Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Burrrrthday Dear Jeeeee-sus

My mother is sitting in the next room and reading out next year's horoscopes from a Bangla Magazine. Apparently, she will fall ill Sometime in the course of 365 days (would you believe it?!) and her children-especially the first-born- will have trouble concentrating on studies. Well I'm not complaining. Hopefully I will do something productive in my distracted haze-- like catch up on movies-criminal-to-not-have-seen, go cycling somewhere I've never been, stop rhyming unintentionally and actually write something meaty.


'Meaty' reminds me, I had one of the most Satisfying Christmas dinners of my life this 24th. At a place called KK's Fusion in Swabhumi. I don't know if they're always as good as we found it, but yesterday they were on TOP of their game- from the soup, to the Turkey in Blackberry Sauce to chocolate pancakes stuffed with ice-cream. The way I ate yesterday was verging on obscene, but hell, it's the 21st century. We have no standards. We is bad. We is cool. We is bold and beautifool. (What, I never said I'd stop rhyming intentionally. That was intentional, yes.)

And I don't care if I become fat. Fat is a social stereotype. Fat is in the eyes of the beholder. Fat is as fat does. Wait, fat isn't even derogatory so why am I trying to disprove its existence?

Indulge me, this is my Birth Month. I'm glad I was born a December Baby. Although my parents didn't ask me whether I was up to braving a turbulent and tainted world, they made some good decisions. This is a time when everything sparkles in the sunlight- be it a defunct Daisy Duck Clock by my computer, or coconut trees across the road. 'Coconut trees?', you think... wiggle an eyebrow if you're into dramatics. But wonder no further my friend, I'm not in Hawaii or Goa. This is just a pretty part of Salt Lake. Ignore the fact that beyond the slender, graceful Cocos nucifera lies a putrid canal- referred to expressively as 'Keshtopurer Khaal'. And remember, there are advantages to living in a place far away from everyone you like.

Another cool thing about December is-why pretend?- gifts. My Grandma is Mother Christmas. Roly-poly, twinkly-eyed, each wrinkle radiating the vibrance and warmth of laugh lines- aar ke hobe? Dida hasn't been very mobile for almost a year a now. But she has this amazing network of people who'll act as her scouts with the enthusiasm of little boys at role-playing computer games. And every year, I'll find her sitting on the bed, with a stuffed jhola on her lap and a smile of serene anticipation on her face. One can almost hear a soft voice whispering 'just for you' and 'look what I've got' from all corners.
That smile of hers would paint an empty card with Christmas Colours.

Of course, I have the good luck of knowing Mrs. Claus jr. too. Anumita Das. Among the things she gave me for my birthday this time, one was a selection of Neruda- in English AND the original. You know what? I will learn Spanish. I could never make 'No Ammonia' sound orgasmic like Penelope Cruz does in the Loreal Ad. But I WILL be a professor of Literature and read out Neruda in the original to my class. And everybody will go- 'Duuuuude, that was hot!'
Ok, don't run away. Indulgence. Birth Month. Remember?

But you know, I think I Could teach for a living, at least for a few years.
I was teaching my chauffeur's daughter English that day, and it was tough because her school has done NOTHING in preparing the foundation. They expect her to TRANSLATE and make sentences when they don't give her practice in spelling-dictation. She has no idea about how to string together words with prepositions. It was a challenge, trying to make her grasp the basic concepts. Without slipping into jargon or getting pulled along by the tide of technicalities sweeping through my brain. But I REALLY enjoyed it! There's something so fulfilling about watching comprehension dawn on a previously blank face, and detecting a glint of pride where uncertainty used to rule. I'm going to catch hold of her as regularly as possible, whether she likes it or not.
An entirely different but equally challenging experience was teaching one of Eliot's obscure poems to my 14 yr-old brother. Eliot, class 9, you heard it. How doth the little Council improve its shining status. How can a teacher explain open-ended Spiritual Conflict to a class already trained in wringing 'messages' out of literature? These things make me want to do something revolutionary. Pardon the fantastical choice of word.

Anyway, since it is MerryChristmas and nearly HappyNewYear, I will end on a suitable note.
Snatches of the past week----
Certain relatives of mine are so much fun when high. Think of someone poring over a menu card and going- 'Pork Steak. Palk Strait. Pork Steak. Palk Strait.' She also said- 'Ei size-zero Santa. Where is your bhuri?' to this man in Santa Costume. Admittedly, he wasn't as rotund as they used to make 'em.
And I'm still not over Carol Night in DI. HIP-HOP to a REMIXED Christmas Carol.
'Lala dhik chik. Your Christmas Tree's Delicious.' In addition, there were references to grinding topless which I don't remember word for word. I Had to choose between righteous anger and hysterical laugher. I go for the 2nd, what about you?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Ghost Story.

I first saw him the night I'd read a short story on a teenage ghost. I thought too much about it and dreamt all sorts of disturbing things. It was when I woke up, a little weirded out, that his presence struck me. Naturally I thought I was still dreaming. Which wasn't a huge comfort, 'cos hey- I might well choose a supernatural world over creepy dreams that felt so real. Anyway, there he was- looking as though he'd just come through the window and didn't know what to do next. Faint, and sort of colourless, but with all his lines so well-defined that he appeared intangible and material at the same time.


If I had looked closely enough, I would have been able to make out the pupils of his eyes. As it was, I noticed the hint of a belt below shirt-folds. A fraction of skin (or were they socks?) peeped out from under just-a-bit-too-short trousers. I remember wondering whether his shoes were polished... I couldn't tell because he glimmered all over. Yes, they do glimmer in real life. Or the afterlife, call it what you will. It struck me even at such a time. And partly to calm myself, I said out loud- 'What my imagination lacks in originality, it makes up for in detail.'

The words sounded so ridiculous in the night air. The abstraction practically ricocheted off the walls with a loud, dull thwack. He merely looked me in a way I couldn't fathom. Then took out a cigarette from his pocket, and lit it. Soon, he was wreathed in curls of smoke that somehow were even wispier than the usual.

