Asymptote

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
(Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that were supposed to define us as human beings, and propel us to greatness. But have they? We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but we haven’t yet valued humanity. We assign numeric values to each other, demarcating our universal existence with lines and borders that have no meaning. The chaos, despair, and senseless destruction we see today are a result of the alienation that people feel from each other and their environment.

We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We may not share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive.

From cosmic perspective, every one of us is precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. However, there are people who are discriminating by nature. They live inside a box and think people who don’t fit into their box are weird. I believe this lot of morons are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance.

Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human – in not having to be just happy or just sad – but in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time. We are all ordinary. We are all special. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all zeroes.


Zero is the number people often feel, more so than one.
This verse is the retelling of the story of an entity that’s considered a ‘nullity’ by the society, but through determination, courage and love, it proves: even ‘nothing’ can truly be ‘something’. 


There lived two zeroes at a distant place
Bound by love of mighty force
Glowing from joy in each other’s face
Though numbered world clogged their course.

Bound by love of mighty force
Their hearts were entwined by one desire
Though numbered world clogged their course
To oblivion’s lair they would never retire.

Their hearts were entwined by one desire
Nothing could ever come in their way
To oblivion’s lair they would never retire
Rearing infinity with love and play.

Nothing could ever come in their way
Glowing from joy in each other’s face
Rearing infinity with love and play
There lived two zeroes at a distant place

 


The title: Asymptote

In analytic geometry, an asymptote of a curve is a line such that the distance between the curve and the line approaches zero as they tend to infinity. In some contexts, such as algebraic geometry, an asymptote is defined as a line which is tangent to a curve at infinity.

The word asymptote is derived from the Greek ἀσύμπτωτος (asumptotos) which means “not falling together”. The term was introduced by Apollonius of Perga in his work on conic sections, but in contrast to its modern meaning, he used it to mean any line that does not intersect the given curve.

The poem is named ‘Asymptote’ from a social perspective. The world has been considered as a curve, and its inhabitants are merely the values of nature’s equation. This verse serves as a cry against discrimination that often occurs in various forms: gender, caste, colour, creed, class, language, or religion. The plights that are caused by these atrocities are of infinite degree. Hence, a reminder:

“We are but wisps of air, there are no heroes
Born surreal, yet real, like conjoined zeroes
Infinity, with a smiling face and tiny toes.”


Rhyming
 form used: Pantoum

The pantoum is derived from the pantun, a Malay verse form – specifically from the pantun berkait, a series of interwoven quatrains. The pantoum is a form of poetry similar to a villanelle in that there are repeating lines throughout the poem. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next. This pattern continues for any number of stanzas, except for the final stanza, which differs in the repeating pattern. The first and third lines of the last stanza are the second and fourth of the penultimate; the first line of the poem is the last line of the final stanza, and the third line of the first stanza is the second of the final. Ideally, the meaning of lines shifts when they are repeated although the words remain exactly the same. (Source: Pantoum, Wikipedia)


Inspiration for the poem: Zero

The poem is inspired by Zero, a 2010 stop motion short animation film, by an Australian husband and wife film-making duo, Christopher and Christine Kezelos. This dark fairytale takes place in a world where the inhabitants are born into a numerical class system. Faced with constant prejudice and persecution, an oppressed Zero walks a lonely path until a chance encounter changes his life forever: he meets a female Zero.

Zero employs innocently cute characterization which directly contrasts the dark themes of racism and intolerance underlying the story. The movie won the award for ‘Best Animation’ at the LA Shorts Fest and the Rhode Island International Film Festival. It also won an award for ‘Best Achievement in Sound’ at the Flickerfest International Film Festival.

Watch the movie below. (Please pause the background music to stop interference while playing the video. You can do so from the “♪ Roll your Soul ♫” section on the right. Sincerest apologies for the inconvenience caused.)

In case your flash player is giving problem, you can also view it here.


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Copyright © 2012-2013 Tanumoy Biswas and The Nomadic Soliloquist. All Rights Reserved.

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72 comments on “Asymptote

  1. Wonderful poem, and by the way, the music “Bombay Theme” is one of my favourites, loved the film too – reminds me of the time I was sitting on my Chennai balcony, listening to old and new A.R. Rahman songs. 🙂 Also, thank you for liking poems on my blog.

