Sunday, April 12, 2015

Game of Thrones Season 5 Quotes



Tyrion: I can't remember the last time I saw a face that wasn't yours.
Varys: It’s a perfectly good face.

High Sparrow: Well, I tell them no one's special. And they think I'm special for telling them so.

Tyrion: Everywhere has already got a ruler. Every pile of shit on the side of every road has someone's banner hanging on it.

Kill The Masters

Varys: "Cersei has offered lordship to the man who brings her your head."
Tyrion: "She ought to offer her cunt. Best part of her for the best part of me."

Game of Thrones Season 5 Review (Spoiler free)




Game of Thrones has been building itself for a while now. All the small arcs have converged in season 5. This season diverges from the books, and rendezvouses with it seamlessly. For once, the book readers cannot say 'My sweet summer's child', for they are as new to the dynamics as the TV watchers.

You can say that the new season is a declaration of war. As Tyrion said - "Everywhere has already got a ruler. Every pile of shit on the side of every road has someone's banner hanging on it". Stannis claims Westeros, the wildlings want Westeros, Lannisters are trying to keep Westeros. Everyone wants to serve, themselves.

This season has a more proportionate screen time for the characters. Yes, that means Arya as well. No longer does the entry of Daenerys signify the end of an episode. From Arya in Braavos to Dany in Meereen, stacking all the stories and plots in a neat little pile of Jenga tiles. All it takes is a careless hand to topple it all. Fortunately, Game of Thrones does not just keep up with its growing number of characters and stories, but does one better at each turn.

Decisions have been made by characters who wield power. Tough decisions. Sometimes, fair, mostly not. You'll find yourself clapping at the screen during one scene and recoiling in disgust at the other. Game of Thrones has always been about its characters, and this season does not change that.



Everything feels more spread out. There's more distance between the characters than ever. There's some semblance of order between the meetings held and the words exchanged., but don't be disillusioned, everything is escalating and soon more heads will roll. Some scenes feel shallow, there is no depth except the characters in the frame. Not that it can be helped, but it still feels somewhat cheap. And then the dragons come so you forget all of that.

The following months are gonna be a hell of a time. Deadlines will be ignored, weeks will pass by slowly till the next episode airs. But most of all, non-watchers will get annoyed by a constant barrage of 'valar morghulis' and 'valar dohaeris'.
There's a spoiler after this sentence, highlight the next few words to see it, if you dare.
Well I tell them no one’s special. And they think I’m special for telling them that.
DUMBLEDORE DIES.
"There's no justice in the world. Not unless we make it. -Petyr Baelish

Friday, April 10, 2015

Power Is Light




Winning is exhilarating.
Success is addictive.
And then there are people who want to win because they think it is their responsibility. They owe it to the world to excel at everything they choose to do. They forget the joy of winning and begin to condition their minds to achieve it, excuses notwithstanding.


It has been drilled into them that success is all that matters. They want to win because it's their
identity, everything they built up boils down to ruthless wins. If you tally their scoreboard, the discontentment they get from one loss is worth every bit of wins they got.


And then there are people who don't just enjoy winning, they love the act of playing itself. To them, exhilarating rush of success is untainted by the greed of achieving it again. True power is lightness. Something done freely, but with passion. As mentioned by Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being - the idea that "lightness" vs "heaviness". The more power you have, the higher you can fly.

Maybe there’s no job I’m the only man for, but
Will I fade away doing nothing?


Failure is constant. Hard work does not always overcome natural ability. If I tried painting the Mona Lisa, I'd fail the first time. This doesn't mean I'll do any better the 10th time. We have been taught that the pain we exert is directly equivalent to the rewards we'll reap. While we may be temporarily disillusioned to believe this, some people win, while some struggle to get by.

People fail. And they fail hard. Is fear of failure worse than the consequences themselves? I don't know the answer to that. But I know that we grow through failure. We fail not only because we have to, but also because we need to.


"She said my darling, you’re not falling 
Always looked like you were flying to me" 

People soar high not because they are greater than others, but because they don't fear defeat. Utter, absolute and painful defeat. Victory is not something you can latch on to forever. The pursuit of victory is not what makes us strong, the passion for it does.



Monday, April 6, 2015

The Rules of Human Nature



Human beings have always been conflicted with what we can do, what we think we can. We are struggling with the limitations we impose on ourselves. On one hand, we wonder what is it that restricts us from finding happiness, on the other we are satisfied by the idea that we can't. We spend our whole life thinking there are rules. There aren't.

Happiness is an abstract concept, you say passing about the idea with a cynical view. You may say that it's only being realistic and evaluating your expectations, but the truth is, you want to achieve it. But there's always a reason for not being able to reach that Nirvana that is totally out of our control.

