Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I'll live like a hack

I feel like a hack—is one who exploits his creative potential to come up with dull, repetitive, menial work, for money. I don’t get that much money, and may be my professional work isn’t so trite after all. But that doesn’t make me any less of a hack. I’ve come to realize that talent means next to nothing. See me, for example. Things I have been for a living: software professional, editor. Things I can be: film critic, copywriter, scriptwriter, travel writer, teacher, columnist, cricket commentator, and may be mechanical engineer. Except engineering and scriptwriting, I’m sure I can be on the job with immediate effect. So, what should I make of it? Nothing. I only need enough money to do what I want to do. But for the money, I have to do something that incidentally files my core, making it fit snugly like a dovetail joint. May be then, I should decide on how much of a hack I’m prepared to be and how much money would fill my pockets.

One evening, about a year and a half ago—one of those evenings when my professional life was in limbo, those days of joblessness yet sheer ebullience at having given expression to thoughts simple and deep, at having distilled life into words that carried me to the threshold of a magnificent portal, that dressed up in the wardrobe of ideas and looked askance for my approval like a child up to antics for a share of his mother’s attention—on one of such days, I remember listening to Baba O’Riley for the longest time ever. And while the piano and the violin were played for me, I discovered my mojo, as if saying, “If you can make something brilliant, so can I.” And I wrote this as a part of something else.

Life in its myriad forms came forth and claimed territory. Dominions were disrespected. Fat, croaking frogs laid siege to unseen corners of houses and paid no rent. Lazy creepy crawlies stood their ground. When poked, and asked to move out, they coiled with insouciance and pretended to nap. Gregarious crickets carried on noisy conversations with aplomb. Bees hummed, guiding their brethren towards teeming hives in fusty garages. Butterflies floated from petal to petal, like promiscuous bodies, drinking from many bowls. Colonies of ants marched along damp walls in a single file like medieval infantries. Bugs formed clubs and societies and congregated with needless regularity to discuss trivial issues. Spiders roamed about intrepidly with open mandibles. House lizards preyed walls and chomped careless flies like hungry horses chomping oats. Greedy-gutted caterpillars gorged on leafy branches.

Maybe I should just fuck the money. Let everyone else take my share, if ever there was anything for me. I could not, should not, care less. You go fuck your money and lead your fucking mediocre lives. I’ll live like a hack one half of each day, and go home to create something brilliant.


Still searching said...

I think its one of the toughest calls, especially for those of us who have grown up in India where if you don't earn enough money, you're not good enough... choosing between what you can be and what you have to be is one of the toughest decisions, and I know I have compromised on who I can be just because I can't be rich through it... doesn't happen so often with people here in the US, I've noticed...

Anyways, hope you're able to come to terms with whatever it is that you choose to do.. meanwhile, happy new year!

nutty said...


I reached the same conclusions recently - to spend the minimum time required to make enough to support ones physiological needs and devote the rest of one's time and energies to satisfying the cravings of the soul. It's the only mid-way to being practical yet idealistic.

I wish you luck and strength!

satyajit said...

Still searching: Thank you. It's also a little ironical that you are "still searching" :)
and happy new year to you too!

nutty: i've found it hard to just detach myself from everything and get down to doing something fulfilling

nutty said...

I don't think I would find it difficult to detach myself and devote myself to a single cause ... I'm having trouble finding a cause worth being that passionate about.. is that really lame?

satyajit said...

nutty: I used to feel like that 2 years ago, but then I found what I wanted to do. But when you do find your calling, unless it offers you financial security, it may be difficult to pursue it single mindedly just for the love of it.

But it's not lame to not know what you're cut out for. It's just a matter of time, if you're truly on the lookout. Or else days will turn to months and you won't even realize that you have no dreams of your own. Then may be you'll get married and get busy and everything esle will be less important

nutty said...

you scare me!

no really .. it's difficult knowing what one is meant to do .. as corny as it sounds. All the same, I'm definitely on the lookout :)

I just know you have what it takes to do whatever necessary to pursue your passions. Good luck all the same :)

PritS said...

Know what!!!

I always thought that "film critic, copywriter, scriptwriter, travel writer, teacher, columnist, cricket commentator, and may be mechanical engineer." is possible for someone like you only. I still beleive in it. You can do it.
As alaways.

Anonymous said...

i did not have to remember where the lines came from. but if you respect your life and the return it gives you may be you should also have the space to think peoples lives are not as mediocre to their understanding or esteem as you think out for create something brilliant.because that is more a duty to you than anyone else. i dont dispute that. i see a lot of people hu are extremely satisfied with their work and what they do. some even say that for the work they do..they dont get paid that much...a lot of people are just so busy they dont have the time to reflect on what goes around with other people. i read this somewhere. " if u can good work. for one..there is far less competition. on the other side there are far too many people trying to take credit for it. so u do your work the best you can and leave the judgement part to the arm chair critics. because that is the easier part.

shantanu said...

"Go home and create something brilliant " --- very inspiring. Often not just create but read/learn and be a part of something brilliant.

Anyway all the best with that !!!!