  2. Excellent blog post! I love the thought that life has infinite possibilities. The video was sad, pinged heavy on my heart honestly… but proves, man may destroy another’s will but when it comes to soul-mates, God’s path will win out. Thank you for another delightfully insightful reading. You always amaze me!

    • Thank you so much, Caoimhe!
      Yes I agree, the movie had a sad touch to it… but from sadness rises joy… and so happened at the end of it. 🙂

      It’s really inspiring to know that even I could amaze… I’ll try to do so more and more… and in a better way, every time… 🙂

  3. “We may not share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive.” Beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and I’ll be back to read some more!

    • Ah Jyoti, you honour me greatly! Even I stay baffled at times… not knowing whether I’m fit to hold a pen or not… but then such miracles as this happen, reassuring me that I may keep ‘trying’… 🙂

  4. Needless to say… for, you probably know how many times I tiptoed in here and sat in silence, relishing this Marvel. Indeed, I feared my words would take the magic out of it. No, honestly I sat speechless — touched by the brilliance of your majestic mind.

    Pantoum… how skillfully you have this piece sculpted. I still am speechless!
    Nonetheless, you made me wish a little wish… “for my akin zero to come, so as to make us infinite”… How accurately and precisely are we misunderstood by the ‘numbered world’.

    Huzoor, kaisi kaisi aarzoo ye jagaate ho aap apni qualm k lahoose.
    *looking for a star to wish upon*

    • *sits and smiles for a while, admiring the words*
      I fear, the disease of speechlessness is getting contagious now… 😛 *beware beware*

      I had no idea, what I started this with, and what I ended this with… just flowed with my thoughts… from mathematical asymptotes to literary pantoums… the journey was one of a kind! And once it ended, I just wondered, what have I done! Is this even making any sense! But then here you are, making wishes “for my akin zero to come, so as to make us infinite”, and looking for stars… Ah, time for me to enter the speechless mode… shukraan Sahiba!

      “Dil keh raha hai use musalsal kar bhi aao
      Wo jo ruki si raah baaki hai
      Wo jo ruki si chaah baaki hai…”

      • Oh it made perfect sense, and I think you have created a marvel here — a pantoum. And I feel, simply by raising the topic of our ‘numbered world’, you have stabbed the mind with your pen, to look within ourselves and ask “should we rather have ‘one’ before our ‘zero’ or after it”… Well, I for one, truly relished the piece!

        aur…

        “dil keh raha use mayassar kar bhi aao
        wo jo dabi si aas baaki hai
        wo jo dabi si aanch baaki hai”

        Aadaab huzoor!

        • Ah, what a relief to know that even I could do ‘something’ from ‘nothing’ as well… 😛

          And you raised a wonderfully insightful question too: “should we rather have ‘one’ before our ‘zero’, or after it?”… wow! Amazed by your profundity of thoughts, Sahiba. Shukraan once again! 🙂

          aur…

          Aapne ye gaana bhi sunn liya… arey wah! Mere pass koi alfaaz nai… How do you do it every time?
          (Oh, I auto-corrected it for you… 😉 )

      • *smile*
        Huzoor, the same way you do it — and that too so effortlessly.
        Ah, I like the later “autocorrection method” better. Shukria.

  5. Beautifully written, beautiful poem!
    “…being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”
    This resonates with me deeply.
    Off to watch Zero!

    • Thank you so much, Dara! I’m so glad to know that I could touch your heart with this humble piece of mine… and yes, do watch the 12-minute video… it’s a lovely one! 🙂

  6. You have an individuality in the way you present your thoughts in prose.
    I am a ‘nobody’ [a zero 🙂 ] to comment upon such fabulous poetry.
    I have no idea about stanza, rhyming forms, etc etc.

    For me, poetry is what touches my heart in places so deep and am moved with the words to a world in a far away place, and makes my mind think and ponder and wonder in amazement at the simplicity of life we complicate by our worldly thoughts.

    And you, my dear, are a real poet to the very bone in you! 😀
    And what you write is poetry in its truest form. And I am moved by every piece, every word.

    At times, you might not see me leave a comment, for I feel too meek to comment on such greatness.

