The nib’s broken on paper It’s on record There’s no taper Printers cried and bookmarks fell off the shelf Libraries shut down.
And I Never let me speak to the crowds x 2
I drew on my face But they just couldn’t understand These things are too deep. So next time when I write Wake me up inside I’d love to listen.
And I ….. Will let you speak to my crowds x2
This is a song I wrote about creative blocks and how hard it is sometimes to feel responsible for your art. I’ll be writing a post soon about creative blocks and the depression that artists often go through. I’ve been depressed for more than a year now and I’m struggling very much with it. A few months ago, I read Hemingway’s Snows of Kilimanjaro and found myself exploring the mind of the artist. I’m planning on writing about my epiphanies on how the artist’s mind works in an effort to work through my own depression and find others who are also going through something similar. I thought posting this song I wrote about a year ago would be a great way to start things off. I have more songs that I’ve written on the topic and will be sharing them here soon. Looking forward to great discussions. As always, (try to) have a great blast existing.
I hang on to a blue handle hanging from a blue bar by a blue strap on a blue bus. Maybe they got the colours right. Maybe they didn’t. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t mind the colour. It compliments the morning sky well. I shouldn’t even be worrying about this. The commute from the gate to the aircraft isn’t that long. But the baby and the woman I gave my seat to were also in blue. Thus all this contemplation. From when I can remember, I’ve always seen a baby on an airport shuttle. The repeated introduction to ‘blue’ and ‘baby’ forced me to stop and reconsider. Is any of this important?
“You think too much” is what she said. That’s what everyone says. I reach into the right pocket of my dark blue jeans, trying to find the packet of fennel seeds. My left hand tightens its grip on the blue handle. The bus suddenly stops and I almost lose my grip. I glance at the driver without knowing it, re-adjust the heavy guitar on my back, and resume hanging on to the handle. Forget the fennel. I’ll have it later.
These buses look just like everything else the airline owns. You are met again and again with the same colours, the same uniforms, and the same smile. It deceives you into thinking all these services are not many but one efficient and flawless whole. But it isn’t. Oh, you thought it was about the aesthetics huh? I did too. Until today, when my contact with the colour blue and babies on airport shuttles for the hundredth time made me aware of my surroundings. That’s what got me thinking in the first place.
“You think too much”. Pah! I almost say it out loud. The woman looks at me. She’s sizing me up. But she’s also sizing up everyone else on the shuttle. That’s her fennel. That’s her way of taking a break on a holiday. She’s sitting down while she’s asleep. All of these people are. I can feel it. Because there’s nothing else to do other than to hang on to the blue handles on this blue bus. If only I could chew on some fennel.
We get down by the plane. I see what I’ve seen before even when it’s different. So I decide not to look at all; at the tires of the plane or the marks that heavy tools made under the wing. I just ‘proceed’ like they ask you to in those announcements. The word reeks of organised movement, lacking any curiosity whatsoever.
Once on the plane, I settle down by the window on row 27 or 28. That’s where the seats are mostly empty. I immediately produce a packet of fennel seeds from my pocket and pop a few seeds into my mouth, aiming for my tongue. I close my eyes for a moment.
I open and close the blinds again and again until we take off. Repetition is key. I like to think some staff on the ground sees the plane blinking when they look up. Or winking perhaps, considering how not many would oblige the way I do.
Once in the air, I treat myself to more fennel. There’s something about feasting on these tiny grains of exotic flavour while looking out the window on row 27 or 28, guiding them around in my mouth into the delicate blades of my incisors. It’s a calming process, one that compliments the view which casts the illusion that I’m moving at the pace of an electric scooter when in reality I’m a lot closer to the speed of light than I think.
Why do I talk of light? Because they say time stops at the speed of light. That’s when you’ll feel the slowest. The fennel makes me appreciate everything that’s slow. It perhaps works very much like tea or coffee does for some people. It makes me more of a photon. That’s when I feel the slowest.
This is part of a series called ‘Mumbo is Jumbo’. In this series, I will talk about seemingly irrelevant things in my life that I think I’ve not been able to communicate efficiently with other people. I believe this will be a very special project. I request your support and I hope you enjoy it.
I’m an Indian kid doing his undergraduate course in English Literature. Most people don’t know this but in India, the number of kids trying to get into Medicine and Engineering is insanely high. The competition is so high, there are literally lakhs of unemployed engineers. It is in the midst of all this that I decided to study English. When I tell people that I am studying English at college, they are mostly extremely unimpressed. And I can’t blame them, IITs and Medical Colleges rule India. I mean it does hurt sometimes. I mean, I did get into one of the best universities in India and I love what I do. I love it so much that I would rather be at college than enjoy a holiday. I would never be at such a great place in life if I had done what everyone else was doing. A lot of people go through life doing what they don’t love. Instead of their work life nourishing their personal life, it sabotages it.