Perhaps if I was born in a better family, maybe if my childhood was not so bad, what if I had more supportive mentors, if only we had more money. There are an infinite number of restrictions, we put on ourselves. These bridles we leash ourselves with never allow us to test our limits. Our true limits that are determined by the laws of nature.

What is better — not knowing what you are capable of, or knowing just what you're incapable of?
I'd choose the former 10 times out of 10 because that means I have the freedom to act on my ambition and see where they take me, unaffected by the burden of knowing I may be never be able to achieve them. Knowing what you cannot do removes the primitive idea of mystery we have. Self discovery is one thing, tying ourselves to handcuffs while wearing a straightjacket and jumping into the ocean is another. We all cannot Houdini our way out from the prison that our mind can be, once you make it your jailer.

Our boundaries are undefined. We transcend them everyday, knowingly and sometimes without meaning to. We can choose to revel in the fact that we do not know exactly what the rules that define us are, or we can flirt with their very existence. It is disappointing how many people choose to be bound to their strings instead of trying to break them and find that there are none.

Ps: This and the next few posts are the result of some conversations that I had that made me think.


Monday, March 23, 2015

The Sound of Silence




This post is about something I've wanted to write about for a long time now. But it is only when I was riding on a bike as pillion did I finally know how to express it without the use of obtuse ideas and thoughts. 

Most people believe Silence is a vacuum that needs to be filled with words and noises. They go to extraordinary lengths to replace this lack of sound. It makes them awkward and nervous. A cacophony of clamor is better than the quietude of some peace. But why do we hate silence, why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable? NO don't answer, that was rhetorical. See what I have to deal with?!

Deliberate and powerful use of silence can be intimidating. Here's one neat trick, next time you ask someone a question and they don't answer it completely, wait patiently. They are bound to finish the whole thing. Well, either that or you come off as the weirdo who stops talking to people midway during a conversation. Nevertheless, my point is, silence is not a tool to make others around you feel uncomfortable. Nobody wants to talk with someone who uses cheap parlor tricks to amp up an air of intimidation.

Ever wonder why Martin Scorsese movies have so many silent scenes? They highlight the loud ones. Because when everything is loud, nothing is. Here is something esoteric a friend of mine told me:
"It is often best to speak only if your words have the potential to
be more meaningful than the silence they displace."

Being the hapless contrarian that I am, at the time I didn't agree completely. But after giving it some thought, I've come to understand and realize how true what she said was. Extended periods of silence are not awkward, they're blissful if used sparingly and with mutual understanding. Not a lot is more powerful than two people enjoying the company of each other in complete silence. Silence is a state of mind.

There are friends I haven't spoken to for weeks and months. But that does not take away from the times I have. It is merely an unsaid acknowledgement that we can talk to each other when we want to, and by choice. Not an obligation or a sense of social duty.

When you derive silence from your frame of mind, you get something more than silence – an emotional response. We don't appreciate silence a lot, until we start noticing the lack of it. Silence is an emotion of its own, and depending on how you use it, a way to take a break from the chaotic sensory overload that follows us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Cool Girl



A girl who plays down her apparent intelligence, eats the fattest slice of the pizza and wears an oversized hoodie after a big winning game. Everyone, look at her, because she's cool and hot. She's a cool girl. She starts randomly liking a sports team, a video game, or even a niche hobby. Not because she enjoys it, but because it's cool. She doesn't play with dolls. Instead, she loves beating guys at basketball. Because to hell with women being feminine and homely. She is not a cute cuddly ball of love and affection, but a fireball that will light your heart on fire.


Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

The cool girl never gets angry. Even in moments of distress, she clings to false bravado. In times of distress, she's the 'chill' person. Someone you can do anything with without considering her feelings. Because she has none. It's not a symbol of confidence and indifference. It is exactly the kind of thing she is trying to avoid - insecurity. Afraid of being assertive, she convinces herself passiveness leads to an air of mystery. She believes she controls men because she doesn't care enough to nag them. They in return desire her.


Being the Cool Girl has an expiration date.
She is not a person, she is a character out of a fantasy novel or a sitcom written by socially awkward men who have no idea about the fairer sex. Sooner or later, her self consciousness takes over. She is no longer the cool girl guys praise and wish to be with. She's a woman overgrown who has no idea who she really was. Not only does she have an expiry date, she is ephemeral.

She was witty, funny, progressive. But that image shatters and suddenly she is pretentious, lame, and regressive. A cool girl is like a slight wink from that beautiful woman sitting across you. It is over all too soon. A time comes when the cool girl goes rogue.

Everyone knows a cool girl. There's one in most cliques. Other girls view her with a look of resentment, guys of course are attracted to her like flies to shit. She is not a myth. Although she is transient.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How People Manipulate You




You are being manipulated when someone reduces, by any means, your ability to be your own judge of what you do. You know you're being manipulated when a gut feeling emerges from your pit and tells you 'something's not right'. But more often than not, we choose to ignore the feeling simply because we don't know its source.