    • Ah Amira! How blissfully do you reach the soul with your words… your words are like a time-machine, taking me to dungeons of hidden emotions where I fear to tread… but once I reach there, I gleefully discover that they are so beautiful, like shining pearls in an oyster shell!

      Thank you for your lovely words of appreciation… but honestly, I’m no poet… I just pour out my soul here, in whatever form I may… music, prose, pictures, poetry… in every form possible… and it pleases the heart to know that you loved it. Like I said earlier, comments are just formalities, I don’t look for a formal connect… the heart’s corner is what I seek. Shukraan! 🙂

      • oh gosh
        your comments are as heart warming as your ‘formal’ posts 🙂

        and ‘time-machine’ that can reach into emotions… you sketched a picture of emotions as vast as the universe with those few words.

        glad to have met you, looking forward to exchanging more riddling words. keep writing and spreading the joy of words.

        on another note, your name – Biswas sounds very Indian and kind of familiar. But Tanumoy… Tanumoy… such a unique name, but it twists my tongue, if I may say so 🙂
        How do you pronounce your name Babun?

        • The feeling’s mutual Amira, glad even I am. 🙂

          Well, ‘Biswas’ is my family name.. hence the familiarity… it means ‘belief’… it’s a Bengali surname… I come from Bengal… so you must have heard it somewhere. 🙂
          ‘Tanumoy’… well, that surely has always been a tongue-twister! And add to that the mind-boggling meaning it carries in Bengali… it stands for ‘erotic’… *just imagine* Only my late grandpa knows what he intended when he formally named me so! 😛

          And, ‘Babun’ is not even my name… it’s just what my grandma used to call me, and no one else did… It’s pronounced like ‘Baa-boon’ (‘Ba-‘ as in ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, and ‘-bun’ as in ‘boon’.) 😀

          (Now don’t turn me into some tree-swinging ‘baboon’! I already am an official ‘believer of eroticism’! *sigh* *my names*) 😛

        • A beautiful last name.
          And my God, what a name you have Tanumoy! 🙂 I should say your Grandpa is one of a kind.
          Could the meaning be exotic? or sensual, or affectionate!
          Whatever it is, I like your name and the meaning that can be associated with it. Erotic is just one extreme one – your Grandpa did not mean that.
          I’m sure you know that our name defines our personality to a great extent. And what I read on your blog shows a very beautiful soul. Everyone should name their sons ‘Tanumoy’. I say your name in Bengali means ‘affectionate’. 🙂

          Ah yes, Babun is not your name. It’s the sweet nickname given by your late grandma. And it’s such an affectionate name too. And don’t worry I never had a difficulty in pronouncing it. And it’s your Grandma’s special name, so it shall only be reserved for her.

        • Hahah! Thank you once again… I would say, it’s ‘affectionately exotic’. 😛

          You are free to call me by any name you wish to… it’s not that only my grandma is entitled to do so. And you humble me greatly with your appreciation… I just try to pour out whatever small quantity of positive parts I have inside me, for we all have a darker self inside us and I’m no exception… 🙂

          With your kind words, you brightened me up even more… how lovely it feels every time you pay a visit here!

  7. What a great message. I really enjoyed the short film. Just think, the zeroes were taught they have no value and the upper numbers believed it too…but how would the bigger numbers know their own worth if they didn’t have “nothings” to compare it to? We tear others down to make ourselves feel important. I hear it all the time in my little Mid West town, they think the problems in this world boil down to the faults of “others”, e.g. the poor are too lazy and live off of hard working people’s taxes, people of other races are violent or uneducated and people of other faiths are at war with God…They honestly believe these things and thus alienate themselves from individuals who fall conveniently into their predetermined groupings. It’s sometimes rather stifling and I feel myself losing my ability to hold my tongue.

    At what point will people learn to discover their own tendency to project their evils onto others? At what point will we see beyond race, color, religion, etc. and just see another soul?

    I’m not asking for answers, I just feel the need to constantly pose the questions.

    I have hope that humanity WILL figure this out. It starts with me figuring it out and I feel like I’m getting closer all the time.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    • “…how would the bigger numbers know their own worth if they didn’t have ‘nothings’ to compare it to?” – I simply sat for a while and admired the beautiful thoughts you shared here. I’m still in awe of your words… how true you sounded! It felt, I’m talking to my other self – exactly what I thought of but was unable to express, exactly what I wanted to tell but was unable to pen down!

