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Tête-à-tête: The Alienation of Raskolnikov and Caulfied

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This is a collage of quotes and misquotes from two classic novels that share a few common elements: The sense of alienation, the absurdities of life, nihilism that defines our existence and so on. So here’s the collection of a few memorable passages, mostly attributed to the two protagonists: Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, from Crime and Punishment and Holden Caulfield, from The Catcher in the Rye.
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“You are telling your story of this damn world,” the older guy utters.
“I don’t give a damn, except that I get bored sometimes when people
tell me to act my age,” Caulfied retorts so sharply the words would cut.
“Sometimes I act a lot older than I am—I really do—but people never
notice it. People never notice anything.”

Yeah, indeed, “To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right
in someone else’s.” The thick Russian accent was too apparent, just like the
Nagamapal road is synonymous to filth and garbage.

“I tell my own story because I want it just like that. All along, I wa…

‘On the Road’: An Illustrated Scroll

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What do you get when you blend conformity, blind faith, directionless people and a decadent society? There's no prize for the correct answer. And no guessing.

You get the subculture of the Beat Generation.

One of the inimitable brushes that painted this landscape of subculture was the novel On the Road, written by Jack Kerouac, who had as well coined the term 'beat'.

The American literature is half empty without the Kerouac company; a couple of other beatniks included Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs—all of them are legends on their own.

The Beatniks need no introduction; but just in case, you can start with The Dharma Bums, Howl, America and Naked Lunch. They created a universe, independent of the tides and waves of the United States during the 40s and 50s, when they were basking on the glory of their revolution.

"The so-called Beat Generation was a whole bunch of people, of all different nationalities," Amiri Baraka puts it succinctly, "who came to …

Surpise, Surprise: The Moreh Highway Is an Eye Candy

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International borders, or bluntly border disputes, have always been an issue in the politics of India. The Pakistani problems and the Chinese materials easily come to the national consciousness. Recently, in a tiny corner, located in the remote part of Manipur, the Burmese military allegedly encroaches beyond the existing boundary. However, it is not worthy of news front pages or even a sensible debate—not necessarily that it is insignificant, but this omission has been a bitter reality of this part of the world that exists more as a buffer state than a part of the union.

Moreh, a shanty town in Manipur, shares its border with Burma. It is one of the main commercial centers of the province. The tragedy, in the larger picture, is its strategic location which is a region torn and ruined in the fight for the right to self-determination and other such craps for the last six decades. As always, the political conflict between the erstwhile kingdom and the union of India has been ignored fo…

on realising what lies between blues, footballs, our balls, chicago and ronaldo

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them the bb king & the jj cale
they say they make art out of their blues
me & my friends & my folks
we make fart out of our blues
between us & them it is only the seventh chord
oh please pass me the sound muffler
                           and them they play football on tv
we play with our balls in front of the tv
now i don't know what they have got
but we have got a thousand packets of shits
packed for our dinner
we can have them later
can you play for a while
while i kick around the packets in a rhythm?
play chicago style; kickin' ronaldo style





Morality Ends Where a Gun Begins

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Morality can be a virtue but its imposition can boomerang, inciting more vice as well, as evident from its abuse by moral police and traditionalists in the name of safeguarding the culture 

Traditional societies have many restrictions. The diktats make the surrounding so suffocating that individuals tend to start finding ways to break free from the shackles. Conservative mindsets complete the farce in such social groups. However, whether such coercion produces results is open to question.

A reductionist’s perspective of morality is the ability to differentiate the right and the wrong. In the words of Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal, morality is ‘a cultural overlay, a thin veneer hiding an otherwise selfish and brutish nature’. From the most superficial stance, we can feel the duality of the term, and more conspicuous from its lack of absoluteness.

