Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An introduction

Here's another one of my creative writing assignments. We had to introduce ourselves in the most creative or interesting way possible. Our professor had talked about Kamala Das' poem "An introduction" so we had a something to base our work on.
Also I've always had a huge problem with writing introductions even for social networking sites. I still don't think I'm going to use this on my facebook account though....

An Introduction

With my laptop in front of me, I try to define in a few hundred words my identity, my entire being. An impossible task! Or is it really? Sometimes I am struck by how very ordinary I am. Hundreds just like me. Clones. Zombies. Going about their lives with the same feelings. Same insecurities. Same hopes. Same joys. . Same fears. This is probably a fear too. Of being ordinary. Is there really any individuality that needs to be explained? Just get a shrink to stereotype me into this pigeonhole of the IITian who doesn’t know what got him here but who hasn’t got the balls to admit to himself that there’s no other place that he’d rather be. She’ll add a few details of her own. Single child? Equals pampered. Air force kid? Equals frequent home shifting. Equals detached. Equals doesnt makes friends easily. ‘Apoorv’. It means ‘Unique’. And I’m just bubbling with uniqueness aren’t I!

A good guy. Or am I? Would I help a blind man cross the street? Maybe I would. But how does that make me good anyway? I might not give a few pennies to the blind beggar at the mandir. So I only do the good deeds that are convenient to me. This kid can’t get his cycle up the stairs… poor guy… sure, ill carry it for him. Unless of course if its out of my way. But all those other people going up the stairs might not want to help him out. Why do I want to prove myself to be good. I hate this need to be liked by everyone.

That’s not the only need that I dislike. I also have this desire to be thought of by others as this really cool guy. What do you mean by’cool’, you’ll ask. And ill fill it up dozens of adjectives. Take your pick. Sophisticated. Humourous. A smooth talker. Outgoing. Loves adventure. Is a guitarist. Teaches dance. Goes camping every month. Jogs every day. Maybe the definition of cool doesn’t even change according to how I want it to be. It depends on who’s standing in front of me in who’s eyes I want too look cool.

Sophisticated. That’s a good one. I was talking with this friend of mine the other day about this new bollywood wealthy NRI family drama. “Dude you really need to watch good movies man. Just stop all this bollywood bullshit. Its all the same. I just watched Citizen Kane. Now that’s class.” The only appeal of Citizen Kane to me might have been the incredible ratings that in enjoys on most movie review sites. My appreciation of the movie wouldn’t have gone beyond, “It was the sled the whole time! Wow!” But ill quote, as if they were my own words of course the most common observations made by the critics. “A pioneer both in cinematographic art as well as the use of make-up. And what a powerful character! Such determination! Such confidence! What arrogance! Beautiful! Just Beautiful!” Here’s another one of my needs. The need to be different. I can’t be just another regular guy who talks about the latest Shar Rukh Khan movie. I have to have good taste! I have to watch Tarantino. I have to read Tolstoy. Naipaul. Rushdie. Woody Allen. Different, eh? I just conform into the image of the non-conformist. Truly unique!

So there you have it. A small dosage of Apoorv Gupta. I could go on, but it would be more of the same. Just me ranting about my hypocrisy and my needs. Oh wait! I just realised another one. To be dark. You see; dark humour is just so cool.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My First Lie

I haven't really continued with my blog now have I? But I've continued writing though. this semester i decided to enroll in a course on creative writing as a part of the humanities course that we are all supposed to do each semester. I realized that the work load would be unnecessarily high considering that I've hardly ever written anything substantial, unless you count those high school essays about which there was nothing creative at all, just a couple of hundred words structured in a preset way that was bound to get you good marks. But after hearing so much about Prof Rukmini Bhaya Nair, or RBN as she signs her mails, i went ahead and signed up.

The first exercise we got was to write about our first lie - ever. Now since there was no way that you would remember your first lie, the piece itself had to be a lie. And this was after a lot of stuff had been said about how fiction - despite being false; had to be true enough to be able to relate to.

