Paradox Paradise

Would you still call it nonsense, if sense exchanges its meaning with nonsense?

Monday, July 09, 2007

I’m a racist, and other terrible truths you don’t want to know about me

No one, absolutely no one, has ever fucked up as many of twentieth century human minds as Nietzsche did. People love to talk about themselves; and at the same time, people are timid about doing so. And to them, to all of us, that line from Nietzsche, comes as a very comforting, see-through blanket. He wrote, and I quote, “Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.” The tricky part is that ‘can be’.

After the great invention of the idea called forwarded mails, the next big thing that goes around the netted world is tags. A privilege for a few among the 200 odd millions of human beings who call themselves bloggers. A rarity dubbed as privilege, just like Napoleon’s aluminium cutlery. And, with great pleasure and pride, let me announce the news that me too is tagged.

Amooma, the youngest granny alive in the blogosphere, pulled out her Pen Knife and asked me in a grunting voice that is reminiscent of the legendary Ma Baker – “Confess your secrets to the world now, or…” Someone who doesn’t know how to swim and caught between the devil and deep blue sea would most probably try to strike a deal with the devil. And I’ve decided not to invite the wrath of the granny.

There are three rules that I must follow, which can be summerised into two. 1. Write about eight random facts/habits about oneself, and 2. Ask eight other people to do the same. Though the prime motive of the game is to popularise one’s blog by the network it can build, it can also serve to the purpose of providing the pleasures one can get by peeping into someone else’s silly life.

While tagging me, Amooma had described me as a person full of paradoxes – not because she knows me that well, but because of her love for wordplay. But she is absolutely right about me. The reason is, everyone, and everything can be seen as a paradox. Or, like what they say, every coin has two sides to it. Cheques don’t have, but they will make you sign on the back to make it up. All facts I’m going to disclose are paradoxes. It would give me two very brilliant advantages. Firstly, I can bring down the number to four, because they come in pairs – but preferring to play fair, I have decided to keep it eight instead. Secondly, whatever I’m going to say would be also true when you negate them. The idea fits perfect for me.

While telling the facts about oneself it’s very import to number them carefully. Otherwise, people will miss them, because people take facts that lie between the lines for granted. I must have told twenty or thirty facts about me so far in this passage, which many of my readers have missed to notice. That’s how the world is. Consider the first line of the novel Moby Dick, which would be, arguably, the most brilliant opening line for a novel ever been written. It reads: Call me Ishmael. That simple, 3-word imperative sentence actually tells many facts about that person. Let’s count them.

  1. His name is not Ishmael
  2. He doesn’t want to tell his real name, or he has no permanent name.
  3. He doesn’t believe his name is very important, but knows people always need names.
  4. He likes, or at least doesn’t dislike, the name Ishmael.
  5. He has no other documental evidence for his name.
  6. He’s a vagabond, because only a vagabond can afford to live without a name.
  7. He is not related to anyone in the story, by blood or bond.
  8. He’s not a fanatic believer of Judaism, or Christianity.

Here you go! You have eight facts, implied, if not explicit, among those three simple words. And there are many more that you can find. But then, I can’t say: Call me Herman.

There’s one small trouble with facts about people. They do change with time. One might end up loving madly something he or she used to hate from the bottom of the heart. Train journeys, as in my case. Or will become comfortable with something, which was not very enjoyable, like talking on the phone. Or even hate something, which once used to be one beautiful dream, like shaving the face. This means, there's the inevitable condition – I’m free to change any of the following facts without prior notice or permission at any time in the future.

Well, I’m a very secretive person, almost cynical. And I go around throwing statements that I’m this and I’m that! I grew up reading c-grade literary weeklies in Malayalam. They were called Ma weeklies, because all their names started with a Ma. Mangalam, Manorama, Manorajyam. The name, Ma weeklies, was coined by the very intellectual readers of another weekly, which publishes b-grade novels. Ironically, that too was a Ma weekly – Mathrubhumi. Mathrubhumi has played a great role in Malayalam literature, flourishing it in the 60s and 70s, and nipping every budding writer during 80s. We had textbooks big enough to keep these weeklies inside without getting caught. The first lesson in keeping things secret. And the stories told me how important it is to keep secrets. You can be blackmailed, tormented, or even killed if your secrets are out! And if the secret is your secret moles, you might have to commit suicide. It still gives me a shuddering chill through my spine, when I hear, “hey, you have a mole here!” I’m a regular guy; I can’t wear my underwear over my pants.

