And here, over the portals of my fort, I shall cut in the stone the word which is to be my beacon and my banner. The word which will not die, should we all perish in battle. The word which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it and the meaning and the glory.
Was just thinking.... Isn't the entire social networking paradigm feed on our need to peep into everyone else's life and know whats going on? The same need that makes us devour the details of a celebrity's private life in a tabloid. But at a much larger scale, of much smaller people.
My religious/cultural/intellectual affiliations are on the bottom right corner, my friends are aligned to the top right. My life's work is right in the middle of it all. Neatly compartmentalized into passions, sports, music, books, activities. For whatever little its worth, I also get little tokens of appreciation: smilies, ice-cubes and hearts which give me nearly the same joy that getting a smiling face on a perfect score in a dictation did. My page is visited, read, judged. I am judged. In a perverse sense, I have made a tabloid of my life. I have fans too. And like my picture on the top left, I'm cornered.
Just wondering: What if Angelina Jolie was on orkut? She would be rated 100% sexy, obviously. What if Brad Pitt was on too? Would you know from their interactions that they had something going on? Would Osama run a community to discuss his ideas? Would the number of interns on Bill Clinton's friends list give it away?
My life is my own. A private space. My role in your life is also my own, and yours. And ours, to share. Do these have to be gauged by what we have to discuss over a public forum? What can I discuss and not discuss with you? How much am I answerable to someone for what I wrote to you? How much can I manipulate their opinion of what you and I share? Why this public display of our private conversations? Someone will scan our scrapbooks. Will read the lines, in between the lines, assume, extrapolate, fill in the missing bits, question you, question me and undermine our roles in their lives. Among other things.
You feel precious with all the glitter and gold. You feel like a christmas tree. Decorated. You look at yourself in the mirror and snap your eyes shut, Is this really me?
Its your debut. The heavy anklets bought strictly out of greed, make that brief walk tough. You can find your way, but you still need to be escorted. Someone whispers in your ear, keep your head bowed down, wouldja? You wonder if that instruction just for today, or for the lifetime.
You sit in a room full of people, within the boundaries of four elaborately decorated pillars which somehow divide you from the rest of the world. They mark your stage. You are the superstar. You are even dressed like one. Its your day, your stage, your spotlight. And the best part is, you don't have to memorize your part.
People walk in and out of that room, pause for a brief second, stare at you in disbelief. God, you have changed so much. You look at them for reassurance, perhaps. My status has changed, not I , you try and tell them.
You look at your parents and speak to them, and realize that this is the first time in days, that the three of you have had the chance to sit together. You joke about what a strange feeling it is. Your dad looks haggard and tired. Your mother is doing a great job of concealing her state of mind. But you know the truth. Com'on, she got depressed everytime you left home for the dreaded hostel. You look at your relatives who seem to have a more important role in your life today than they ever had any other day before this. You look at people who always played an important role, and feel terrible about not being able to spend time with them. You look at your soon-to-be-other-half, and wonder if it is the same person you have known all this while. He looks so different. You look at your new family, and wonder a million things.
There is paraphernalia of assorted things which are otherwise difficult to acquire. Fruits, vegetables, rice, nuts, leaves, flowers, threads, shells, pots, pans: Some things old, some things new, some things borrowed, some things blue. Like all these things which wouldn't have met each otherwise, two long-lost-friends meet at a distance. If it wasn't for you, they wouldn't have either. The drone of the chant, drowns the sounds of their joy.
You sit for what seems like eons, all the while focussing on sitting straight. If you hunch, the pictures won't look good. The blood circulation stops to your feet. You are way too distracted thinking of the easiest way to manage a quick shake of your leg, without losing your temporarily acquired coy demeanour.
You hear your name being called from different corners, you turn around and look, and *click*, the flash blinds you.
You rise up, sit down, bend down, walk about, play inane games, pour water, pour ghee, throw rice, hold a thousand things, give them back, move something from one place to the other, then restore it to the original location. You hope you are not doing anything wrong. Hope it doesn't affect anything, you drop a brief prayer.
The priest recites the vows on your behalf, explains your new role. If it wasn't in the third language you suffered studying through school, maybe you would have learnt something. Hope it doesn't affect anything, you drop a brief prayer.
Then there are seven supposed quick trips around the fire, during which you lose count. Did I take 7, or did I somehow take 8, or 6? Hope it doesn't affect anything, you drop a brief prayer.
And everyone, joins you in their own way. In unison they all drop a brief prayer. And give you their blessings.