Condensed and Distilled

It is the last day of the year today and looking back and saying goodbye to 2014, I am attempting to recap it by revisiting some of my tweets from the year and finding a place for them here on my blog.
I signed up for Twitter earlier this year, a few months before I started this blog and in the process of experimenting and sharing bits of my writing there, I found myself developing an increasing appreciation for the succinctness that the medium imposes- a 140 character limit per tweet to put your point across.
I welcomed the challenge of writing within the confines of this framework and found that I quite liked the process of condensing and distilling my words to fit into a tweet or two.

In fond reminiscence, here are some themes that I explored and attempted to write pithy bits about:

Truth and the Intangibles

  • Truth-
    greatest when told to our own selves
    sacred when committed to silently
    irrevocable when affirmed by action
    irrefutable when risked all for.
  • Intangible –
    where thoughts linger
    where dreams take flight
    where the heart feels
    where the soul knows.
  • That moment in life when you learn to take yourself out of the equation and see the truth for what it is.
    That.
  • That moment of utter honest acceptance of life and relinquishing of all illusions of control. That realization of self-agency.
    That.

Silence

  • ‘Silence’ could mean any of these- an expression of solidarity, a call for action, a cry for help. Take your pick and if you care to act, do so.
  • Apathy, cowardice or inaction- is one necessarily worse than the other?
  • Whether we like it or not, our silence speaks for us. It is then, in our interest to ensure that it conveys what we want to express.

Love and Kinship

  • Love
    an ode to your highest ideal self
    a compassionate kinship to the ‘not so great’ parts of you,
    an overwhelming desire for your well being.
  • You –
    a beacon, a lighthouse
    forever present
    anchoring me
    to my deepest sense of self.
    Am I adrift
    or is it our lives that are
    floating by?
  • Who are we
    stripped away of all facades-
    the many layers of personas that we adorn?
    I am called by many names,
    prefixes and suffixes,
    each one clamoring to claim
    a bit of my soul-
    the core that remains
    rightfully mine
    and
    steadfastly yours.
  • Home
    is a heart – pure,
    free from malice, artifice or duplicity;
    where I feel understood and accepted.
    Home
    is that mutual regard
    where we rejoice in kinship
    surrounded by love and goodwill,
    laughter and joy.
    Home
    is where I found you.

Penitence

  • Understanding and empathy are fine sentiments but cannot match the searing compassion you feel when you live through another person’s pain.
  • Penitence
    is a vast ocean
    that I swam across
    yet never reached the shore
    because every step on land
    turned into depths of water,
    so immense.
  • Penitence
    is the pause –
    before laughter,
    before joy –
    asking of me
    if I dare tread
    that path
    strewn with pain-
    once yours
    and now mine.
  • Penitence
    is a burden gladly borne-
    lighter than banal apathy
    lighter than stoic indifference
    lighter than heaving egoism
    lighter than dreary inaction
    -painful,yet gladly borne.
  • Penitence-
    a quiet commitment to a sacred truth
    a steadfast devotion to a lost cause
    a sense of gratitude for seeming existence
    a willingness to accept responsibility
    an avowal to do right.

The above lines in their original tweet form are assimilated on a separate page here on the blog.
In the past, I have done a similar recap post about other tweets, it can be found here at #Life.

That was my roundup of some moments from the recent past, here’s to looking forward to the coming ‘todays’ and to living with ‘presence’ in the present.

Happy New Year to all!

Silence – not necessarily golden

This past Saturday, at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, I watched ‘Celebrated Silence’ – a play that dealt with the subject of groping, the trauma it unleashes on the person who is subjected to it and the complicit silence of society regarding this issue.

The story was conceived by Anisha Singh, a friend of mine, who was also one of the lead actors in the performance. The script was written by Prabir Das, who was the other lead actor. Music was provided by Amita Prakash and the play was directed by Daryl Harris.

Celebrated Silence’ depicts the journey of a woman named Anisha, who is on the verge of committing suicide, tormented by the instances of groping she has endured in her lifetime. We see a dark gloomy set on stage – stark in its bareness, save for the many nooses hanging – ominous and portent – a harbinger of pain, despair and inner turmoil. We see Anisha, in white clothes, contemplating putting the noose around her neck. We see Amita, dressed in all black, remaining still and lifeless, wheelchair bound. Seemingly playing the alter ego of Anisha, she remains mute except for intermittently bursting out into songs of despair, betrayal, loss and agony. What follows next are recurring encounters with the various men that violate or invalidate Anisha at various stages of her life.

The roles of the men in the play are all enacted by Prabir Das, who seems to adroitly change personas, much like the costumes that he changes. His bearing and demeanor, his voice and mannerisms undergo mesmerizing transformations. In addition to highlighting the acting prowess of this fine artist, this concept of having the same actor play these different roles also seems to drive home a metaphorical condemnation of a manhood that finds itself subjugated to the whims of its ‘organ’ and not functioning as an independent thinking humane being – as if the beast of manhood was the same, just manifested itself with different identities.

I was deeply touched by the powerful and emotional singing done by Amita Prakash. Set to the accompaniment of piano, the songs worked to universalize the journey of one girl/ woman and situate it in a broader historical context. She was apt as the torn, troubled yet strong and willful alter ego to Anisha.

Anisha Singh emphatically displayed the gamut of emotions in her role, ranging from the confusion and helplessness of a young girl to the anger and disappointment of a wife, the pleading innocence of a daughter and finally the frustration of trying to understand the mentality of her perpetrators.

Overall, it was an impressive performance by the cast of three members who carried the entire play on their shoulders. The mood was sombre, dark and intense with moments of sharp tension and conflict. The play succeeded in evoking empathy for Anisha’s journey and a sense of disgust at the violations committed by the various men. The audience which comprised of both men and women were provoked multiple times to break the silence surrounding this issue.We recognized by the end of the play that Anisha had reached the critical point of being able to dissociate her psyche and inner self from the acts of groping that had violated her.

In this process, we see the beginning of her recovery of self-agency and as an audience we are left wanting to see more of her journey forward. Maybe the depiction on stage of additional concrete steps taken by her towards overcoming this trauma could serve to further inspire and empower the audience whilst providing material for a second act or a sequel to the play.

In all, I commend All Shades Theater for bringing awareness to this important issue.