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to a 'punk' friend

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zen_spirit

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You’ve asked us in your scrapbook if we thought of punk as bad. And have wondered if people in general really believe it's bad to be a punk. No doubt you’ve had to hear ‘a lot’! Sometimes i’ve myself been a witness to the unfair attitude some fellow students and staff member would show towards your ‘punk’ ways, esp. appearance. And have heard them mutter among themselves a thing or two directed at you. And that, too, by young souls like ourselves no less. I can’t pretend or presume to know what punk really is or what it means or represents so as to be able to authoritatively elaborate here. I had only known it to be a musical genre and a fashion statement (I’m not even sure whether or not my terminologies are correct here) until few details and symbolisms I came to make out from you. And was actually impressed by your knowledge about along with your ‘involved’ adherence to what is recognized as punk. Excepting that, to date I barely know punk in it’s essence or spirit (the only way of knowing something/somebody to that extent, for me, is living it/with). But what I believe I know here (in my own ignorance, of course) is that 'good' or 'bad' can hardly be generalized. It's much about the individual and not the whole bunch of people following this way of life or that. I've heard about corrupt cops and charitable thugs, read about hard-drinking Churchill and vegetarian Hitler, believed in the existence of sword-wielding monks and devout ladies-of-the-night. Who can verdict for sure whether something is really good or bad? Who remains ‘bathed-in-milk’ when judgments and preconceptions crop up in mind in a thousand and one ways like it does usually? What about the ‘share’ of contexts, situations and specific environment when it comes to labeling something or somebody as ‘good’ or ‘bad’? (for they greatly vary here and there) Who can draw a clean, universal line in between where the realm of ‘good’ ends and where that of ‘bad’ begins? ... and vice versa. And what exactly are these ‘good’ or ‘bad’ anyways? Meat might be bad for a monk ( as is said) but is certainly good for a rigorous weight lifter (as is evident). Morphine's good for a bullet-injured soldier but bad for an abuser. A machete’s good in your hand if you’re in the middle of a hostile forest but bad if you want to board a passenger airliner. A bit of guts and action is good if it’s spontaneous and urgent need of the hour in facing danger or injustice but bad if it’s for some thespianlike ‘effect’ or ‘show off’ merely. Physicality is good when it's part of a healthy relationship and understanding but bad (i suppose) if it drives you to seedy places and people with potential to ruin you and your people. So it all depends, i guess! My belief is - if something makes you feel good, boosts your confidence, enhances your creativity & health, is your way of life and above all, keeps you happy then its 'good' for you no matter what other people might perceive or say it to be. But if the same thing makes you feel bad, slashes your confidence, erodes/obstructs your creativity& health, is not up to your aptitude & is burdensome, and above all, keeps you unhappy, then it's 'bad' for you no matter what other people might perceive or say it to be. Again, this is my personal version of what i see as good or bad for an individual which might or might not correspond with those of others. Everybody have their own ways of belief about thing(s) in question which i tend to consider or dismiss depending on the ‘intent’ or ‘stance’ of my belief. And as the very basis of complicated human behavior (survival + growth instinct at core, perhaps) everybody makes use of these ‘intent’ and ‘stance’ mechanisms. Can’t be helped surely. And it goes round and round like there’s nothing called ‘the end’- these phenomenon of one’s (and everyone’s) version of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’! They’re a total brain-squeezer and an ultimate peace-killer if you give them more thoughts than necessary. So I’ll only say that one will fare well if she/he alone decides on what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for her/him in her/his own individual context(s) and not try impose it on other individuals walking around the various avenues of life in their own shoes (nor judge their color basing it on the color of lens that one wears). As for punks once again, i suppose there are millions of punks around the world (excuse me, statistics!) and i’d like to believe they’re all different in their nature, more or less - say, some down-to-earth, some braggadocio, some misanthropic, some philanthropic, some romantic, some dry, some hell hardworking, some simply slack, some