'You know I don't believe in you', I said, rolled over to face the other side, and went right under a pink flowery blanket. When I woke up, my room was empty and I thought last night was done with. Sleeping in a pink flowery haze would effectively neutralise any twisted freak of mind. But 'I don't believe in you' was a statement I had to repeat on many more occasions.

And he never seemed to care. Sometimes he'd just look blank (he never spoke), sometimes mildly curious, sometimes faintly apologetic for shaking my skepticism to its foundations. I just couldn't figure out why he was there. Initially I thought it was by accident, and his lost puppy-dog air seemed to confirm my hunch. But he was surprisingly at ease with his company and whereabouts. His confusion seemed more linked to his state- as though he needed time getting used to being a ghost.

Ghost. I took care to avoid using the word. Firstly, ghosts weren't real. I stuck to that. Secondly, it might offend him. Who knew? Maybe Disembodied Spirit or something more technical is the term they prefer. But despite being so cautious, I slipped up in an entirely different way. I blame it on the moonlight.

Of all moments, he looked most substantial in the moonlight. It's funny really. When water merges with wine, the result is still a clear, light liquid. But when he stood in a flood of silvery light, the various shimmering translucencies came together to give this depth to his form. And he was posessed with a radiant energy, that was- well- so alive. Then, it didn't matter that his feet hovered above the ground, that he walked through walls. I felt- that I could touch him. So I did. Of course my hand went right through him like he was a cloud.

And suddenly, this whole new part inside me opened up. A pulse, a bloodrush- but with none of the warmth associated with those. Not that I got chills either. How would you describe certain things- like bookends, spiderwebs, dusty leaves? The earth after rain, the keyhole of a never-opened door. Flashes of these and more, swam about in my head. The very air I breathed had the quality of morning mist, and it filled my lungs till the point of bursting. Reeling slightly, I sank back on my bed for support, my vision branded with burning spots.

When it all cleared, he was gone. And he hasn't returned since. I wonder why... I didn't think he'd mind. After all, he'd hung about in my room for quite a while. Without my permission at that. But always for a short while, and never at an awkward moment. It took me so long to accept that he wasn't imaginary, I found no time to panic.
I guess I do miss him, and the novelty of what he represented. Cigarette ends glowing pale blue, ash which looked like stardust. Wordless responses. But that touch, it's done something to me.

There have been moments since, when I've felt someone reach into me, tap out a code and unlock those hidden dimensions. It happened that time I saw a tribal dance on T.V.- the drumbeats, the sways and leaps, and the chanting, oh god the chanting. It was an intoxicating whirlwind of the rawest elements, but too mystical to be earthy. It left me breathless. The same happened when my pet dog gave birth to puppies.
I realised then that my ghost- I mean, whatever he was- has left his imprint on me. I suppose I'm glad. Just a bit nervous, thinking about what my first kiss could do to me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life ij a hard

When I regularly see myself at the bottom of self-updating blogrolls, I know that the world is blogging hard.


P.S- There's a Sherlock Holmes movie coming up. It had better be good. Holmes was my Very first crush.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Marshmallows and Matribhasha

A family friend gifted us marshmallows the other day. In a flash of blinding clarity that followed, I realised the true purpose of marshmallows. The small non-toastable ones at any rate. They are boredom food (Note: Food you eat when you are bored.) There is a certain category of food that wears this title with grace. They don't taste Goooood. Because gooooood food deserves a little more involvement than boredom allows. But they definitely don't taste bad, 'cos that would be off-putting. In fact they don't taste like much at all.
And they have a very satisfying texture. Generally the kind you need to chew.
Finally, they are not heavy so you can go on, and ON, AND on eating.
That, is boredom food. That is marshmallows.

I realise I've been affected a lot by the commodities that have entered the house recently.
My mother bought this toothpaste a couple of days back. It's cover says-
Emoform.
The toothpaste for bleeding, inflamed gums and sensitive teeth.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who finds it funny. It is rather despicable to be The Sole Person under influence of American Social Steretotyping.

Oh Oh, speaking of American. This is nothing to do with those starred and stripy people. Basically the whole cultural issue reminded me of the new change in the CISCE structure. English is getting renewed emphasis. Which is ok. EVE's gonna get the sack. Which is Better than ok. But if I read correctly, IT ISN'T COMPULSORY TO PASS SECOND LANGUAGE ANYMORE. And this genuinely upsets me. Vernacular is going to become obsolete!

Bengali classes were a farce anyway. A bunch of smart-asses (us) who didn't give the syllabus a chance. A syllabus SO unbelievably outdated and dreary that it didn't deserve a chance. And a cluster of old teachers who saw themselves as valiant martyrs, championing their cause against us piddling little culture-deficient snobs.
I don't blame the teachers, honestly I don't. If I had to teach for YEARS, a subject no one cared for, I'd be bilious too. And I do blame us for being so unenthusiastic but honestly, the root of all trouble was the syllabus.

EVERYTHING was in shadhu bhasha. Hello Mr. ISC, I don't want to disturb you, but I dropped by to say that OCCASIONALLY, it would be nice to read things written the way we talk. Just to remind us that what we speak at home is Bengali too. And it was so fucking morbid! It was tough to keep track of whether more people died or cried. Actually, the latter wins because half the people who died Also cried. If only, if ONLY they'd plan out the syllabus better, the classes could be so inspiring. I've had my dad read out some Bengali short stories to me. I've had my Elective English tutor read out Bengali modern poetry to me. And I remember being enchanted, dazzled, mystified! No mild admiration, that.

In fact, sometimes, some things in our syllabus would Really get us.
'Bonolota Sen' was more poetic and Romantic than half the stuff I've read by British Romantics.
There was this one day when we completed a very depressing but beautifully written chhoto golpo. For a while there was an awkward pause. Then people suddenly start giggling and making idiotic jokes. The teacher could have been a bitch if she wanted to (it's not like she'd never been) but she just said- 'Either you guys didn't get it at all, or you're really moved.' And we were moved.
Then we LOVED the one by Parashuram. Mr. Rajshekhar Basu. Who translated the Mahabharat. Wrote a dictionary. Allegedly helped Aurobindo make bombs (yes through scientific procedures, not by reading aloud to gunpowder.) And produced the most UPROARIOUSLY funny satires I've ever read. We should have had more stuff by this guy. Instead of bloody essays telling us how our generation is doomed.