Anyway, here's what i submitted:

My First Lie… The title sounds so momentous, doesn’t it? Images flash of me battling against my moral code to be selfish just this one time. Images of devilish imps whispering into my ear, cajoling me into lying. Heroic images of being caught in a moral dilemma where telling the truth could have brought harm to someone else, and where I unselfishly sacrificed my soul for the greater good of mankind.

While I might not remember exactly how it happened, I am quite sure of how the historic event might have taken place. And I say this because I distinctly remember having the same thought process for years to come, one which stirs up occasionally even today.

So here goes; my great confession. Sitting on the floor surrounded by toy cars and with a colourful noisy little toy in my hand which I was banging away happily against the floor, my eyes turned towards my mother who has just walked into the room with a cookie in her hand. A high pitched squeal emanated from my throat and my mother promptly walked toward me (she had heard my call for attention), held the cookie in front of my face, out of my reach, and asked me happily “Is Apoorv a good boy?” Ordinarily, I would have been annoyed and would have started banging my fists on the floor and wailing. My mental faculties which didn’t go much beyond “I want this” or “I’m hungry” or “My clothes are wet” hadn’t yet begun to process the dynamics of conversation yet. But today I understood that a question was being asked which required a response in turn. So I stopped in my tracks, thought for a minute and said “Haan (Yes)” curiously awaiting what would happen next; fists ready in case I didn’t get my cookie. My mother smiled, gave me the cookie, pinched my cheek and ceased to matter for a while because I now had my cookie!

I’m not entirely sure whether this constitutes to be a lie. I mean, what sort of a question is that to ask a child? If my Mom asked me the same question today, I still won’t know how to answer it truthfully. I didn’t even know the concept of good and bad back then! And even if I did, what was I supposed to say? “Oh mother! I do sometimes cry just to get attention, and I don’t always tell you when I need to defecate; but my heart is in the right place!” “Haan” was probably the peak of my vocabulary back then.

But it sure wasn’t an entirely truthful answer either. All I wanted was my cookie, and I did what I felt was required in order to get it. I deliberately manipulated information to achieve my own end and stated something which had not reasonably ascertained to be true; and that constitutes an act of lying as dictionary.com assures me.

So there it is. My first foray down the dark path. Well, if you think I’m going to defend the actions of my toddler self, you can forget it! That little chimp knew what he wanted and he did everything he could to get it. What an inspiration!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So i'm going to start one too..

Oh well; almost everyone i know has already joined the blog brigade so i might as well too. Ive been thinking of a good name for the past hour anyway. After trying to come up with a name myself( the entire effort must have lasted a minute or two) i decided to google movie catchphrases and popular blog names. I flirted a little bit with the movie phrases, adding a play on the words here and there. "The darker night", "melon ?roo?g?"(to rhyme with moulin rouge), "you_have_no_write", "pulp friction", and a few more but didn't like any of them.
Then i remembered this top 100 list i had read once of those phrases which contain words opposite in meaning one after the other. And for some stupid reason, i couldn't think of a single example. Googled "easy hard", "good bad" and all the possible combinations of 'opposite' 'antonyms' 'consecutive' 'phrase' before i remembered a member of the list : Virtual reality. How iritated i was when i realized i had been looking for oxymorons the whole time and amazingly had used the word 'oxymoron' in a sentence today itself. So i combined two of my favourite oxymorons to get the blog's name. I'm quite happy with it actually. There are so many times that i decide at the last minute not to become a member of a networking site just because i cant settle on what username to have or what profile description i should have. But here i am, blogging away!
So anyway, the name is open to interpretation. The way i figure it out, 'we are the dead' (or the'living dead') and we are 'pretty ugly'. We being society.
So enough about the name. In case you don't know me, I'm Apoorv Gupta. I'm studying industrial engineering at IIT-Delhi. My parents moved to Indiana, USA when i graduated from high school. So thats where i spend my vactaions now, and Bloomington, Indiana is where I am currently located (atleast till this Friday), before i leave for Delhi on yet another 15-freaking-hour flight from chicago to delhi.
Welcome to my blog.