optimistic, some pessimistic, some rude, some amicable, some into drugs and some clean and blah blah (along with those standing somewhere in the middle in terms of all these traits). Furthermore (with generalizations apart), each one of them are unique or different in their own ways, I’m sure. Since no two people are ‘the same’ (the work of jocular Almighty or future ‘clone scientists’ might be an exception, though). And it’s not so in the sphere of punks alone but in the spheres of every kind of women and men our old Sun has seen from above be them techies, tribals, bohemians, wanderlusts, warriors, bureaucrats, painters, police, writers, hip-hopsters, leftists, scientists, socialites, veggies, non-veggies, homos’, heteros’, monks, mechanics, paparazzi, poets and so on and on. Therefore, be at ease! And breathe in peace, my seriously creative buddy! I wish you remained focused on guitar you’re crazy about, and lyrics you mull over, and music you’re making and ‘ajhai daami’ music (i remember you say) you wanna make in the days to come. And i sincerely believe you’re capable of it. Also I wish you kept it calm and did not give a jot about some peoples’ prejudiced attitude towards what is your way of life and means a lot to you. Your creativity, happiness and personal freedom counts far above the snarl of their fickle sneer. Fact is, they don’t really care. There are a lot of individuals who’re not liked by them for not being like them- the cautious, confirming, comfortable lot! So don’t let them bug you. I know you personally and know well you’re far from my version of ‘bad’. You are, as far as my view is concerned, a laborious guy skilled in your craft with your own kind of personality- passionate, buoyant generally, bit talkie at times(i understand it as part of your enthusiasm), almost single-minded about music, unconventional - although down sometimes and above all, not into drugs. And for the time being, still learning and struggling through with really promising performances. You’re anything but bad for me. Nor is punk in itself. It is, as it appears to me with my limited comprehension, a different expression, a sort of rebellion against the mundane and the conventional, a vibrant way of life for certain people, and is meaningful to numerous punks around the world if not to all. Nothing in this world is meaningful to all and meant for all. Were it so our world would’ve become either heaven or hell for sure (later is more probable). But it's not so & therein lies the difference and life’s meaning if there be any meaning at all. Our world is world and a colorful, chaotic, fascinating world with infinite surprises and shocks in store simply because there’s variety and diversity in every aspect(s) of life encompassing the living amid the non living. Therefore, my only response to you ( more a request if it avails but certainly not a persuasion ), as a friend and as a respondent, is that you rejoice in what is yours and what you have and what you hold as dear. I see you as a real potential, a hard-working cub into music and a young rebel (we’ve had enough of them political rebels and need more like you in various fields and walks of life in Nepal at least). If you don’t give up, there are chances you can go the distance leaving behind your own milestones for other to see and learn from for creativity. In the least, you’ll be contributing to the music of Nepal reaching and binding numerous Nepalis’ within and across Nepal (also the cultural apart from geographical). You’ll be satisfying the musical thirst of numerous people you haven’t even seen or known (nor you’ll ever see nor know) in person. Will that be a small feat? I don’t have to answer it, I’m sure. I may not have brought it into words when we were under the roof of same institution but I always respected you and was proud of you for your passion and leaning towards music. I still am. And my best wishes are always with you, mate! just that you be yourself and ‘rock on’ your way!

 

P.S. I particularly remember one incident at college. Once while talking music I asked you why you were not, with such potential, doing music studies instead of Development Studies? And your reply was (as exact as I can now recall),” For my family and kids later, of course! You know the payback of music in Nepal! Music is for me. And this course is for them - just in case! ‘Coz in future if I’m not able for provide well for them all that they deserve, it’ll be like beating nothing but empty buckets - this music I so love! And I don’t want that”. I nodded with a smile. Couldn’t agree more. Now, should I ever doubt your goodness ensuing a sense of responsibility manifest in your above answer? I’m clear about my conclusion. And I’ll choose to leave it unto others to see for themselves how they see you or want to see you.

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