There is a classic example from my overly conservative hometown. Overly conservative, because we are bound in traditional communities …

From the Notes of Surreal Conversations on Weekdays

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Monday
Are you as pie-eyed as people claim to be?
—Pacha Meitei writes as his cirrhotic liver bleeds epiphany
In his works are we drunk with his words of intoxication
I could not accept this is a dream conversation
This is almost real I'm here when he asserts
There be someone who knows him that he blurts

Tuesday
Far across the lands and seas the connection is so strange
The stranger in Albert Camus is no unfamiliar for he has arranged
What it takes to be a rebel
Not in guns as is done in our land but in a well
A thousand Sisyphuses would bury all the boulders and absurdities
Care not the oddities but live a life with ease

Wednesday
Again closer home, we can stand up on our feet
As shits splatter the front seat & the society takes the back seat
On the engine when comes Thangjam Ibopishak with his shining forehead
Wearing a phanek, counting Indian-made bullets, reciting poems in blood-red
Yet time and tide wait only for the sun
And the age is written all over the people more than a billion

Thur…

Everything Is Fine, Keep Shopping!

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For many of us, needs and wants are indistinguishable. It is not as hard as we would imagine. A simple factor is the chance to separate between the consumers and the citizens but there's no time because we are going shopping. Ever since advertising started dictating our needs while redefining propaganda and persuasion, it has been clear that we are what we buy. We need what we want and we want what we need.

In some places a.k.a. underdeveloped shitholes, where modern-day industrialisation is still a next-century stuff, where the purchasing power is still high, we can imagine the elusive suicide of the masses.

This is just as well how the system wants us to be: Buy, consume and die. The United Nations Development Programme calculates 20% of the world’s people living in rich countries account for 86% of total global consumer spending.

If you want, buy me love. Buy me a country which we don't have to curse day in and day out. I need a country. Buy me beauty. I need a few doses o…

The Tragedy of Meaning

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Do you have a meaning of your life? Are you living or making a living? Do you think there should be a meaning in your existence? Questions are many, the answers only a few: a person of meaning finds it the hard way, not necessarily knowing if he knows it or not
There is only one thing he would not do—ever stop making each moment so special that he wants his life to be. So he does, make things special so much that he can see the whole world through them loud and clear.

What Tomba would do in parts will add up to the whole. He cares for the attention to detail, so optimistically against the odds and blocks that many people find in their diurnal lives. At least, that is how he finds the meaning of his existence—he finds it more when he works, when he makes effort, when he seeks for it in pedantic adventures and chitchatting with the informed folks.

It has been a remarkable journey, from university where he had found the essence in every dusty books, to his full-time job in which again, …

from the notice board of the rapid action bullet force

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am i no match for them but they arrive in a batch
the bullets come rushing, them i have been moving ignoring
they say the government has passed an order
they say each one of us will be followed by a bunch of bullets
when i tell them to fuck off, they say it does not matter

am i no match for them but they arrive in a batch
the bullets come rushing, them i have been moving ignoring
they say the gunmen send them for each one of us
am i caught by surprise i had seen them only tailing
those, i have realised, are the government's; and these are theirs

am i no match for them but then let's clear the doubt
people, more humane people would be amiss
these bullets are for protection and revolution
it's only collateral damage if the bullets go faster than us
we survive on our land for the energy to move quickly

the blame's on the dead and the wounded,
there are three million people, a couple of us
our dying does not matter for the well-being of our universe
am i no match f…

Manipur: Reign of State Terrorism

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(Statement of a Mother)

A translated statement from Khumgbongmayum Lata, whose teenage son, Khumgbongmayum Orsonjit, was killed in a fake encounter

August 2013, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Text courtesy: Malem Ningthouja


For a 60-year-old woman from Manipur, like me, to come to Delhi and face the media personnel is a big thing. But I wonder whether this opportunity is fortunate or not. I wish I would wake up one day and find my son alive and I wish I am not standing here today. But my destiny—I cannot run away from the reality.

As I stand here, my heart is filled with mixed emotions. Perhaps, it is a victorious moment for me because my son will be getting justice, years after he passed away but then, it reminds me that he will never come back. Even this moment of victory cannot fill the vacuum which his absence has left in my heart.

My sweet youngest son, a brilliant student, started his primary education from one of the top high schools in Manipur—St. Joseph's School. After 5th standa…

The Pathetic Sadists — The Highway Blockers

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“Manipur braces itself for a long disruption of normal life with the United Naga Council (UNC), calling a 48-hour general strike with effect from August 11 midnight and the Kuki Statehood Demand Committee calling a 72-hour general strike shortly after the end of the UNC strike.” — The Hindu, 7 August 2013

And the general strikes have been announced when the state is reeling under shortage of essential commodities after landslides on the highway recently.

