2015 - Mann Kasturi Re - Part III
One. Year. Without. Porn.
One. Year. Without. Porn.
Well, what an unusual way to begin reflecting over the year past. But anonymity will get the better of most men, or so I would like to believe, and I am no different.
As I sit on this Christmas eve, thinking over the various strands going on in my head, with Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City playing on my earphones, I must go back to the previous Christmas eve.
Admittedly, beginning a confessional with a discussion of one’s thoughts on porn wouldn’t count as too impressive, but I hope that impression changes by the time you reach the end of this.
Humans have various phases in their lives. The period from teenage to the time you reach thirty are your make or break years. Not only are we full of energy, responsive to new ideas and adequately equipped, physically and emotionally, to delve into those ideas and come up with something of our own, but also these periods groom us into who we are. Our personality emerges in this time.
Consequently, our emotions find multiple outlets – some constructive and some not quite so.
I would not say I am a particularly sexually frustrated person - I am as much as those of my age generally are. Yet there have been times when I just didn’t feel in any control whatsoever of my very own body. It seemed to have acquired a mind of its own and I would spend countless hours fighting a mental battle against the surges of hormones going within me. Days would turn into weeks, and weeks into months, and I would feel helpless beyond measure.
I realised how these times were my least productive, and why wouldn’t they be! I was unable to concentrate on anything of importance, things on my to-do list would keep piling up, and I would gravitate towards wallowing in feelings of self-pity, without fail. Ah, what a pity!
The problem with pornography is, that it is not the solution people think it is. It can’t reduce your sexual surges at all – on the contrary, it is pretty much designed to keep it alive. That is why people get addicted to porn – their solution becomes their problem.
An inexplicable phenomena concerning us humans is that, given enough time, we can put the blame of almost anything, upon anything. And we feel convinced with our conclusions, no less. So, our good old friend “ignorance” comes here to take the bullet.
Ignorance can, in many ways, be said to be the root cause of many of the negatives that plague human society – I personally believe that almost the entirety of man-made evil can easily be said to be on account of ignorance.
Ignorance of what a women’s modesty means to her, leads to rape, molestation, eve-teasing and a whole host of related misdemeanours.
Ignorance of the right of each man to equality, and of equal opportunity, leads to corruption, cronyism, nepotism and the like.
Ignorance of the right of each man to live leads to murder.
And so on.
Similarly, ignorance of what is good and bad for us leads to wrong choices which ultimately harm us. This is the realisation that made me determined to spend 2015 away from pornography. On deep reflection, I realised it was harming me as it wasn’t a medium that was helping me in venting out my pent up frustration. It was actually a shackle that was preventing me from lifting that veil of ignorance.
Once this was clear, I found it easier to stay away from it. And, on this Christmas eve, having completed one full year, I am feeling a bit satisfied. One more week and my target would be completed. But I intend to carry this further.
The irony is, I am unable to share this present sense of accomplishment I am feeling (and I am not sure to what extent I should gloat in it) with my friends and my close ones. I am not bold enough to accept being identified as the author of this confessional, so I must thank my friend Anant for giving me this opportunity, and medium, to share my thoughts.
I have chosen unconventional battles to fight. Like the one above. This also needed determination, although that is something I would like to believe, and not something that I can objectively declare. It did not seem so difficult to me – there wasn’t a time when I found myself tormented, with shivering hands trying to prevent me from watching porn on the net. Never. I never even felt like watching it. And yet, this is in sharp contrast to the state I used to be before I took the pledge last year. How do I explain this? I can’t. How could I have removed that physical and mental torment without any efforts on my part? Could that one realisation of the reality – that it was harmful for me – have done all the mental work for me? I don’t know.
I have witnessed my friends facing their own battles and demons. And I have seen many of them going on to greater things, or at least greater places and spaces, when they won those battles due to their efforts. Could I have been in a similarly better space if I had chosen my battles more cleverly? But then, what is a better space? Isn’t it one in a line of checkpoints, all occurring on the path that will eventually take you to the place where you will be able to fully realise your potential? But going by that definition, I am also in a better place as I have sort of learnt to control, or at least subdue, my sexual energy (well not really, but at least the worst phases haven’t occurred this year), consequent to which I am not wasting my time fighting those surges anymore, like I had wasted the year before. So I am closer to realising my potential than earlier.
Yet, mentally, I feel I could have fought a few more battles as well. I do not feel satisfied.
These chronicles wouldn’t be complete without telling about a new friend I made this year. Well almost(?).
It was the birthday party of a very dear friend of mine, and she was his friend. Although we were meeting and interacting for the first time, she knew about me for the past 4-5 years, through him.
After the treat, the entire group went to a friend’s place and people started retiring one by one. By , only the two of us were left. And then we spent three hours talking on a wide range of issues – the reasons I write poetry, the joys of gazing at the night sky, what does it actually mean to read something, our favourite authors, the difference between knowing something and experiencing something and so on. I was captivated. She was receptive, intelligent, and there was a mental connection I have rarely found with members of the opposite gender.
Naturally, I was flying high. I wondered what had just happened. I bemoaned why I didn’t meet people like her more often. I lamented the fact that I could not have such conversations on a daily basis. I brooded over the possibilities if I had met her earlier.
That conversation gave me a hangover. It was unlike anything I had felt in a long while – liberated, free, powerful, infinite.
I returned home on Monday morning but only recovered by Thursday. If that can’t convey to you what I was going through, nothing else can.
But then the coupling rod of the steam engine of our daily lives pushed forward, and we were decoupled. Hah! We chatted sometimes in the first month after we met, but have rarely interacted after that. It is easy for me to present a one-sided case by giving my arguments of why it all happened, but that wouldn’t be justified on her.
Anyway. The friendship seems to be dying a slow death. And that is such a shame.
What I want from my life, and how far I have moved towards or away ( hopefully not!) from it are questions that plague me every single day. But I won’t go into discussing them here (yes, you can breathe a sigh of relief!) for the simple reason that there is too much I would need to write and bore the reader with. But suffice it to say, there are good days and bad days. The last two days have been good, and that is why I am writing this piece at all. Had I tried a little earlier, or a little later, these words may never have had a physical manifestation, except as thoughts arising organically from the universe of neurons in my head.
Wish all of you a very happy 2016 ahead, and I hope you aim high, battle hard, and succeed.