The many trails of Alexander Supertramp.

Into the wild is a difficult film to watch as a parent and a child. For a child of the eighties when career goals were key and following the family credo was crucial, Christopher McCandless and his travels into the wild seem like a fool’s errand and cautionary tale rolled into one. For the parent of a millennial, the fear always exists that Christopher’s romantic notions of a cashless lifestyle, living like a nomad and purely subsistence living may lead impressionable minds astray.

And yet, at the back of one’s mind is the niggling doubt that he may well have torn through the myth of human life and sought it’s core. Life is about experience and understanding oneself through it. His staunch belief that careers are a 20th century invention notwithstanding, Christopher was a prime candidate for American style success. Engaging, fun to be with, turning strangers into family, he is like the character of Gerda in the Grimm fairytale, The Snow Queen. Somehow adversity turns into opportunity for her and she finally finds the love of her life. Christopher seems to be seeking that kind of fairytale ending too. There are many demons in his life that he has to slay and they all seem to stem from his father’s second life, complete with another wife and child. And yet he has to acknowledge that he is his father’s son in spirit too, since he has the same capabilities and intelligence and fire in his belly to get after more than what life seemingly has to offer.

For most of us nature or the wild does not exist, since it was torn down to make way for the house we live in. We don’t know much about habitats where many organisms share the same space, resources and co-exist and sustain each other. We do of course follow the law of survival of the fittest when it comes to employment, though. And yet, the Darwinian theory is also about change, of self and environment and how that works both ways. We change the environment and it changes us.

For Christopher, the wild was the home where he hoped to truly come into his own, find that blissful contentment that his urban life had driven him to seek. He hoped the sojourn in the wild would open his mind and heart and heal the ache inside and renew him. Imagine his chagrin, when he finds that even the wild is about timeliness, the daily cycles of light, dark, feeding, finding palatable water and trying to stay warm, dry, clean, healthy. Finally, most ironic of all is his longing for his own kind whom he has pretty much shunned by his act of walking into the wilds of Alaska.

To imagine that changing the location will purify the soul is not a far fetched idea to me. After all, I’m an Indian who has been on the pilgrimage circuit. But, it won’t. However, travel is a great teacher and something which we all can and should do within reasonable limits. You have to respect the terrain you visit and make sensible choices. Follow the locals and don’t create any trouble for them and yourself. And lastly stay connected to people who care to know where you are.

By the end of his short, eventful life, Christopher was seeking to reach out to the family he left behind. Perhaps, he realized that the bliss he sought would be found in the home he’d left behind.

Note to reader: this review is dedicated to urban nomads, people who live in mini homes, Eco friendly lifestyles and subsistence farming.

The change :2

Once upon a time in a mythical story, a dynasty had property issues. So, they took the easy way out and handed over a vast tract of forest to the unwanted appellants and considered it a done deal. However as the new owners of the forest realised, their troubles had just begun. There was no way they could tame or civilize this forest and live to reign over it.

A stranger showed up one day claiming to be hungry. Paupers but still princes at heart, his hosts asked him what they could serve him. He glanced at the dense forest around them and said, this should do. A raging ball of fire swept through the forest, sweeping up all that came in its way and turned it to ash. The smog cleared and the dazed heirs realized they had destroyed a mighty living habitat, a world with many worlds within, a home where prey, predator, parasite, and producer lived in a fine balance.

It was only later when the debris was being cleared that it became evident that there were remains of humans, some tribal settlers, some nomads who had been consigned to the flames.

To cover up the desolate landscape and the desolation of the new rulers, their mentor sent over a creator who built them a gleaming, magical citadel with unexpected surprises by way of illusions created by mirrors and so on. And yet none of these man-made marvels could ever match up to the wonders of nature that were destroyed just because rulers can’t inhabit, they must conquer and control and dominate.

What has changed since then? I write now of the events of kathua and the fate of the Bakerwals. Nothing. The same deliberate brutality was used to show the nomads who is boss and make them feel unwelcome. People who live in homes with facilities to make their lives easier were urged to mistrust others who are different by way of lifestyle choices and skills. And skilled at tackling nature which teaches resilience and adaptability first of all.

In all the political and social media babble that followed, I was struck by the fact that the attitude of those governing our nation was pretty much, it’s done, so let’s get on with it.

Perhaps this land will be burnt to a cinder just so a privileged few can recreate a palace of smoke and mirrors where nothing is real?

Dedicated to Tassaduq Mufti and the girl who loved apples and horses.

To blog or not to blog.

I’m stuck in a strange groove. Can’t seem to write and certainly don’t want to read. Particularly not newspapers. Why?

I begin each day with the firm intent that I will read or blog about something. I end up reading a bit but when it comes to blogging, there is a doubt in my mind. Who wants to know what I think? Does it matter what I think? Will my thoughts on any matter affect it at all?

Honestly, I can’t tell. All I can do is think, write, feel, and try to resolve my own confusions in the process of putting these thoughts out.

PS: this was triggered by a pioneer YouTuber who was disgruntled by social media and its lack of authenticity and expressed the same on a public platform. I do not agree with all that was said, but do agree that we can speak up and must.