Well, I think I've exhausted my energy for now. But I needed to say this. I feel that as someone who loves Literature, I'd be a different person if my school had inspired me to go back home and pick up a Bengali book. Of course there were people who still did. And it's not like my parents didn't try. But in my defence, my reactions to literature tend to be quite strong. And after discovering Saki and Keats, when I had to go and bury my nose in specimens of archaic morality, and LEARN lists of adjectives-I developed a minor revulsion towards 2nd language. Not Bengali. Just 2nd language. But it was enough of a hurdle.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Men. Women. Love. Sex. And yes I'm totally trying to grab your attention.

1. Apart from India, (cos that's, you know, us) which region do you think has the hottest women? My vote goes to South America. It befuddles me how Latinas could have the most slender midriffs and the most delicious curves at the same time. And it irks me why they're allowed to.


2. This question I have found incredibly entertaining to spring on people. Especially when it's taken seriously- would you rather die a virgin or a teetotaler?

3. Can Germans make 'Ich Diebe Lich' sound romantic? No offense to them. Brilliant race. It's just that all their words have the feel of bullet-rain on a steel window-pane.

4. If women in the Victorian Age could be ‘handsome’, then were the men purty?

5. Why was the Bangla word 'meyechhele' ever meant to imply 'girl'? That's like calling your mother mababa. And your aunt mashimesho. And making women sound like wee-men. Total stupidity.

6. What if humans could switch genders like sea-cucumbers? Would homosexuality still be an issue?

7. (Courtesy Priyanka Kumar): Why and how do men make conversation while they pee together?

Ending with the above question does not mean I am a feminist.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Updates

1. I have now saved at least 5 Airtel Service Numbers under 'Pissoff.' You do not know, you do not KNOW what pleasure there is in seeing 'Pissoff Calling' flash on your cell phone screen and then- serenely, sweetly- just let it go on ringing. Or you could cut them off. (I know that different people have their own ways of dealing with these infernal calls. In fact, the methods of 2 fellow freaks in blogosphere have caused me mild frustration before. But yeah, one should take a stand against such Consumerist Conspiracies. If you received E.V.E.R.Y. call of this kind, you would have spent at least half an hour of your life on Phone Service. The horror.)


2. My brother chanced upon a printout which said:

'Events- May Day Dance, Dog Cart Ride, Wedding and Confessions, Kill pheasants, Feeds Strawberries, Tess Slaps Alec.'

He asked me what that was about with a look of extreme curiosity. Now people who will be giving an exam with me on 7th December probably know that it's a list of incidents from a novel. ('Tess of the 'D'Urbervilles.') My brother is fresh from his Sports Day. His house won it. Hungover on the victory cake, he thought... yes- he thought it was a list of Sports' Day Events. The last item did confuse him somewhat. I would be a lot more worried right now if it didn't.

3. On the Playlist-
a) Since I've been Loving You- Led Zep.
Sahana once said, "This song is so good, it makes me want to do someone!" I don't think I can improve on that, nor do I want to. But god, the more I listen to Led Zep, the more thankful I am that they happened. Music would NOT be the same without them. I can't recall any band that's made more contributions to catchy, musically rich, and historic guitar riffs.

b) Julia- John Lennon. (He wrote it for his mother after she died.)

Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you...

Seashell eyes, windy smile...
Morning moon, touch me.

*shivers*
And that response has Nothing to do with the cold.

c) A Woman Left Lonely- Janis Joplin.
Janis Joplin was a woman if there ever was one. I absolutely adore her. That kind of raw, unadulterated passion is overwhelming and liberating at the same time.

4. A lot of what I'm reading is making me happy. Maybe it's just because this is 1st Sem and I can leave out what I don't like. But that aside. There are gems to unearth in the dungheap that every syllabus is thought to be.

'You shouldn't take a fellow eight years old
And make him swear to never kiss the girls.'

'Take the prettiest face,
...is it so pretty
You can't discover if it means hope, fear,
Sorrow or joy? won't beauty go with these?'
(Both by the incomparable Mr. Browning.)

'Tithonus.' I'd forgotten just how good it is. And I'm glad the last time I'm studying it isn't for the bloody ICSE.

Even 'Tess' . Ok, it's sentimental, it's melodramatic. But I know people like that and I love them. Ultimately, 'Tess' is intense and honest, which gets me.

Then, a lot of literary criticism is Very Cool. Even if it's saying some outrageous things, it says them with flair. If you hate a novel, a good essay on it can actually give you something interesting to think about without taking away your right to hate.
Harold Bloom was one stud. M.H. Abrams was another. Someday, even I will write something that breathes life into a lost little first-year. Something lucid, witty and insanely perceptive all at once.

But first- Oh I don't know what. But I do know that my stellar essay will not be written anytime soon. In the meantime, we can all play with virtual fishes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Not Random. Not product of boredom. Not sum wyrd shit im tryin out.

She's a nice person with no pretence,
Born with oodles of common sense.
A genuinely good girl- one of the best.
But when as a kid she travelled by train,
She yearned to yank the emergency chain.
Just like all the rest.

________________________

He was a normal man.
With a job ( he didn't hate.)
A family (he loved and was loved by.)
A hobby he was passionate about. (Painting.)
Above all, he was happy. (A fact worth noting.)

That changed the day
An astrologer told him
He would be famous after his death.
__________________________

Sometimes you just know.
And then you remember the time
Some idiots claimed they knew.
How hellishly sure they were.
How that annoyed you to tears.

And then you think-
'Am I being one of them?'
And then you think-
'Of course not.'
Sure?
'Yeah, I'm sure.'
How?
'Well. I just know, y'know?'

Thursday, November 26, 2009

When I was your Age.......