Two. I wish at least one of my fingers were a screwdriver. I opened a computer for the first time on the very next day I got one – it was a rented one. I was very disappointed with it, there’s nothing much one can dismantle inside a computer. Have opened almost every single tape recorder that had stayed near me for more than a week. And to my good luck, the power promptly went off, whenever a porn videotape was inserted into the player. Opened the carburetor, when the tank nozzle was clogged - because I was waiting for a good reason to open the carburetor for a long time. The temptation is almost equal to that of stripping a girl, when you get a free hand. All you would want is to screw it back properly. Machines have a mind of their own. And deep down in their hearts, they love being pampered. Normally, every machine will start working if you just open it up and close – whether it’s a simple cigarette lighter, or a clock, or a motorbike engine.

Three. Nothing disgusts me. Well, almost. Those things that are generally described as disgusting or horrifying seldom make an impact on me. A rotting corpse under the debris, or a bleeding person at an accident site. A cockroach’s leg in my food or a piece of recently discarded faecal matter on the pavement. But, seeing people making a dramatic display of disgust at such trivial things disgusts me!

Four. I’m a racist. More precisely, I’m religiously anti-white. Most of the few people I truly respect and look up to are whites – the writers, the musicians, the moviemakers, the sportspersons, the sailors, the mountaineers, the philosophers. Many of the most interesting people I’ve met in my life so far are whites. Many of the few regular readers of this blog are whites. The dislike is not personal, but more general and prejudicial. For the unavenged injustice done by the white communities all across the world. There’s no single white nation that didn’t grow rich without insane exploitation of other countries, or communities. Razing communities and cultures and peoples. When it’s a historical fact that India’s share of world’s wealth fell from the pre-colonial 22.6% to a low of post-colonial 3.6%, I have great difficulty to accept that the best way for human development is of what the West practise. And they haven’t stopped doing it, whether it’s the indirect exploitation with trade laws favourable only to them, or direct brutality of the kind they do to the aborigines in Australia. When a whitey shoots an African, or an African shoots a whitey, it’s another whitey who gets richer. And when they talk about liberty, equality and fraternity, it disgusts me!

Five. I do get angry. I’m pretty much an indifferent person, I rarely get irritated, or even bored. I’m too lazy to acknowledge insults most of the time. If a stranger spits on my face, it’s most probable that I’d wipe it and ask ‘why did you do that?’ But I do lose my cool for the silliest of reasons. If I am very, very angry, I’ll go mad. If I’m very angry, I’ll go silent. If I’m angry, I’ll ask for an explanation.

Six. I’m scared of the traffic. I’m scared to cross the roads without traffic lights. It’s almost impossible for me to cross roads with traffic in both directions and have no dividers. And I’m equally scared to ride a bike in the traffic. I once rode a scooter from Chennai to Bangalore, and the last 10 kilometres inside the city almost gave me a heart attack. So much so that, after riding with my brother for over 50,000 kilometres, he wanted to make a tee shirt for himself, with the line on its back – IF YOU CAN READ THIS, MY BRO GOT MARRIED, OR LEARNT TO RIDE. You will never read it.

Seven. I’m a dispelled member of Workaholics Anonymous. Not because I couldn’t quit working, but because they couldn’t. As we all know, the idea is inspired from AA. And one of the hardest facts about an alcoholic is: one drink is too much, and a thousand is not enough. My firm belief is that it should be the same for a workaholic. They didn’t agree. They are okay with working moderately! Like an alcoholic having just six drinks a day? Not happening. I quit. And I’m seriously planning to establish the true Workaholics Anonymous. Or shall I name it after me? I’m procrastinating it only because it’s work.

Eight. I’m a virgin. It’s a very embarrassing statement to make in a metrosexual world for a heterosexual man, where even queers are cool. “Can’t you even take a girl out and get her drunk, and be done with it?” Ask the metrosexual guys. “Can’t you just tell them that they are very different and listen to their crap for an hour or two, and be done with it?” Ask the metrosexual girls (Yes, the adjective is not just for men anymore. Gender neutrality, you know). NO. Says me. I’m a man of ideologies. I’m usually an honest one too. That statement about honesty can surely put me into trouble! And, when I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. I ask in immaculate innocence. “Come again?” And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. Hail Mary! Blessed art thou! So am I.

That’s eight for eight. Now I need to tell eight people to do the somersaults. I would rather ask the same person to do it eight times instead. Someone, who’s really good in changing facts too often. I tag George W. Bush (Jr.). It’s still debatable whether this Harvard Business School graduate can read, but I’m pretty sure that he got a blog with a pink template with cute little flowers, where he writes sweet little poems. Don’t believe me. Believe it only when CIA releases its secret documents after 20 years. Then you will read about how they were popularising his blog among Eye-rackey children and African children, to use it as the most potent brain-damaging tool. And if, even he won’t take up my tag, who else will? So George, you have 560 days more to do it.

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