Ephemera


Existential nihilism is cool now. It is also pretty calming. Also, not particularly new. I know I might be winging it in terms of interpretation but after my first year of college I had the Nirvana Shatakam pinned to my wall. Yep, this borderline atheist had a wall adorned with the Nirvana Shatakam.(And I wrote it down in Devanagari so I could put it up on the wall) It basically says I am more than the elements that make me, the thoughts that I think, the things that I do. I am the peaceful, loving consciousness itself... I am Shiva. Of course, I love the idea of Shiva but in this context I see Shiva as a manifestation of the universe. The point I'm trying to make here is... If you're nothing, you're everything.

If you're nothing, you don't have to care about fitting into the definition of something. You don't have to worry too much about how you could ruin things. I mean you still could, obviously, in your micro-ecosystem. But to know that you cannot control something beyond a point is as peaceful as it seems scary. Karmnyevaadhikaaraste ma phaleshu kadaachana(probably the most quoted line from the Bhagvadgeeta) is usually interpreted as "worry about your karma and not about the phal(fruit)". Great, except it doesn't say that. Literally translated, it isn't an instruction, it's a statement. It literally says "you only have a right over your karma, never over its fruit." Now, you might be thinking I'm going To-may-to/to-mah-to on you, but wait, here's the thing. The second(and literal) interpretation, basically, is a statement that says, it is what it is. You cannot change what happens, only what you do. You can worry all you want about the result, couldn't care less but that won't change anything. (Lokada kalaji, anyone? ) 

So, the first step is to realise that you don't matter. (Which means you are incapable of doing something so big its consequences are irreparable in the larger scheme of things- simply because the scheme is pretty large) Second step is to realise that in your little microsystem you do things. You see consequences. Sadly, these aren't directly proportional. So, the goal is to get to do things. You have a right over that. And then leave it to chance. And then do something else. And then go on until you can. You don't matter, so you can do anything!

This is basically the reason I write and publish without shame on the internet. I say the stuff I do with this much confidence not because it matters but because it doesn't. Not enough to stop me from doing it. But in my little microsystem, to me, it does. I know I am a speck and I will most likely not change much but I have a right over my karma and I will do something to change the scenarios I don't like. I don't think I can change the world. But I have a right to try. I will create little ripples wherever I can and I'm not trying to get my name down in history. I have no reputation to maintain. I will do, as I do do(Rum Tum Tugger reference, I may have been a cat in my hypothetical previous birth. Hate cats.)

So, here's me, sending out my ripple. Thinking aloud on the internet because I can. Here's me with my Ephemera. Ephemera (singular: ephemeron) are any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. Here, I'm not leaving this for posterity. Funny though that ephemera become collectibles at times, from pamphlets to zines. We hoard them all. But hey, that isn't the intention. So, you can do what you want with it. I'll write what I want. We have rights. It's there in the scriptures.

Comments

  1. Lately I have been watching/thinking/reading along the same lines.The way you put all of it in words is simply brilliant, Shivangi!

    P.S. It also made me want to see you soon so we can discuss all of this and more.

    Love,
    Vasu

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!(for reading AND commenting) Do share the reading you've been doing! And I have been your fan since God knows how long. So, yes, please, I need to meet you. ❤️ Thank you.

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  2. Hi,

    I came across some of your written and spoken work, and it struck a chord with me. So I reach out to you to express my thanks for having written these and also having put these up on the internet.

    While reading some of those lines I felt I wanted to say the same things and you said it so much better. For instance, in Disenchantment I feel the same anguish with the human-centric approach with which we live in the world. We tend to live under an illusion that everything revolves around us and happens for a reason related to us.

    Another interesting and refreshing thing I noticed that the themes of your work are very different from the usual writings I come across. Take for example: Shikhandini -- I do not know many people in my circle who would know about the backstory and nuances of the character as depicted in the epic, much less write about it as a poem. These writings are very different from the young-adult new literature/poem we usually come across.

    Finally I would like to suggest some topics/themes if you would like to explore for your new work. The unheard/unsung struggles of coming from a non-privileged background in a society which takes privilege for granted. These struggles are not the most arduous ones, nonetheless they play a huge role in one's life. In the same vein you can talk about the random acts of kindness which make one's life very wholesome.

    To quote Wordsworth here: "The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."

    I would really like to read your thoughts on these.

    P.S: I really like reading hindi poems/literature and would love your suggestions if you may. (Do you have an email-id I can reach out to? )

    Few things which you may like:
    Rashmirathi
    A Psalm of Life by Longfellow
    Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda
    Kino by Murakami

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