When I first found out that moonlight is just reflected sunshine at night, I was heartbroken. At that age, it was Very necessary for me to take sides. And what better opportunity for partiality than choosing between 2 celestial bodies? I was a moon-fan of course.


Glow without glare.
Romance- It's just so conducive to violins, whispers and lakes turning into mirrors. No, I was not an original kid.
A hint of undefinable mystery. (Thinking logically, it's pretty obvious where the mystery comes from. Stolen light must appear dubious to our inner psychics. I'm cool with that now of course. A little bit of stylish deception never did any harm.)

Simlarly, when I learnt that the right brain controls the left side of the body. I am a leftie. Being a minority ka bachha, I was for EVERYTHING left. Ganguly. Left-over food. Even communism. I wanted nothing to do with the damn right. It felt very cool. Made up somewhat for the lack of originality.
And then.
Cruel disillusionment.
The right controls the left!

Such trauma little me had to go through. No wonder I grew up to be so mature.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I would never be the wife of a poet. This is what Matthew Arnold chooses to write on his honeymoon at Dover Beach.

Honeymoon at a beach. Sand grains glistening on wet skin. Bright sails fluttering in the breeze. What a radiant picture of classic romance. Right? Jaast you take a look.

...the waves...
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
...

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

That's like saying- 'let's love each other, because hey, love doesn't exist. So let's try honey, shall we?' No wonder he didn't publish this poem until Much Later.

Then there's Coleridge. I've heard this version of his life where he married his wife just because she was pregnant.

Then he had to go and fall in love with another woman who-

a)Was Wordsworth's sister. (This just confirms my belief that W.W was at the root of all mischief. Such unperturbed self-satisfaction had to rise out of pure evil. His heart may have danced with the daffodils, but one can only wonder what else he danced with.)

b)Had the same name as his wife- Sarah!

Oh Wily Wordsworth-
What is this, some form of higher poetry?
Life imitating art maybe?
A joke for you to share
As you sit on your wooden chair*
Lay out your porcelain with flair
And sip on organic tea?

*Note: (Yes wooden. Cut off a blessed tree.)

To make matters worse, Sarah Coleridge had to go spill boiling milk on her husband's foot. Boiling milk. How bland. Some opium concoction or even hot chocolate would have been more glamorous.

And then STC goes and writes a l.o.n.g. poem about his experience, where his calls his friend Charles 'gentle-hearted' no less than thrice. But not Once does he mention his wife. Not in accusation of her klutzy behaviour. And definitely not in thankfulness for the spiritual revelation that he had, once he was done crying over the Spilt Milk.

No, poets do not make good husbands.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ten, ten-tuh-ten.

Here are 10 universal truths. By universal, of course I mean my own personal opinion.


1. No matter how much you eat, there is always room for dessert.

2. Contrary to popular belief, I am not at all a curious person. But if you start on an enticing piece of gossip, you ought to abandon that phony demure-ethical aura and Finish It!

3. Did I say gossip? Make that 'dramatic news'. Gossip is a myth.

4. Singing Christmas Carols is a near-infallible route to happiness. Especially when Christmas is far-off.

5. The Beatles DO have a song for every mood. Every.

6. During pre-exam chaap, I wish I could go back to the times when fat was cute and exams were identifying colourful shapes. And when I didn't say things like- 'By the way, Byron was bi. Hey, I just punned. Sort of.'
But at the end of the day, this life's always good.

7. A good way of saving time in Winter is to take baths on alternate days. I swear I always smell fresh. I wouldn't try this tactic otherwise.

8. If you have to get lost, get lost inside a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig, soft, warm, fluffy blanket. It is like an alternate world inside there, I'm telling you.

9. Once people have crossed 5, they try very hard to reach 10. Go conformity! Go stereotypes! A toast to Round Figures! (And no pun intended here.)

10. If you have read a creepy story, do not envision its movie version in your head just before you go to sleep at night. Or do. But be prepared for the weirdest dreams in the world. I speak from experience. Possessed showers, mutant pigs in schoolbuses and serial killers all in one night aren't good for health.

P.S.- Recommended Reading: Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Short Stories by Truman Capote, poetry by Roger McGough and Carol Ann Duffy. They are keeping me alive.

P.P.S- Do people make lists because they have an innate desire for order, or because they like setting down thoughts at random? This is not one of those situations where you look indifferent and reply with 'Hmmm, profound' in a deep voice. I am genuinely intrigued.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Semi Fiction

Infinity as a concept isn't exciting, it's disturbing. Anything endless is too much for the human brain to take. But it can be exciting when seen through something eee-nawr-muss. The size reminds us that grand infinity is present, and the boundaries stop that presence from going beyond a deliciously vague silhouette.


Which is why I love My Place.
When I go to My Place, I can see the sky set against the field. So in effect, I know where the sky begins. And ends. But the field is so fucking huge, that at any given point, I can’t see both extremities at once. And that gives me a curious sense of freedom.

At this point, one says things like ‘it’s my own special discovery and I have it entirely to myself’. Unfortunately, there are a few others who know about it. They go there too, even when I’m around. But yes, in a way, I still have it to myself. All I have to do is take a few steps forward. Leave those nameless faces behind. And then just forget about them.

Easier done than thought to be. For there is no dearth of distractions.
Just stare, stare at the sky that’s never quite the same colour. One day, you’ll find it a happy shade of blue- the blue of wide-eyed innocence and baby bedsheets. On another, it’ll be a blue so rich, so luscious, it seems liquid. And then there are days it isn’t blue at all but dark grey, like secrets that can’t be revealed.

It’s not all about the sky. There’s the wild, wild grass which at times is magically trimmed, and for the most part is magically overgrown.

There’s the long line of old wall, broken by cave-ins and rusty gates. The gates are rusty, because who uses gates when there are walls to scale and trees to climb?

I can do almost anything there. Think. Zone out. Sing and dance. Pretend to be on the verge of discovering a crime or confessing love to my Person. Anything I do there feels right.

