t know where to go. i read all these short stories last week, you know in between reading up on the all the laws and acts and debates relating to prisons. thought of adapting. i love the idea of adaptations. adapting julius caesar convinced me i could spend time in theatre. but i don’t know actually adaptation. adapt what? nothing seems to excite me. slump.
what fight do i fight to be sure of what i want to be vocal about on stage, in life or anywhere? and do i see it as even a possibility for me to recreate this anger in the mode of storytelling? it is the magical realism of toni morrison, gabriel garcia marquez, folk tales, george melies that excites me. that is what i want.
… okay for a few minutes there i went off to Facebook. sorry. digression. anyway, there bernard bate had put up a link to this amazing discovery of a black hole devouring a star in the centre of a galaxy 2.7 billion years away. now there is one in the centre of the milky way too, “our” galaxy. and i think a spectacular dinner scene is what my play shall be. a hungry bloody black hole in the middle of a galaxy in the middle of no where, trying to choose from its menu a small snack, and maybe let’s throw in there an orbiting planet filled with delusional living beings. now the executional possibilities of this could cause yet another slump, but for now, this is what we can work on.
# time (one ten minute play and 53 minute play)
# deadlines (23rd May and 31st July)
i just wrote a very good friend of mine a cribby cribby note about how my head all so consumed by the that stupid term – writer’s block. only when i hit send i was looking at the email and i realized the act of writing hadn’t really been blocked. i found pretty easy and quite fluent while typed off. blah blah blah. so. with all permission from readers who choose to be readers here, you will for the rest of the scrolling down as this might take, i will be blabbering. blah blah blah. it’s after all strange sounds i make that i can understand if i have anything at all left to say to the world and then i might be able to do the mental math of the viability of my energies spent in pursuing two deadlines for script submissions. must say, with no story in my head.
sometimes, i let more than a few minutes pass away wondering how it might be a good option to at least dream about transforming into ingi (our cat). her life doubtlessly more peaceful. mine just excessively boring because i so easily run out of steam. i am always sitting on the top of my head. no wonder my shoulder pains so much. something like that stupid American movie Shutter. i hear there’s a more scarier Japanese version. everything seems to have a scarier Japanese version.
so what is troubling me nothing. my laziness. my inability to push myself. oh my god i sound like my fake IAS coach. blah blah blah. does a director have the right to put three people on stage and just make them say blah blah blah for ten minutes, only because my head is saying that now? blah blah blah. maybe, if i’ll be able to stand my ground at after parties talking about the importance of experimental theatre in shattering the audience’s normal expectations of a medium of storytelling. i can’t.
so is script writing at all viable for you sam? maybe, you have to rethink this entire thing. is writing for you? is theatre for you? there we go, slump.
all the ideas and exciting new stories that seemed to come across do not sit well in the limits of these deadlines or festivals. and when i have to write for something else. slump.
such impossibility of getting anything done, with a head like mine. no focus. no purpose. no.
i am always just worrying about daily problems related to banks, bills, shifting house… and then i shout inside my head no one should be expecting me to write now. No one is. Really.
i just have so many people living inside my head. fighting with each other.