Friday, June 8, 2012


The nature of an obsession is that it is irrational. The irony is that there is a rationale behind unreason. As i child premonitory forebodings permeated my sense of oneness. I would become fractious, petulant and irascible when i found the large doses reality dealt me unpalatable. I survived fear after mortifying fear which studded my childhood like fallen leaves, but always returned with redoubled vigor.

At 20, 4 years back, after a couple of drastic mood swings and a suicide attempt i was diagnosed as manic depressive with psychotic symptoms with an attendant co morbid diagnosis of panic attacks. I began a long course of meds and cognitive therapy.

One of my obsessions has always been venturing into public. The fear that i am being looked at, my inner neurotic thoughts plumbed and my apprehensions fathomed leaves me very vulnerable and exposed.At heightened moments i'd see a car passing by and see with vividness my dismembered body beneath it. I'd see the butcher eviscerating a chicken on the slab and imagine my innards being decimated. I'd think that the person next to me on the metro was going to murder me and the thought would become so obsessive that my palms would glisten, my tongue dry up, my eyes dart with fear and my throat parched. My hands would shake, my heart would palpitate chaotically and all sense of security would vanish. At moments like these i'd welcome the prospect of release but only as a valedictory gesture. The obsession would be self contained  within whose irrational structures i would be lost, going round in circles, navigating but foundering, going back again and again to the original obsession , despairing for my sanity, suffused with helpless resignation.

One of my major obsessions is my teeth. Two years back i had scaling done to my teeth, a simple cleaning which filled me with terrifying intimations of losing them.I always feared the loss of my teeth. And strangely i'd be cruising seamlessly on a given day and suddenly my thought would center on my tongue swallowing. Then the swallowing tongue would push against my back molars and i'd start believing my teeth were shaking. It would start with one tooth and would gradually metamorphose into a panic that all my teeth are shaking. I have this habit, when under the throes of an obsession to rinse again and again, unceasingly, indefatigably. I'd rinse till my mouth would be sore. I would rush to the dentist and ask her what was wrong. At least 20 times, on different occasions she assured me my teeth were healthy. 'Your teeth are fine, its your mind that needs treatment' she'd quip.

Another of my contretemps is hair loss. At a very disgusting physically visceral manner i'd scratch my head and imagine a follicle attached to my nail. I'd peer shortsightedly at my fingernail, convinced i'd see my strand of hair and worrying about hair obliteration. I'd wash my hair again and again repeatedly, unrelentingly till my scalp would bristle at the slightest touch. I applied hair creams to lubricate my scalp and used unguents to kill the pests. Curiously enough these obsessions went on for very long. I'd experience them and be terrified for my sanity. I was scared of seeing a shrink.

Eventually when my obsessions impinged on my family's collective well being i was taken to a therapist. As the sessions progress i learnt to sift through the detritus of my obsessional thinking, go to its roots and find a way out. When i feel my teeth shaking i simply mouthwash and soothe the burning sensation around my psychically inflamed gums. That stems the  tide. I avoid getting into situations that trigger off obsessional thinking. I, the moment i identify the tingling sensation of irrationality surfacing, locate the thought, accept it and overcome it. I call up a friend, take a walk, write or even sometimes inhabit the strong emotion and then expel it. At times, even death of the most painful kind has seemed a welcoming reprieve to the convoluted, labyrinthine circuitous world of obsessions.

I am out of it and i am glad. But i miss, in a nostalgic yet relieved way, my obsessions and my overcoming them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Baroque conjures up visions of castellated turrets, receding endlessly into labyrinths of convolution, reduplicating images, cleaving the eldritch realms of the rococo with the threadbare, bedraggled dimensions of the quotidian. The oblations to the baroque are interspersed with profusion and embedding. Layers spool themselves into a cornucopia of  interlocked linguistic pyrotechnics and a sense of the dramatic, of an inexhaustible bountifulness, a celebration of writing and life's infinite possibilities proliferate.

The commonplace literary world holds its mnemonics, its piquant presuppositions, withered assumptions, gnarled perceptions by embalming them with a gloss of universal humanist discourse on writing, an ars poetica, the ideal and therefore idealized mode. Simplicity is elevated as a virtue, a desirable votive offering which we mendicants proffer while genuflecting before its august quadrangles. The lanes have already been traversed, the alleyways peregrinated, the destiny  arrived at through a tangle of complexities studded with aphorisms, stippled with platitudes and streaked with the language of wholesomeness, masquerading as ubiquitous and concealing its partisan appurtenances.

The crenellations of language, its serpentine tessellations, its unexplored panoplies are underscored by seeking recourse to a language that says everything about itself without partaking of the beauty accoutering it, consecrating its multitudinous layers. A language whorled and ridged with the stigmata of its exuberance underpins its own tenuous mainsprings. The structure is upheld precariously by a form which exudes ominous intimations and threatens rupture if what it says doesn't correspond to the way it is meant to be said.

Baroque prose is a contrapuntal ideogram, a affirmative architectonic of a discourse that bespeaks its own constructedness. The act of creating implies a bringing into being, to shape out of the fathomless void of the unconscious impalpable , evanescent, frangible thoughts and transpose them into a form apprehended through the retina, subsumed by the cranium and regurgitated as an aspect of life indissolubly engraven in the act of ingestion.

Baroque is a catafalque containing immanent revenants of  the ineffable grid of multiplicities constituting the way we think and shape and articulate thought. As sinuous phrases unfurl, an almost concupiscent engagement, a visceral immersion into the forms of  language inextricably welds itself with a dialectical exegesis of its tenebrous penumbra.

It is crepuscular because it is the hinterland where the conscious self containment is pitted against the fusillades of rapture that reside in the primordial. In the interstices between sociality and corporeality baroque is a subfusc knotting up of  primevality into structures of cognition which aren't simple blueprints, obviated by a surface grazing its contiguity. It is rather a dense, compact, interlocked enmeshed fibers that are wrapped around each other, to be disentangled and reconstituted anew.

Baroque is a performance, a trapeze leap, a distillation of the irradiated luminiscence of the lapis lazuli which prismatically refracts the light it receives by kaleidoscopically proliferating associative realms of epistemes and creates a mosaic of  meanings which are reinterpreted through a submergence into the equivocations, ellipses and  circumlocutions of words. Baroque is the imbuing into paper the deregulated, chaotic language of the subconscious, a metonym of the disordered language of dreams..And its ornamentation affirms its incandescence because when the floodgates of  putative, dammed up repressive rationality burst a precipitation into a dimension of being emerges which transcends parochoialism and gives a glimpse of a different world.