Even voyeurism. Oh yes, I spy on people, on the innermost, secretest corners of their lives. I spy through the wall. Not a hole or a crack. But scribbles. I know that 'Lily loves Luke' was written by a lonely English student, obsessed with alliterations. I know that a certain dirty knock knock joke was written by a chubby, 13 yr old boy who peeks at the Calcutta Times when his parents aren't looking. I know that 'I was here. Yes, I.' was written by my kind of person, and probably the only one I would talk to in My Place. IF we met. I haven't met any of them. But I know all of this because I read walls for a living.

It's not an easy thing to do, and My Place never gives me a hint. Because it doesn't think of itself as mine. I can tell in the way it responds. For one, it hardly does. I’ve never felt it waiting for me. Or detected a sense of fulfillment when I arrive. But that has its own charm. Something that vast couldn’t possibly be owned, not by anybody. It’s free. And I feel free when I’m there. That’s about as deep as the bond will ever get.

It works for me though. It works just fine.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where have all the icebergs gone?

Chapped lips and snakeskin fingers.

Mosquitoes on the rise.
Shorter days (which admittedly, I like.)

But no thanda.

Winter, you were my favourite season. I stuck up for you by abusing stupid Western metaphors on frosty death and deathly frost. For WHAT? Now I know why Nature gets saddled with all sorts of sad cliches. Hmph. Go fight for yourself, I abandon your cause.

P.S- I just saw Priyanka's comment on my last blogpost and Actually laughed out loud. Not like the time I tried to be cool and said lolzz in front of my EVE teacher and got glared at.

Anyway Priyanka, 'tis merely a phase. For now, this post will have to do. Much like this miserable excuse for a winter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Three Little Thoughts Went Out to Play

1.When my brother first started reading silently, he came to us, PATHETICALLY distressed. His reason? 'When I read silently, I can... I... I can *turns a shade paler*... hear a Voice in my head.'

2.Class 11, School trip to Kerala. Frst 48 hours of the journey spent cramped on a train. Some in critical condition for holding in their pee, just to stay away from the pocha public bathrooms.
Get off train. Get onto bus. Sit. Legs twitching to dance and hands itching to punch somebody. Camera getting tired of intellectually staged pictures and craving some genuine pretty scenery. Sit longer.
Suddenly the bus turns a bend, and Munnar hits us in all its glory. Explosions of fiery flowers on mountain slopes. A sudden chill in the air. GREEN! And MIST! AND clear sky!!
For a while we all go quiet. Even the cameras. And then Rukmini decides to say- 'Bhogobaan, tumi shotti God.'

3.In plus 2, we had a certain female in our class who I will refer to as Kamal. She was quite a character. Once, when IB was dictating Macbeth notes, Kamal was writing something Very Different in her own diary.
I suppose guilt gives off some kind of suspicious smell. Or transmits brainwaves. Because IB wasn't taken in for a moment. After throwing a couple of pointed glares in the required direction, she called Kamal upto her desk. And what happened next is proof that life Does have a sense of humour.
The diary was coloured yellow and shocking pink. And its cover just happened to scream the title- 'Hot Stuff.' IB looked at it, and merely asked- 'You're telling me you write Macbeth notes in a diary called.... Hot Stuff?' The little inflection in her voice when she came to Hot Stuff was remarkable. Like the arched eyebrow that kills all talk. The ultimate hair-flick. It glittered with triumph, sarcasm and amusement all at once.
Suddenly, EVERYBODY was laughing. It's only apt that on the last day, IB was made to present Kamal with a sash saying 'Miss Hot Stuff'.

3 random old memories. Don't know why they strike me now, or why I wanted to write about them. But what the hell, I did what I wanted and now I will go back to wondering what's there for dinner.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pictures from trip


A little late, but still. Minimum photo-editing guaranteed. And my acknowledgements to Piku for some of the chhobis.




















The shadow.............





















..
.......... And the boy behind it.





An Ent in Disguise?




















Light...




















......And shade.






'Lips Lolly.' The cheap candy movement lives on.




Maths papers strewn randomly all over a path. See the equations in the enlarged version if you don't believe me.



Further example of math-driven angst.

Little Red Leaf.


_______________________________________


Sunsets.


_______________________________________



























The moon at noon. Well, not noon exactly but close enough for me to rhyme.


















Fuh-lowers


Self- explanatory.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dramatis Personae

For the sake of economy, I'm going to keep this post free of any build-up. Instead, I will dive straight into introducing the interesting characters that featured on my trip- inanimate, intangible et all. If you think what you're reading NOW is a build up, you're wrong. It's... *adopts mystical tone*... an illusion. Okfine. Bring forth the first victim.


Cha: When you've just woken up and you're hunched over in cold, when you're trying to figure out whether you really see cloud and mist and snow everywhere and it's not just you all bleary-eyed... then, to feel the hot liquid trickling down your throat and seeping into your system is like NOTHING else in the world. That's when your heart starts humming. That's when your day begins. That's when you're ready to take a bite of the light, crumbly biscuits from the local confectionary.

Queen of the Party: Daju is the Nepali equivalent for bhaiya. Since it's the only Nepali I know, it gave me great pleasure to use it wherever I could. Over the course of 8 days I met multiple dajus, but one really stood out. This guy is tall and skinny. His face is weatherbeaten and it's constant expression is a blend of solemn and obliging. THIS guy owns a T-Shirt that says 'Queen of the Party.' Just that. No baubles, no loops, no hint of a feminine colour. It's like- 'I'm not gay. I'm not metrosexual. I'm just the Queen of the Party, dude. Deal with it.' It won me over right away :D

Mount Kanchenjungha: Now, we have seen this mountain so many times. But not too many times. For some strange reason, we just can't get enough of it. Is it the hype? Geography-class Nostalgia? The stature, the sight of sunlight on snow? Whatever the reason, it always left us feeling overwhelmed. Sunrise or sunset, viewpoint or chance glance, cameras always clicked like crazy around it. And when it was dim, we tried to discern its outline through the clouds. Knachenjungha, you be da cool one.

