Monday, November 4, 2013



A man and a woman. The man, holding on to vestiges of a tenuous self is rakish, casual, nonchalant. The more his air of studied indifference the greater is his fear of being subsumed. He hates himself yet finds in his self hatred a way to exist, to affirm his being. At the same time, with the same intensity that he fears oblivion he desires it most. Anything to forget himself, abdicate the self hatred. So two contradictory impulses buffet him.

The woman seeks the man because she feels lonely, bereft. Yet she feels upset at his indifference, his casualness. She takes it to be lack of feeling. She wants most of all, to submerge herself in him, him in herself. She desires subsuming , submergence. While for her this is a way of escaping her essential loneliness and anxiety. She delves deeper into the relationship and longs for that lonely, reflective self, that evidence, to her, that she was of some worth, that she had a purpose of being. Thus she too both longs for oblivion while fearing it.

The scenario- emotional deadening. Oscillating between the two both of them dissemble, put on false selves before the other and hate themselves for doing so. Each is fearful of opening up, articulating need because they fear it may repel the other. They go to a marriage counsellor who gives them a moral structure to evaluate their marriage in. Before this undifferentiated framework their differences dissolve and they reconfigure, living on societal terms. But the despair deepens, intensifies, becomes a unfilled void. Yet some archaic, arcane impulse keeps them together. Attrition, atrophy of being, a slow death, a compromise, a negation of inner being. In short, the bare bones of postmodern alienation encased in the integument of freedom, broad mindedness, choice and emancipation.


A neurotic woman, possessive, obsessive. A man, magazine editor. She falls passionately in love while he encourages her heedlessly. Turns out he's married. She craves his being most when he becomes least accessible. Fosters jealousy for the wife. Threatens the man that she'll kill herself, blackmails him. Yet what she is living out and acting out is not love but self love. He, responding like a cad, alternating between guilt and resentment.
She decides he's unworthy but suffused with untapped anger. Attempts to kill herself, takes an overdose, lands up in ICU.Now at her point of inaccessibility the man develops a craving for her. Exercises charm, woos her back but makes clear he can't marry her. She agrees to a clandestine relationship. Now she gives her body, out of habit but her heart is elsewhere. Emotional deadlock. The man feels his desire mounting with her desirelessness. She withdraws from his primordial hunger. She, unable to walk out due to inertia. He, with increasing sexual hunger takes on other women lovers. His wife divorces him. He asks the woman to marry him but she refuses. Their relationship, in the name of freedom of choice, is a travesty of love and choice. Yet some impulse keeps them at it. They can't move on. This relationship is their reality. They live because they are emotionally barren because on the other side, madness lies.


Noble fervor and profound belief. Bordering on proselytization. Belief shored up by self belief. or self righteousness. Opinion than philosophy end in itself. Complacence and arrogance of wisdom, superior insight. Lack of visible moral impact. An indifferent world. Leads to questioning the world. Followed by self question. Self mirrors the world. So disillusion with self is disillusion with world. Layers of gauze stripping off . Disquieting dreams. Lucid perception of people with their masks on and off. Discomfiting knowledge of collective self deception. The humanist lens of affirming history turns to irony to self parody. An inner churning. Breakdown. Humanism as a category rendered redundant. Profound distress due to the new knowledge. Knowledge of a fragmented world and atomized people who not only unaware but self righteously hold on to their putative wholeness. To compassionate, empathize and understand people as being in a process , a continuum. Or to expose to them their double standard. Empathy and love prevails. Need for a new fluid structure, protean and tractable, necessitated. Needs to be worked through, etched out with the only human affirmative and that is love. Breakthrough hopefully imminent.

The blueprint of a novel

A young men gets involved, conscious yet unconscious into an abusive relationship. The reasons for it are as yet indiscernible but he gets involved. The young man lacks a core. He is a divided self. He gets into this trap because of his need to give love and be love. His is an existential split. But he remains unaware of this lacunae and gets into this exploitative space.

The man who abuses him has a complex mental history. Sometimes he says he has depression, sometimes OCPD. Yet it is not this man's appeal for sympathy that draws our young man in. Rather the abuser talks of himself with an angry parody, bitterness and aggressiveness that makes the young man see him as authentic. The abuser is narcissistic but incredibly well informed. He talks about people, things, theories in a very informed and intelligent way. So he represents an academic apotheosis which draws the young man in further.