A few days ago, I made a small track and wrote a small poem (though it’s not a proper poem) to articulate how hard it is to go out and ‘do your own thing’. I hope you enjoy it.
Th track is called ‘Leg-Shoe’ and I’ll share the Instagram link to the track here. You can also listen to it at my YouTube channel at Stef Guitar Geek but there’s something wrong with audio at some parts.
Here’s the poem. I don’t have a title yet. So feel free to suggest one. 🙂
I feel burnt out. Utterly inexistent
My legs have grown out
of the shoes that i have come to love
I find myself
locked into a room full of old worn out shoes
And I must choose. For
the world is not for a man with no shoes.
But I can’t. They
stink and they are revolting to the eye.
They are torn,
bleeding leather, but they are warm
They are warm because
they are worn.
Everyone wears them.
They wear ’em till they die.
Some never even take
They go to bed in
them. They bathe in them, some even make love while still in them
They are definitely
not for me. My toes want to feel a virgin pair.
So they can in time
rest in a pair of their own.
A pair that has formed
into the shape of my feet.
Not in worn out shoes
they can’t even feel.
But I am locked in.
The keys do not even exist.
I do not know how to
pick a lock that isn’t there.
So I examine the worn
They are introduced in
pairs, yet were undeniably incongruous.
But I persist. I put
aside my pernicious eyes of judgement and peek into the intricacies of creation
I see where the needle
cut into the leather. I look at the lines and curves.
I search for marks
made by time but seldom come across one
But I come across in
plenty , marks made by man.
Marks made in his
haste to conquer, but sometimes because he lacked succour.
For years I’ve been
dragging my shoeless feet, leading my eyes onto more worn out footwear.
My mission is to make my own worn out pair, a pair that Iooks like my feet.
I pick up the pieces
of leather falling off the shelves, I bring them together with the threads that
I sew them over my
feet. Sometimes, I feel a prick or two but never in the same place.
Like the men with the worn out shoes whose toes feel pain again and again.
I really hope this inspires you and encourages you to go out there and do what you love to do. God has a plan for all of us. So be brave!
I’m a butterfly. I used to be a caterpillar. Before that, I was an egg. But you don’t know me. Yet. But I know you. I see you through the transparent chrysalis that envelops me. In time we’ll meet. I’m nearly there. I’m a complete butterfly inside a cocoon. How did I get here? It was inevitable. It had to be done. That’s how God made me. It was important for me to shut myself in a cocoon so that I could develop into a butterfly. But now, it’s nearly done. I don’t understand why I have be here anymore. I’m complete. But all in time. But make no mistake, I’m aching to be out there.
Metamorphosis Behind A Window is one of the tracks I made during this summer holiday. I’ll link it at the end of this post if you guys want to listen to it. I couldn’t upload it.
What inspired me: I had been stuck in my room for the past 1 month. Only going out on Sundays to attend church. After going to college, I had a really vibrant social life and being back home and not even going out, I felt trapped. I was looking out of my window, seeing all the cars honking at each other, a sight quite normal to the average Indian citizen. We spend a lot of time in cars stuck in traffic. I was looking out and seeing all this activity and I was back home, stuck in my room. No one shut me in. I just had nothing to do outside. I didn’t have many friends from school that I could go meet. But i had my passion for music. I spent the last two months in my room, playing my guitar and experimenting with music. It was from this, that the track came.
Now, through this track I wanted to convey a message. Here is a butterfly, fully formed, inside a transparent cage( The chrysalis of a butterfly, is usually transparent). Just before it comes out, it has the same potential as it will have when it has come out. I would imagine a butterfly really struggling to come out, considering how it must feel, knowing that it’s complete and yet not being able to go outside. But if you actually look at a butterfly coming out of it’s transparent chrysalis or cocoon, regardless of the amount of movement you see, it looks graceful. It looks like the cocoon and the butterfly are working together to create a release of potential into nature. That inspires me.
We are all undergoing a metamorphosis of our own and there will be times when we feel like we have reached our ultimate potential but are being caged by systems. It’s hard. Because we know what’s out there and we know we are meant for it, just like the butterfly in the transparent chrysalis. But like the butterfly, we must learn to work together with the chrysalis to release our potential.