An easy way to manipulate someone, or get manipulated is to set up arbitrary rules in a functional relationship. That is, form rules that have to be followed by both of you, but only understood by one. Rules can be helpful as they allow for clear understanding of the relationship. Something like one person handling certain duties. It spirals into the realm of manipulation when one person, despite being unsure of the rigid rules cannot challenge or change them. Usually because of insecurity and indecisiveness. Something like "You're not supposed to do that" or even "You cannot talk to me about that"

Another way people manipulate is by using their logic. Yes, logic. They use self serving justifications to make their point. The brilliance of this is that they don't have to explain their own logic to you. To them, it is absolute and unquestionable.
We've all been there where someone tells us "That doesn't make sense" or "That's simply ridiculous", trying to gain the upper hand. The important thing is that their logic doesn't need to be sound, and even if it is, as an individual human you bear the sole responsibility for your decisions and actions. By having to make your decision based on their logic you’re no longer the judge of your own actions.
Parents often use this way to change the mind of their kids. A father wants his son to become an engineer whereas he is more inclined towards arts and music. The father may seemingly rationally explain to his son how arts is a doomed career choice while being an engineer provides the best financial opportunities.

Morality is the bread and butter of most professional manipulators. There is no better way to silence dissent and subtly convince other than to simply point up at the sky or at the heart. But morality is completely subjective. There is no clear right and wrong with a moral judgement.
Yes, choosing to be a doctor and work at a private clinic might be less beneficial to the society than working voluntarily at public hospitals. But that in no way should be used as a way to manipulate what is, at the end solely your own decision. We make our own decisions and we bear the consequences.

The easiest way, and most overused is guilt. At this point, most people call out the guilt-tripping of people around them. Even then, it remains to be a driving force for some people who are easily manipulated or are too sensitive to the plight of the world.
A friend might ask you to go to a store and pick up something for him because 'you live closer'. Using guilt as fuel, subverting their goal. You might then say 'I am busy with my exams these days, and feeling a bit under the blue' in an attempt to counter-guilt them. A simple 'No, sorry maybe next time' is precise and assertive. No one can force you on a guilt-trip unless you aren't completely preordained about not getting driven by guilt.
Similarly, in the longer run, petty feelings are often misunderstood. Direct answers may seem brutal but are better in the way that they leave no room for confused feelings.

If you liked reading this, maybe you'll enjoy Reasoning Vs. Justification.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Concise stories - Part 2: 6 words



This is part 2 of the small story challenge I'm doing. Click here to see the first part.

6.
Pyromaniac. Kleptomaniac. I Stole the fire.







Lost children found. Innocence not intact.







Her lips tasted weird. Ah, 
poiso...





Image source: http://www.vox.com/cards/mike-brown-protests-ferguson-missouri

Shots fired. Non-violent protest subdued.




Image source: http://walls4joy.com/wallpaper/399001-ammunition-military

Apocalypse rationing. One bullet per person.




Image source: http://time.com/3535101/ferguson-amnesty-international-report-michael-brown/

Shot innocent man. Accident, classifies officer.






Got her Flowers. Keys didn't fit.




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Concise Stories - Part 3: 5 Words



5.
'I stopped pretending, Hobbes.' - Calvin




Image source: http://www.haggardandhalloo.com/2013/05/10/a-denis-leary-style-rant-on-mannequins-delivered-at-the-hipster-basho-sappho-but-mostly-hipster-convention-in-manhattan/
Jaden Smith. Mannequin rights activist




Ultimate character death: George Martin



Image source: http://bringmethenews.com/2014/10/06/8-indicted-after-police-bust-minneapolis-heroin-ring/
Let's try Heroin once,
again.




Image source: http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/touching-pregnant-ladies-bellies-now-illegal-penn
'I am pregnant' - Cancer patient





Image source: http://wall.alphacoders.com/by_category.php?id=34

Final words: It's not loaded.








Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Concise stories - Part 1: 7 words



I decided to write a few stories spanning only a few words. The concept is not old, here's my take on it. 
Beginning with 7 words, with each subsequent post, I hope to reduce the word count.


7.
Image Source: http://flawedpotential.deviantart.com/art/Bury-the-Body-342503412
He buried his mistakes, six feet under.
Image source: http://sophieandeleanor.blogspot.in/2010/06/florence-knockers.html
Knock Knock. Who's there? POLICE. OPEN UP!



Image source: http://equallywed.com/real-lgbt-weddings/2037-brooke-and-jessica-lesbian-wedding-orlando-florida

'You may kiss the bride'. She did.




"YOLO!" said the immortal, slitting his wrists.





Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30609551@N00/3749622397
A homeless alcoholic's best friend. The pavement.






'I'm unique', read the mass produced tees.




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