The relationship begins with idealization and resignation and ends with emptiness. The young man has been sexually abused, violated, subjected to excoriating self doubt and undergo crises of being. There have been many moments of self realization but an inertia and masochism combined with low self worth has kept him in it. Once or twice the abuser has broken off, to test his strength and the young man has gone grovelling back, self abasing, seeking forgiveness he knows not for what.

The end of the affair. The young man is broken down, a husk of his former self, which itself was an inauthentic self to begin with. Faced with the prospect of the nothingness which the abuse, strangely had insulated him from rears its head. He becomes promiscuous, takes many lovers and then breaks off, hurt when his love is unreciprocated. He becomes hard, bitter, insouciant, wisecracking as a defense against hysteria. Three years later he publishes a novel on abuse, a self conscious, postmodern masterpiece. He wins the booker. Years of therapy yield nothing. He is tired of repeating himself ad nauseam and hearing the same platitudes uttered.All his life he has had intimations that could have led to something deeper, a higher knowing but his self conception as sufferer has bogged him down. He is writing a treatise on humanism, the need for people to kind and empathetic. Yet he knows not kind for what nor at what depth empathetic. So the abstract words float gossamer. The book, when published, does rather well

A novella blueprint

A man is hospitalized as schizophrenic. He is seen muttering, talking to himself, hallucinating and being delusional. He sees people as boxes with things arranged neatly in them. He beats against the wooden oblong crying to be let in, to be incorporated while he is simultaneously repelled by these boxes and the deadness they contain. He is terrified of being grabbed, squeezed, pulverized and made a box himself with his life, his experience set in neat bundles, orderly, arranged, coherent. He is violent with his doctors, has been sectioned 6 times and is unresponsive to medication. Newer drugs are tried, newer combinations. He is drugged to the point of torpor. He is being deadened, turned into what he was most terrified of. Through the crevices of drug induced slumber intimations of madness assail him. Unable to bear the trauma of indoctrination he commits suicide. Today all that remains are his grave with his name and his medical file, moldering amid the old ones.

Short story blueprint

A mature woman, with a management position, balanced, emotionally secure decides to secure a lover to alleviate her boredom. She meets a young man, younger than her who promises that detachment. Initially she is self congratulatory, finding herself in a space of her own choosing. Yet as the man's impassivity continues she becomes aware of a lack. She can't locate it or fix it but she knows its there. And she leaves him with mature, cordial emotion. What she realizes is that her boredom was her emotional deadlock, not the absence of stimuli. She had become emotional with a lover who had turned her down because she evinced detachment. 4 years later she hears that he is happily married. Angry, disdainful, frightened , terrified she takes another lover . She continues to be bored, feel emotionally empty and its restitution by defiance. She is in flight from her existential reality.

Short story blueprint

A young man, terribly depressed is told that he should meet more people, socialize more, to step out of his self. Yet the solution depresses him further because he sees in the countenances of his interlocutors the same emptiness which they are unaware of. Inundated by the burden of his own emptiness and the emptiness reflected to him by an empty world he tries to kill himself. At the moment of death he craves life most, the life that could be were things different. Yet kills himself, precisely to make that difference.

Short story blueprint

A young, idealistic man falls in love with a muslim girl. He is british. They meet frequently, exchange stories. He is enraged at the totalitarian environment she grew up in, her struggles. She is dismayed by his underlying parochialism and tendency to generalize. There is love but with a cancer at its core, the cancer of a fragmented world that negates deep experience . Both critical of each other's lack of 'feeling' feel for themselves and each other plenty of conflicted, contradictory impulses. They marry, as the only way to resolve this ambivalence. But at the cost of their soul

Short story blueprint

A lonely bipolar woman, unable to find an outlet for her emotions joins a manic depression forum. As she swaps stories with other bipolar patients she deludes herself of her compassion because she dishes out advice like an old hand, like a therapist. Whereas in actuality she is interested in expressing her symptoms, her views, her illness. And the stories she hears are in a desperate attempt to find a simulacrum of self validation while the advice she dishes out is both what she craves most and acts on least.

Short story blueprint

A thoughtful woman, with emotional depth, though unconscious of it , falls in love with a man. Initially the man is all attention and considerateness. He is demonstrative. Gradually, as her emotions deepen he withdraws from her. He fears engulfment, being subsumed. What they both don't realize is that man's fear is fear of involvement and the woman's is fear of rejection. They collude in their mutual self deception and part, heartbroken.