The Outsiders

Have you met an outsider?

Have you seen that fidgety teenager over there, hair awry, hands bruised on guitar strings, locked in a room?

Have you met a crazed stare on the street?

Have you cringed at the irresponsibility,  have  you marvelled at the freedom?

Have you seen mismatched socks and a free maniacal smile to go along with?

Have you been proved wrong by a perspective you thought never existed?

Have you hated and loved an Outsider?

 

I have. Since my wee tee days.

I have felt it bubbling along in me. Like a ball of vomit pushing itself through.

I have felt my esophagus ripped, and a madness screeching out, when girls discussed boys and lipstick n school.

I have felt it, the burning, when the world mocked. I have burnt inside.

I was foolish. I still am sometimes. (We are the breed of fools)

I had wanted to belong, when my belongings belonged outside.

Late in my youth, it dawned, I am an Outsider.

 

Today, I am writing to tell you normal people, to not accept us. I am tired of the touch-n-go game. Let us be, we’ll manage.

Today, I tell you, let us burn, let us be. It’s going to be hard. But, what’s not?

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” 
― Jack Kerouac, On The Road

The world is different for us. Thank your stars. We give you magic in your stale normalcy. Yes, we colour our hair electric pink and trip on acid and drugs. Yes, we come home at unearthly hours or not at all. You don’t understand us, but we’re working for the better. We feel a lot more, we’re often in pain. We’ve removed the bridles from our mouths, the blinkers from our eyes. We’re pained because we are at the door of the infinite. The four walls do not contain us. A page and canvas are not enough. Drive us to the corners if you will, but leave us there, let us breathe. Next time you discuss lipstick, you may try not to mock the girl drowned in a Dostoevsky. Yes, that much, you can do. Don’t make us pay the price for not being you. It’s not a choice. It’s fate.

We like it this way. We’re Odd. We’re the Outsiders.

Wait till we change the world for you.

 

Power to you

September 28, 2012 4 comments

 

 

Recently, I was writing some ads for a power company. Night was falling heavily. Dusk was reflecting right off my watch chain and telling me that a big migraine attack is pending. My brain was probably sucking up to the walls of the cranium. The cranial joints were probably giving away, and all the madness of the day like cold angry air was wrapping up like velvet heavy blankets and falling to deep lowers of my body, to my feet, which were becoming exceptionally heavy to lift.

And yet around me, white papers swirled around, each jostling for space, trying to make sense at and with each other. Some floated and blobbed, scattered and screeched – energy, light, carbon credits, bio-fuels, power. And then maybe, I had fallen asleep a little on that word..power. 

And then, in my own quizzical way, which I often do to escape the audacity of the world and events, I picked up that word, like a mother picking up a baby sent downstream on a bulrush basket, and weaved a dream, or a reality around it.

You see, Power is one of those funny things that assumes importance due to its intangibility. The quality of having it is equal to not having it in the material sense. It is not eating the sundea. And yet, its palpable pressure is denied by noone.

One of the things I have come to heed about power is that everyone is searching for it, in all their capacity. I had this one phase where the search of power in the inanimate interested me greatly, because I believe they do, too. Everywhere, in all denominations of life and non-life, there is a craving to be powerful.

What is it actually? Terms like these are irritatingly irreplaceable, since they have been nailed down to name a virtue in absolute exactitude. It comes to mind that power may be expanded to the feeling of having an importance or control over something or somebody.

Zoom in from the galaxies to the family of a patriarchal leper husband beating up the wife. Everywhere an invisible sceptre is passed along. Like a truce since pre-Bing Bang, pre-everything that came to be! 

Defeat thus, must the feeling of powerlessness. The feeling of having to let the sceptre slip from your hands unwillingly. But the will here is the magic word. This sceptre if handed over willingly transforms to the sceptre of defeat, or mellower, of compassion and kindness.

And my power rests in writing this to you.

Power to you.

 

In all might.

Sreemanti

What would you choose – Truth or Death?

I am directionless. In every sense of the term. Medically, there must be a term for it. Romantically undiscovered, that’ll add to my admirable list of illnesses now or posthumously. I don’t know roads. Perhaps it doesn’t register in my brain. It’s amazing really, the same roads, landmarks and buildings I pass every day, in a city that has cradled me since birth, and yet, I am lost the moment I step out. The regular roads, the way to my office, to the local grocery and so on I have forcibly memorized, and I look frantically around to make sure I’m not losing my way. I’m never at ease when I have to go somewhere, because there is an address, there’s a direction and I don’t know it. Addresses, roadmaps are always useless. I kindly nod and take visiting cards and dispose them because they aren’t any use. So how do I go around? By asking people. I’ve been all over just by asking people where the road leads. And I get quizzical stares all along the way – “Heck you, didn’t you ask me the same road yesterday?” Yes, I say. They stare at me and take me to be a goner, a Kepplerian, eccentric or retarded. But they tell me anyway. I can’t cross roads either. I’ve been saved, abused and pulled back from accidents forever. When adolescence was hovering around the corner, ravishing diva told me, “You better look after your appearence, you need someone to pull you back from accidents forever!”

So what would you choose – Truth or Death?

You’re in this war you have created. Maybe, merely by paying the taxes for weapons all your life. And now your husband is carried away. And now your daughter is raped. And now you’re told to comply to a political lie. You’re told that this dishonesty is organized, much like the organized crime going on all around. Your husband has been carried away to a remote camp and he is dead. See, he’s not going to come back. But you, you have to survive. Your beauty is only young and a baby nestles in your lap. Say it. Say the lie. Conscience is just your mind. It’s yours. You can do what you will with it. The country owes you nothing. You are singular, what’ll you do with that plaque on your grave, the plaque of a patriot, when you’re a mutilated something in a mass of mass graves somewhere?

