As a struggling writer and successful stoner, I have been fascinated by the technicalities of getting high.
I don’t mean the effects of THC or ethyl acetamine or some chemical shit that happens in my brain; I couldn’t give lesser of a fuck about that. I am fascinated by the artistic, aesthetic side of it. How do my thoughts change when I get high? What really changes in perception of sounds and visuals?
This thought has lingered at the back of my head for a long time, floating out of my mouth occasionally when I blow out smoke. But then it would go back to the dark corridors of my brain, waiting to get out again, a skinny little Casper of a thought.
When I woke up this morning, I decided to pursue research on this topic. To shed light on this dark corner of my brain and find out the secrets once and for all. The day has begun on a good note, and there seems to be a lighter at the end of the tunnel.
I woke up at 7.45, wasted time on the phone till 8.45 and proceeded to brush, bathe, and step out for food. Thanks to Modiji, the ATMs are in incognito mode again, and I walked till I found a Kannada tiffin stalls. I have a soft corner for Kannada tiffin stalls – I am no foodie, and couldn’t care less about cuisines, tastes, nuances and Tarla Dalal. I will eat anything as long as it has enough salt and masala in it. There are quite a few of us, the Brethren of Dontgivafuk, who assemble at Kannada tiffin stalls to partake of the food. It’s quick, clean, and cheap – our own McDosalds. I packed three plates of idli for the brethren that live with me and took a quick bath.
And then, as I sat down to roll my joint for research purposes, I felt a bit like Jeff Corwin. The herbs of Dhoolpet were laid out, along with the other paraphernalia. I proceeded to roll a joint quickly, and succeeded in rolling an efficient one. Not a Kookaburra Kahuna Pro, but more of a BAS Vampire 500. I quickly made mental notes.
Objective: To study the paradigmatic shift in thought process after the consumption of Lord Shiva’s prasadam. To analyse the change in sensory perceptions.
Required material: Immaterial
Conditions under which study was conducted: Wednesday morning. Summer season. 10.30 AM.
Most stoners prefer smoking in large groups – sitting in a circle and discussing music, cinema and the space. Fuck those guys.
I prefer two, or a maximum of three guys. So you don’t have to look longingly at the joint, mentally calculating how long before it came to you, applying absurd cocktail of mathematics, psychology and astrology. A joint is best smoked between two people.
My friend has woken up and sent his manager a message that he would be chilling from home today – another message from the heavens. Finally, I wore my lungi and brown aviator shades and lit the joint.
The change is not drastic.
After all these years, it takes me about ten minutes for Mahaprasad to kick in. It begins slowly, but if you’re watching out for the signs, they are quite noticeable.
It begins with a slight numbing at the back of the head. But contrary to evil cousins Migraine and S.Headache, this is a gentle pain. The body’s posture is the next to get affected, it gets slouchy and relaxed. I am no Vivekananda, and I subconsciously shift a few inches to the back to lean on my cajon.
What follows is a craving for stimulation. I look around furtively to find all my devices low on battery. The phone is playing a Test innings, building up on a strong foundation of 16% battery, and my tablet was going down like a warrior, bleeding battery at 14% – I choose the tablet because I don’t like it too much.
My fingers float magically and click on the YouTube icon, firing up a range of videos I could watch. I see an interview of a music director I’ve been following – Vivek Sagar. I had seen the thumbnail of the video earlier, but never felt like clicking it.
The interview begins, and the interviewer asks him a few questions. He looks at her for a few seconds and then looks vaguely at the wall as he answers, his eyes shifty, his body language uncomfortable. A stoner!
I smile at the connection. But I’m researching! I cannot let me brain get swayed by emotions. Why did I smile? Would I have smiled normally, if I wasn’t stoned? Scientific questions shoot out of my brain, turn around and go right back into my own brain.
I give it some thought. I smiled because stoners deep inside believe that other stoners are good people. That in spite of their flaws and personality tics, there’s something about them that’s in the right place. It’s hard to tell if this is due to the nature of Sattiva Indica, or due to the Brethren of Bholenath that propagates the idea.
He is now talking about how it is always about struggle. That he never wanted to create music for ten films or anything like that, that he just wanted to make music. Ah! Yes. What a thought! Something strikes again! What is this? – my brain asks me.
I psychoanalyse my own thoughts, and find that when stoned, my emotions are run wild. I laugh like Bishan Singh Bedi, and cry like Kapil Dev. I am inspired by people, sights, sounds, words, sentences, songs, tunes, lines, writers, musicians, and Mimoh Chakravarty.
That’s the other thing! You notice that? I sometimes insert unnecessary jokes that kill the flow. I sacrifice the flow of a beautiful thought for a cheap laugh at the end. Did I always do that? Or it a recent addition to my armoury of sure-shot social arrows?
A song by the music director begins to play and the tunes sound clear to my head. When the drums crash, I can hear it like it’s in front of me. The sound of the bass guitar rings loud and clear. The perception of sound is astoundingly beautiful, thank you dear Lord!
I do a sub-conscious check of my surroundings. The joint is now at 25% levels, the song wafting out from the back of my tablet sounds the right amount of melodious. There are 3 packets of idli (parcel) in the other room, a bottle of water at arm’s distance, and my friend’s ‘chill from home’ request has been approved.
Satisfied that basic security criteria have been met, my brain gets up to close the shutters, to take a nap in the summer morning. There’s a bit of light seeping in from under the shutters, but the rest of it is dark and comfortable, with table fans and Symphony Air Coolers (with ice inside) keeping the surroundings clean. And slowly, the brain slumps into a fiesta of a siesta.
But hello brother! Research ka kya hua?
My brain gets up, shakes his head and slowly pulls the shutter up. It was a short nap, a powerless nap. What is happening? What observations and conclusions have you arrived at? – urgent questions that my brain throws at me.
I sit up and take stock of the surroundings. It is submission time! I bring out a mental pen, to fill out the mental notes. I might have to use a lot of filler words to hit the word limit.
Observations: Overall, the effects of the consumption of Mahaprasad could be said to be primarily of the sensual and aesthetic level. Basic alterations to the perceptions of the senses of the conductor of the experiment were noticed, and it was found that sounds seemed to undergo an enhancement. Conversations revolved around jovial and amiable topics.
The observant made an observation that the conductor of the experiment does not look people in the eye while talking to them, choosing instead to look at the space between their eyes and their lips – the vacant nose area because, naakon ke aankh nahi hote.
Effects: While the physical and mental effects were seen to wear off after a while, it was noticed that there were significant changes in the time-table of the observant. Before the experiment began, we found that there were clearly marked to-do lists for the day, arranged neatly in terms of priority and urgency.
However, after Mahaprasad was administered, it was found that the ideas that sprung up in the head were usually lofty, and sometimes far-fetched. It was found that the decisions taken had no grounding with immediacy, targets, or other worldly factors. For eg, the observant chose to write a blog on this topic, instead of choosing to attack the to-do list.
It was found that the observant chooses shots of dopamine over dollops of satisfaction from fulfilling targets.