The Batu: Batu aka Bangali Tourist. You'll know them at the beach by the boudis. They wade ankle-deep into the water, (squealing at the great risk they're taking), with their saris billowing out like sails. Their husbands look on, positively satiated with pride and indulgent affection. The men sprinkle a few drops of salty water on their wives' heads and together, the couples wade back on shore, beaming as wide as the horizon behind.

In the mountains, they can be identified just as easily. Look out for the brown Monkey Cap. Their determination to reach the end of the steepest uphill path, even if they're withered and wilting by the end of it.

And then you have general characteristics- The gleam that flickers in their eye and the questions that hover on their lips when they catch sight of another Batu. And they WILL eat at the Kakababu restaurants. The ones that serve Bangali food. Or else they'll find some other means of procuring familiar food. I swear we saw a man with a fish tucked under his arm, marching towards his hotel with the intention of eating Maachh Bhaja for lunch.

The Stream: I caught sight of it on my first morning walk. Braced by the mountain air, I was in the mood to climb anything remotely climbable. That's what I did too. Totally unequipped in terms of footwear, I slid and scraped and clutched and praised the firmness of roots. And then I happened to see the stream. I was desperate to go down there and we even found a path leading to it- a deliciously narrow, winding little trail that led through the woods.
However, the kids who accompanied me decided not to take it because there were people bathing at a point ahead. I don't know if they were just being awkward adolesents or whether I have lost all sense of shame altogether but I was very miffed. If people were bathing in a public place, they were obviously aware of the risks. I wasn't going there to leer or lech goddammit! But we discovered another way to it.
Hop onto a ledge.
Carefully, turn around and let yourself drop onto the ground below. A light graze. Who cares? The stream is calling!
Walk over moss and bracken. Don't slip. There's a foothold! NO NO, that's a pit! Ahh, finally.
Bare feet on cold stone. Colder water running over bare feet. Gurgling sounds set the background music to faint voices in the distance. Wild flowers lend their touch of colour. And the leaves, determined not to be left behind, are just as bright as any flower ever was. VIC-TOW-REEE.

The Nepali DSP: He write shayries in Nepali and Bangla. I don't know whether he saw the latent Batuness in my mum, but he zoned in on her like a surveillance camera out of 1984. He spouted many lines, including these-

Kashboner pechhon theke nodi dekhte bhalo laage.
Bashboner pechhon theke chaand dekhte bhalo laage.
Aar tumi jokhon guti guti paaye amar pash diye doure jao,
Tomar pechhon thekei tomake dekhte ekdom darun laage!

(I like watching the river flow behind fields of kashphul.
I like watching the moon behind bamboo forests.
And when you run past me on secretive little feet,
To watch you from behind yourself is simply marvellous!)

He even sang the Nepali version of a popular Rabindra Sangeet and asked my mum to join in with the original. It sounded beautiful- light, tripping and very rich at the same time.

The thing is, not for a moment did he give the vibes of a show-off. He seemed like the most uncomplicated soul on earth- in love with languages, and with entertaining people. I for one was entertained.

And there was so much more: Adda over beer and ginger snips. Bluff tournaments. The furry, floppy-eared mountain dogs. Singing at the top of our voices to counter motion sickness on long drives. I can't write on everything, but I'll try to remember it anyway.

P.S- If you're wondering where I went, it was Mirik :P

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Frankenstein

As the doctor worked, his horror grew. It grew till it filled him completely. It ran in his blood, both with and against the flow. It peered out from behind his pupils. He felt it cut against his insides when he turned. When he walked, his horror seemed to leave behind a trail of frozen slime.


And it creeped out into his work. Every little piece he touched was stained by his it. His breath formed a fragile but indestructible shield in which his horror flourished with the pale, sickly quivering of its cover.

The dormant cells were crystallisations of his fear and revulsion. And the moment they were finally set alive by an electric spark, the doctor's sanity exploded with equal intensity.

Was it a wonder then, that the creation was ugly? Born against the force of so much ill-feeling, his muscles were quite twisted. His heart had come alive at the pinnacle of extreme paranoia, so it beat with a hot madness. And his eyes, on opening, reflected the first thing they saw- blind horror at the phenomenon of life.

The poor monster. He never had a chance...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Walking down the road alone at almost 8 pm

Almost 8 pm. That's all I know of the time. Because 8pm is my deadline, and I must reach home before that.

It's raining. The streetlights are all blurry and rainbowy again, the way rain always makes them. I see a chain of those little decorative electric lights. Or tuni bulbs. ‘Tuni’ is a funny name. Leaves absolutely no room for dignity or grandeur. Kind of endearing though, if you think about it...
Who put these lights up now? A pujo enthusiast in a fit of impatience? Maybe they’re in honour of the Salt Lake metro, strung along the construction zone as they are. That’s a FIVE years-early celebration. All these enthusiasts. Making the world a brighter place.

Stumble. Splash. And the heel of my shoe is dripping with slush. Damn 'em puddles. Or 'poodles', as the French teacher in our university calls them. I want a dog. Not a poodle though.

Don't get distracted. Look left, Look right, Cross the road. There comes a car, with a neon ring of light at its two ends. Rings that grow larger and disperse with the air as they approach my raindrop-lined eyelashes.
The other side.
Too late, car, you couldn't run me over!

The wind rises, it tugs at my umbrella with impetuous force, and I can feel the pull all the way down to the tips of my toes. I'm Mary Poppins! Creepy-crawlies of the world, beware! Before you get to me, I will rise with the wind, holding on to my Big Black Umbrella and float away.

I like black umbrellas, don't you? They're classy, in a very British way. Hang on. British not equal to classy. Am I a victim of the infamous colonial hangover? English student too. Oh dear.

But right now, potential personality problems don't interest me. They don't interest anyone else either. Did I say I'm 'walking down the road alone at almost 8pm?'
Well, it was almost 8pm when I started out but it's past 8 pm now. And I’m not really alone, I wasn’t all this while. There are people evrywhere. People, and cars. And autos and ricksaws. Drenched bedraggled crows and drenched disgruntled dogs.