You choose the truth.

You choose to say what you’ve seen. You can have recipes to choose from. A patriot who will die with head held high. Or the stark matter-of-factness. A soldier, you can’t let the devil get to you. A soldier, your heart is your country’s first, that wedding ring came later. You will live and see to the end. Don’t fear anything. Death is the worst that can happen to you. It’s only the wait that’s your death. The death is your release. You will have no memory. Your mother, your family, they will carry on. You will live for truth. You will die for truth.

And yet I have seen you stagger back from the sight of the mass graves. Lose your sight at the thought of having to join them in seconds. Piss your pants the moment before the gun sticks to your head. I have seen you trying to remember a prayer…
—–

 

It’s good to see we choose SOMETHING. A decision saves us all the time. A decision makes it all really simple, structured, organized. Organization is what we’re made of. From the moment the sperm meets that egg to when the religions bury or burn you, you need to stand by your decision. Of course it is the plaque you wear smothering your indecision and killing that conscience.

And it’ll be intensely funny, one day to think on your dying bed, of the moment you executed the rival somebody for your country. He must’ve felt just like you’re feeling now. He must’ve hated dying.

—–

 

 

Me? I like the days when there are no roads to take..

– The Directionless Sreemanti

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ODDITY 3 OUT!!

Let go. And welcome the madness back into your lives. For we, the odds are back to hit your gray cells with a splash of mad colour. Armchair rest over. Turn over to the wild. Take the dive to the sparkling new ODDITY 3. Youth written all over, this oddilicious issue drips with delectatble strangenesss – in art, reviews, poetry, shorts, conversations, tongue-in cheek interviews and oodles of oddness.

Come on. Shake up and take the Dive. This is to the spirit of thriving madness.

Be Odd. Very Odd.

Yours Oddly,
Sreemanti Sengupta
Odditor, The Odd Magazine

Drop that pretty bun you’re make in. Dig in to

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Pizza’s in. Now let’s put down a Dickens.

 

Now, this thought struck me when a young writer asked me to give feedback on his writing.

(ahem, notice – I am qualified enough to give feedback now, and also that am not young anymore – makes me kinda queasy in the stomach)

Young man, am not humiliating you or anything. Am just taking the case forward in the next few lines.

I strongly believe, you can’t teach anyone to write. Or breathe. Or paint. Or feel queasy in the stomach.

It’s all very much like love. Real love, if there’s any. It doesn’t give you that golden sunset staged opportunity to say ‘Ido’ and go on to serenely kiss the bride. No dear no. The beautiful beach wedding falls apart, and there’s a fury of admiration. It’s very primal., beautiful, even dangerous.

Don’t get me wrong – am not saying Dickens can’t tell you a thing-or-two about writing. Or that you don’t need to lead a hippie life to write songs like Janis Joplin did. But yes, write, you have to do it from an unknown reserve inside. It’s a peculiarly violent self reliant and indulgent pleasure that cannot be shared like the muffins on the dinner table, can’t be bitched over in Saturday clubs, can’t be done anything.

It can be felt in the pain of the gut – at odd hours, while driving in the middle of the road, while cotton picking in a vast field. With no pen and paper around. And you got to huff-and-pant till you find something to let out. And sigh.

That’s what I think is writing. You got to replace that word with ‘living’.

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‎”Dear family, with great trepidation, I announce that am in San Francisco” – Janis Joplin

I am at the brink of such a feeling. The feeling of an overwrought soul exalting in yet another fruit of celebrating all that is truly humane in us.

ODDITY 2 IS OUT! www.theoddmagazine.blogspot.in

Dig in to a readilicious issue filled wantonly with alternate creatvity – poetry, art, photography, reviews, fiction and more.

Have your fill and do some more!
Spread the Odd word around – the word that’ll knock some conceited sanity out, allow some of the ‘real’ in. Share/Like/Read/Comment/tag. Your reviews and comments shall be featured in the newly introduced ‘ODD WOWs’ page of the successive issues.

And to zonk up the sales a big, dig deep your bohemian pockets and get yourself a copy of the amazing paperback of ODDITY 1 from www.lulu.com/shop/samuel-jones/odd-magazine-1/paperback/product-20178840.html

Go. Be Odd. Very Odd.

Yours Oddly
Sreemanti Sengupta
Odditor, The Odd Magazine
www.theoddmagazine.blogspot.in

You call that creativity?

Caution: highly opinionated post ahead. Practice discretion about ‘getting ideas’.

Creativity isn’t a monopoly. You can’t own it.

Everybody is creative. Imagine Science. And it isn’t an oxymoron at all.

Take science that changes the world. It is Imagined Science. We’re hypothesizing. That stage where there is a gaping blankness, and someone has to say the all important what if.. Hell, there’s a whole scientific theory about uncertainty!

Lewis Carrol

And Lewis Carrol was a mathematician.

There is nothing without imagination. Throw yourself into the larger scheme of things and exclaim at the primal wonder of life Why am I here? Who did such a fine job?

The Greatest Creator of all time. And you don’t need to be a believer to believe that.

Dear Reader. Whether you’re counting banknotes or doing art, you can’t deny creativity. Coz that would be rather stupid. It would be denying yourself.

Durga Jana, a dear tea-server at office reaffirmed my belief. He’s included in my list of creators. He’s christened me TK Madam. It’s translated to slangish bangla as tar-kata meaning crazy/eccentric.


I rest my case. 🙂

 

Yours creatively,

Sreemanti Sengupta

 

P.S. – Get your printed copy of Oddity 1 at www.lulu.com/shop/samuel-jones/odd-magazine-1/paperback/product-20178840.html – it’s readilicious! Free PDF versions of past issues will be available at The Odd Magazine Archives.

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