      “It’s a complicated jungle ‘outside’, in our world” – we generally say… But I believe, it’s not the world or the outside that’s messed up, it’s the ‘inside’, the “me”, the “you”, the “we” — and we hardly realize that. We propose policies, attend meetings, conduct elections, wage wars, sign treaties… but, we don’t ask ourselves, “are we being ‘we’?”

      What an insightful discussion! You opened me up into a wide array of things today. I cannot thank you enough for being here, for reading this humble attempt, for striking the deeper chords inside me… Peace and best wishes. 🙂

  8. Very lovely, as usual… filled with inspiration and joy… I have always been intrigued by infinity… perhaps just the symbol… how existence loops over and around itself… or maybe the idea of all that is continuing without a foreseeable end… wow, a powerful thought… Cheers to you ~lenise~

    • Thank you so much, Lenise! I so agree with you on the mystery of infinity… it surely is one intriguing entity… it can never be grasped, and is present in so many forms, in so many things… Like Grant Morrison said, “The interior of our skulls contains a portal to infinity.”

      Glad you liked this. Cheers! 🙂

  9. The word ‘exquisite’ came into my thoughts as I read…
    You have a wonderful gift that you articulate very well…
    This is a wonderful post!!!
    Take Care
    )0(
    ladyblue

    I have been meaning to ask if you painted the picture at the top of your page…
    I like it very much…

    • Thank you so much… you make the heart merrier with your kind words. With every visit here, you bring more joy to my soul.

      And the picture at the top of the page is not my creation… I can’t take the credit for that. 🙂

      Peace and best wishes
      )0(
      Tanumoy

  10. “We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We may not share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive.” … I cannot get over this part, beautiful writing!

  11. I too liked the passage mentioned just above. And that we are all zeros. I think along these lines all the time… It’s interesting to think of all of the zeros coming together right here on your blog… Joined by an interest in one blog post in one moment (and probably more) for all time.

  12. I LOVED this post of yours. I’d call it a ‘philosophical approach’. Kept me reading till the end! The poem, as usual, is FANTASTIC!
    We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. So true.

  13. Pingback: Words within Worlds, Worlds without Words | The Nomadic Soliloquist

  14. ‘This verse serves as a cry against discrimination that often occurs in various forms: gender, caste, colour, creed, class, language, or religion. The plights that are caused by these atrocities are of infinite degree.’

    … and the words, your poetry transcendent as is love. Thank you for this gift Tanumoy, a validation of so many of my questions in beautiful verse.

    ::::namaste::::

    • Thank you so much! And your words are as enlightening as ever. I’m glad I could stir up some part in you with this humble offering. And also glad that you left your footprints here. Namaste. 🙂

    • Oh wow, Michael! Thank you so much for this. I accept it gleefully and will complete the formalities in some time. Thank you once again, and congratulations on your fourth! Yayy! 😀

  15. Oh my God! What a beautiful post and what a deep understanding of universal truth! I love the way you arrange your posts also — writing, photography — all creates a cozy impression. You definitely run it on Anahata 🙂

    • Oh, thank you so much Sofia! This post is one of my favourites! I just write whatever the soul directs me… and photos, well, I won’t take credit of them (they are from the internet, I just choose them to fit my write-up)… I’m so glad I could connect with you on this post! *all smiles*

  16. ‘but we share the air that keeps us alive.’ – nullity, even nothing can can truly be something – this music, Tanumoy, it’s amazing..
    — “We are but wisps of air, there are no heroes
    Born surreal, yet real, like conjoined zeroes
    Infinity, with a smiling face and tiny toes.” —
    We’re all different, and yet the same. Because as you said, we share the same air, if not anything else.
    “Rearing infinity with love and play-There lived two zeroes at a distant place…”
    Infinity! How intriguing, unachievable? Or just too far. Infinite. Closer, somewhere. Everywhere.
    “Bound by love of mighty force
    Their hearts were entwined by one desire”-
    I know I’ve commented on this post before. But told you your posts are magical!
    Come back, you’ve had a long exile.
    Best wishes,
    Maria.

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