But we're all in our own little bubbles of darkness and storm, with rainsongs rushing through our head and rainwind rushing through our legs. Some, like me, walk under our umbrella-worlds. Others are getting too wet to notice anything.
I'll deal with the logic once I get home. That's a different world altogether.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Etiquette


It was a sultry afternoon,
As hot as it could get.
She would be burnt to cinders
If she weren't drenched in sweat.

More out of need than want she bought
A carton of fresh juice-
Icy-chilled, with fruity tang;
She put it to good use

By drinking it with all her zest.
She sucked upon the straw
And felt the cold juice splash within
Her stomach, throat and jaw.

Drops of water glittered
On the carton's minty green,
Against the light the straw glowed
With a pink translucent sheen.

In unadulterated bliss
She sipped and sipped and sipped.
Though the heat raged on, to her
It seemed the sun had dipped.

Till suddenly she heard
A little gurgle, then a hiss.
Her drink was coming to an end,
So was her newfound bliss.

To reach the little bit left
In the carton's lowest quarters,
Involved a process wrong in many ways-
Too loud, for starters.

Discarding femininity,
Upsetting every mind
That believed in the principle
Of discreet and refined,

Were other sins involved,
And add to those a frightening fact-
The level of attention
That her action would attract.

She thought and thought and thought
And thought, and thought and thought and THOUGHT.
Would she, should she, could she?
(Yes she COULD, but she OUGHT not.)

The remnants of her drink called out
To her seductively.
Finally, she realised that-
To act productively:

One must finish what one started.
So she closed her eyes and.. SLURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRPED.
And since she'd gone so far she just
Went all the way and burped.

She got glances that were scathing,
But they were very few.
She got glances indulgently amused
But they were low in number too.

Most didn't even notice and
Went on their usual way.
While she sat and slowly savoured
The lingering flavour of her day.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chit-Chat

What if Hamlet and Banquo ever planned a murder together? Yes, Hamlet of 'To be or not to be' fame; and Banquo of the long monologues.


Banquo: Hey, let's kill him.

Hamlet: You think we ought to?

Banquo: I suppose not. But I want to.

Hamlet: So do I.

Banquo: You think we ought to?

Hamlet: No. But it seems we both want to.

Banquo: And we can.

Hamlet: Can we?

Banquo: Can't we?

Hamlet: Of course! Unless...

Banquo: Yes, exactly.

Hamlet: Exactly what?

Banquo: There's always the unless.

Hamlet: Oh that. There's also always the issue of more-less. What we'll do is wrong, but is it more wrong and less right, or more right and less wrong?

Banquo: I thought I was master of rhetoric. Ok, how about this? What we'll do is right, because rightness is in the eye of the beholder, because life is never simple and has shades of grey; and I know all this because my mother gave me a big fat book of idioms when I was a kid, but that doesn't mean I'm a mama's boy because the obvious isn't always true.

At this point, Lady Macbeth interjects: Or how about you're both a couple of PANSAYYS?

Hamlet: That's not true. SOMETIMES, we like to move it move it!

Lady Macbeth: But those are rare moments, aren't they? Ah well. How do I care? As long as my darling Macbeth gets the crown.

Banquo and Hamlet: WHAT?

Lady Macbeth: Don't you know? The witches predicted it.

Banquo and Hamlet: But then what about us?

Lady Macbeth: Obviously, you're in the wrong play. You guys just wasted too much time. Hung around loooong after you were supposed to leave.

Banquo and Hamlet look at each other and gape.

Thus, ends a tragedy.

P.S- This was on a random impulse. I still think Shakespeare is boss.

Monday, August 10, 2009

To Neutralise any Emoness I might have indulged in

Have you ever stared at the sweeping lines of your own body, felt the smoothness of your own skin, and thought- 'Wow, I'm beautiful!' ? It's not the kind of beauty one thinks of in context to lust or envy. It's the kind that all human beings are capable of realising- the beauty of living flesh and blood, of form, proportion and harmony. You know you have it when you’re happy just to be alive. Then, your clumsiest step is a challenge to gravity. You don’t sweat, but give off entrancingly musky odours. And each time you blink, you paint the world with fresh colours.

I wrote this last morning. Why can't I feel like this everyday? :(

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why mothers are mothers.

Ma: Achha, I've been hearing things and I'm worried about what's in the facebook.


Me: It's not 'in the facebook.'

Ma: 'On the facebook' then.

Me: OOF Ma, it's not about 'in' or 'on', it about the 'the'. The 'the' is redundant.

Like one doesn't say- 'he is a gay.' It's just 'he is gay'. Forget about the article, forget it ever existed!

Ma: Ok. But social networking is creepy.

(In the end, they always hit the nail on the head. But oh, the painful process towards the end.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

What would happen if my personal diary decided to take revenge on me

I have my very own trashcan man,
And he’s just right for me.
I built him out of substances
Through which you cannot see.

So all the secrets that I dump
In him stay safely stored,
From prying eyes belonging
To the curious or the bored.

I didn’t give him eyes ‘cos
That would be a little freaky.
It wouldn’t do to have those eyes
Accuse me, or turn leaky.

My trashcan man is strong, but he
Is soft enough to be cuddled.
That way I can hug him when
This world gets much too muddled.

No, he has no arms or legs.
Those get in the way
Of a hug. Besides, he sits
And hears me out all day.

He has no use for arms and legs
So why would he have hair?
Hair frizzes or turns grey with stress,
Of which he has his share.

(What with all the secret-keeping.)
But it must make him proud,
To be the one who keeps my life
Free from the faintest cloud.

But what’s that? Surely it can’t be
The letter I had burned?
And over there? It looks to me
Like Mama’s face, concerned.

I even hear the crazy words
I said about my friends
That day- just out of spite-
But then I plan to make amends!

Suddenly it’s all a blur.
Oh wait, the fog is clearing…
And a figure grows distinct.
And now, the figure’s nearing!

It’s my very own trashcanman!
But how is it that he moves?
Without the use of legs or arms,
And when I disapprove?

His face is still devoid of eyes,
So I’m sure he cannot see.
But somehow, I feel a piercing-
Almost brutal- gaze on me.