Some overambitious hill people in Manipur are becoming a pain in the ass. And this is becoming intolerable. For airing their grievances, they have been resorting to blocking the highways—there are two of them, connecting the state to other parts of the country and the neighbouring Myanmar.

If the impotent government is turning a blind eye to their problems, they have every right to fuck the rulers, provided they have the guts up their rat’s ass. Who says dissent is illegal? It happens in every shitty corners of the world.

However, why…

lecturer blues

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the teachers in my hometown are busy standing
in the queue
around the petrol pumps
on days after blockades and landslides and territorial pissing
they have to drive as much as they have to burn the hearths back home

the teachers in a foreign land say
if the homelanders can’t stand the heat
they must get out of the kitchen
so the foreign land teachers must do the cooking and the talking
so the hometown teachers must go and stand in the queue

so the conflict continues, who got the ass to talk more
who got the right — definitely not one of them
so on and on continues the cacophony
for talking is not the solution like the gunmen’s revolution
as is this rambling 

talking is for thinking animals
what killing is for us
for fuck’s sake we can stop it
even if we are doing nothing speaking nothing
we can just nourish and perish like real wild animals


As You Like It

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Heroin and alcohol
And pills and weeds
Do,
As you like it;

In BOC and obscure alleys, the stuffs a'galore
In a swift flow, the stuffs surge
Just like those overflowing highland streams,
Just bribe the government dogs
How much will they worth?
How much—a shot, a day's shot?
Once again, flow upstream forcefully
When the kick's high
When the time's right
Nothing can compare
Not this land of death and destruction
Not this epicenter of tragedy;
Heroin and alcohol
And pills and weeds
Do,
As you like it.

In each locality it never stops surprising us
In each alley
To hell with the king's dry diktat
Five bucks, ten bucks, twenty bucks
Alcohol and animal, or say meat, somehow rhymes
Yell and puke and puke and puke in front of them
In the gates of power
They say it is the authority,
Is it authorised to smell the scum?
But it will not, never it will, for we can see
It is busy in the public display of fornication
Howl and agree;
Heroin and alcohol
And pills and weeds
Do,
As …

On the Clock

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I

It will never tell me unless I ask:
It is the time to wake up
It is the time to get ready
It is the time to ride
It is the time to work

Come love or hate, peace or war,
As cold as a winter misty morning
It trods no matter what is in the offing
Stand tall like the Kanglasha
But nay, it matters no century, no era

How would it be to be it
In the surrounding, like it, to be ever fit?
—like it, to push aside all the follies
But just tell, like naturally fruity are the berries,
The time to live and the time to die
And all the other things, just deny.

It is the time to plunder
It is the time to loot
It is the time to kill
It is the time to destroy.

II

I'm worried
There is nothing I believe in
There is no one I can talk to
I have even started believing
There is nothing to believe
There is only opinion I hold
Only I'm made of living things
Death looks down upon them.

......................................................................................................................…

Fly for Your Freedom

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Out of nowhere it has fallen
On this broken bridge I called my haven
For your freedom, fly, little bird
I, ne'er know when, will cross it and go forward
Ne'ermind it's so absurd: you fell while I long to fly;
Fly, fly for your freedom
Let your song be my anthem

All along I have been chained to this bridge
You do know how it rhymes with bondage
It is; see I cannot preach freedom for you
My aim is to get out of this bridge so blue.



Reposting
Puff, Powder, Power, People, Puke

Atop the mountains of marijuana
The military plays hide and seek with the guerrilla
In the hills of heroin, the poppy fields bloom
Like Mao's a thousand flowers but in gloom;

A thousand of marijuana joints march
A million of skin the heroin shots parch
Atop the mountains and the hills' circus
The theatre curtain is so obvious

As the blood-stained curtain spreads slowly in the valley,
So clearly too, does each on their own. The absurdity.