God loves us. More than we could ever imagine. And sometimes, he gives us cocoons to develop in. We must learn to use it to vitalise our potential. This has a place in every situation in life, be it work, study, or personal development. I believe it is key to enjoying life and reaching great heights at the same time. And I hope that you never ever forget to enjoy life.
Do check out the other tracks and tell me what you think. I really appreciate it. Thank you once again for taking time out of your life to read the stuff I write. It means more than you know. God bless you!!!!
Silence. In some cases, we strive in our efforts to push it out of the picture. But in others, we love it, are amused by it and find solace and comfort in it.
It’s morning. The sun just peek-a-booed into the sky. The tree leaves moved gracefully in the wind. The branch of a crooked coconut tree was somehow serving as an eyebrow to the sun. The face of the earth was dipped in yellow. A yellow that smelled of novelty, hope, victory and simply colour. It was raining too. But the skies were clear. It always confused me when that happened.
There is a silence in my room. I shift inside my blankets to try and sleep some more but end up just lying there, my eyes squinting into the sunrise. The silence is loud. Outside the window of my room, the signs of life are so evident, it’s loud. It’s waiting to enter the silence in my room and break it. Not that it is evil. The loudness outside is very beautiful, extremely calming too, ironically. But letting it in, would mean giving up the silence. I would be giving up a perspective of reality inside the boundaries of my room. One that I was starting to enjoy.
Silence seems to add an iridescent beauty to all movement. It does so by just existing in a world of inactivity. The only thing that let’s us know it’s there, is time. But when it takes over, it lets you know that it is not brining about a cessation to activity, but rather adding meaning to it. In other words, it is a pause. And I find that so beautiful. If you follow this blog, you would know how much I love playing the guitar. A good musician has to know when to let his instrument speak and when to keep it silent. I would spend hours and hours, honing my skill of knowing when to allow silence to take over. When silence takes over in the middle of a song, it’s definitely not a cessation of activity. On the contrary, it feels incredibly similar to standing still while your heart is beating like it’s on a rollercoaster. It is according to me, the best example of inertia, but one on an abstract level. And that silence, I find to be an ephemeral display of amazing.
Almost everything I have has some kind of cartoon or doodle. If you look at my laptop, among all the crazy things I’ve drawn on it, you’ll see this: Silence is a Perfect Sound. And I hope that today, I have given the world, a muddled up, arcane reason why it’s there. And if you didn’t understand this post, don’t worry. I’m still learning how to put silence in the right places.
Today I am going to attempt to share with you how I see music in the surroundings around me. I hope you like it.
The sun just came out. It’s morning!
I slide out of bed on to the floor and just lie there looking at the blades of the fan on the ceiling as they cut through air. The sun fills my room with a yellow light. A flickering shadow appears on the ceiling above my fan as it’s blades cut through the light. I smile. I lie down there and say my prayers. ‘Good morning, God. It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?’ He smiles down at me.
I look at the ceiling again. The light from the sun is more of a brighter yellow now. As it flickers on the ceiling, I see a silent beat. The fan’s blades swish through the air like the drum sticks in the hands of a drummer.
I smile. Welcome to my new song, ladies and gentlemen. So glad you could drop by. I jump into action. I moonwalk into the bathroom, brush my teeth dancing, put on some clothes and grab my guitar. The silent beat I saw, playing in my mind.
I go into the kitchen, give my mom a hug, say hi to my dad and open the front door. It squeaks. Like a synthesizer.
Now to get my bassline.
I go to the lift. It’s at floor 8. I press the button. The lift comes down one floor at a time. It stops at 5, then resumes it’s descent to my floor. I follow it’s progress in the language of music. Silent music. I hear a ping as the lift opens. Bassline?
I get in and I start ascending. I am heading for the top. On the way, I hear a baby cry. Hmm. Shorten the time period, increase the pitch and you get a classic Michael Jackson. My song starts to feel like an old 80s song.
I get to the terrace. I make clap sounds as I climb up the stairs to the terrace.
I am out in the open now. The wind hits me with a gentle nudge. I hear it pass through small cracks here and there. There’s a flute in the house!
I sit down and put my fingers to the guitar. I tap on it and give sound to my silent beat. My fingers now slide up the fret board, a little pressure here, a little pressure there. My fingers pluck on the strings. They come to life. The yellow morning sun makes a colourful reflection on my guitar.
I imagine myself in front of millions of people, like all amateur musicians out there ( I am pretty amateur ). The chorus comes in and I hear a choir as the wind gets faster. I smile. An electric guitar kicks on somewhere in my mind. A slow lead line follows. The clouds now move slowly. We end our first song with a crescendo.
I smile, thank God for the day. Now to get some breakfast. I’m starving!