My Trashcanman, don’t hurt me!
Many, many, pleases!!
HELP ME SOMEONE!!! (At this point
The narration ceases.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

List.

1. 'An American Prayer' by the Doors has to be the most deliciously blasphemous prayer ever. Oh, to have a voice like a narcotic. But then, oh to LISTEN to a voice like a narcotic! I don't mind being the audience really. We get treats.

2. I sometimes wish I'd gone to Delhi. At least then, I'd have no one to blame but myself. Yes, I'd rather fuck things up myself than have to live by rules that are jarring to my very core. When I know I'm dependent on people who crumple up my life and stuff it into one measely little box, I just want to SCREAM out loud, tear through the suffocation. What hurts me more is that I'm forced to accept certain things about people I've lived my whole life respecting, actually admiring. I find in them traits that are downright FILTHY. But deep-rooted, and stubborn as hell. Like cancer. Ah well. Everyone has feet of clay. If only we weren't taught to blindly idolise, though.

3. When I am 20, I will get a tattoo. Celebrating 20 years of association with a BAAST fraand . We'll both get a tattoo. But where oh where? It has to be discreetly positioned, and it'll hurt less if it's not on bone or vein. Calculations must follow.

4. Shuorever bachha vs. child of a pig. You tell me. This is when the significance of Vernacular hits me right between the eyes.

5. Sometimes, people make me question my own worth. They attach tags to me that I never DREAMT of in context to myself. Or else they think I'm the very prototype I despise or sruggle against becoming. It makes life hard for me.

You see, I've always been a little image conscious. Can't quite explain why. For a long time, I've harboured a positive abhorrence for making myself look ridiculous and unattractive in public. And I find it very tough to accept not being liked. I think it's partly because I generally am liked, and I've got used to it. Also, getting along with people makes life so much more... I can't use a better word than 'fun.' I just don't relate to those who are so HUNG-UP about finding everything distasteful and lowly, and provoking others to be at their worst.

But then I know that my craving for a dream social life (which mind you, doesn't involve glitz and celeb status) isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, I've made an extra effort to compromise, or to do away with someone's preconceived notion of me. And it's led to the establishment of friendships- or at least moments- so pure, so absolutely fulfilling.

I know this for a fact, that I can feel intensely. About anything. Weather, a book, dessert, a smile, these can make me go wild with elation, and keep me in a gigantic effervescent bubble for a whole day. And when a connection with a person gives me that same heady feeling, I just KNOW that there's more to the world than the don't-carers see. MY brand of Happiness. No matter how strained or cringing the efforts for it are. A spark of pure, unadulterated happiness can make me rise beyond everything that I find murky and mundane. It's a feeling like nothing else. And that'll carry me through.

I'm starting to think that this 'list' was just an excuse for point number 2 and 5. Clever, how I didn't follow up one with the other. An intermission in passion. In which you can give me sympathetic looks, or just stare at your toes and hum a cheap tune. Considerate me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

One Hit Wonder

He sat sprawled on one of the small, squishy sofas that were arranged with meticulous disorder about the corner of the nightclub. It was not a very expensive nightclub. The leather skins of the sofas were of a shade that is kindly called ‘shocking’ pink. Apart from the dance floor- where neon lights of all colours flashed, spun and rippled - the room was illuminated by a faint white glow that gave the pink a somewhat morbid tinge.

Looking at the crowd, one would be tempted to call the place truly constitutional. It seemed to believe strongly in the fallacy of discrimination. The man in question was not the sort that any establishment would boast of. The heavy stubble that might have been attractive on more chiselled faces, the puffy features that might have seen more chiselled days, the crumpled lurid shirt……
None of it was startling, but when noticed, gave off a vaguely repulsive aura.

He wiped his mouth with his hand and held a bottle up against the light, to ensure that its contents had been emptied. Then he stood up. And staggering, like the eternally caricatured but sometimes pitiabe drunkard that he was, he made his way to the bar.

He wondered why he had chosen to come to a disco. Sure, he loved dancing but he knew he was in no mood to dance right then. The music pounded against his head like a vengeful fist, and the psychedelic lights made him feel slightly dizzy.
He’d probably thought that a crowd would cheer him up.
Yes, that must’ve been it....
He’d always liked crowds, from his brash adolescent school days, through his smooth, charismatic stage days, upto now. New people- and lots of them- gave him a kick. Provided that he was noticed, of course. He didn’t have to be the centre of attraction, but he had to be noticed. Goddammit, he was a creature made of living flesh and blood, how could he NOT be noticed?!

It struck him that he’d never really grown out of his childhood.
Ah well. You can’t all be mature, can you?
Fresh and youthful, they’d called him. With a voice like falling snowflakes. He’d smiled at that one.

He found that he had reached the bar. The young bartender eyed him warily.
If the bugger was drunk to just the right degree, he’d stay longer, he’d pay for more. But trouble was to be avoided at all costs. A disco had been shut down only a few weeks ago. Some issue about a girl… the usual… sad case, if you came to think about it.

All of a sudden, a curious expression came over the older man’s face. Something was different. What was it? The song. They were playing some song. He knew it; the melody ran in his blood! But it sounded unfamiliar; it wasn’t how he knew it.
‘What… what song… when…’
The alcohol induced slur did nothing to help the incoherence of his phrasing.

The bartender grew a trifle anxious. ‘Pardon? You… you want to know the name of the song?’

‘I know this song, this is my song!’ (Said with a ripple of childlike laughter, that in this context was almost grotesque.)

After a moment’s awkwardness, the bartender seemed to have a minor epiphany. Smiling and more relaxed, he asked- ‘Oh, you mean this song is… was special to you? Of course, this is a remixed version... obviously.’

‘This is MY song. Why is it like this, what the hell have they done to it?’ There was now a touch of hysteria in the voice.

The bartender, disconcerted again, was silent.

‘It isn’t supposed to be like this’, the man persisted. ‘Do they even know I’m here? How, how DARE they do this to my song in front of me?’
He was on the verge of shouting. One might have thought he was pulling a prank. It seemed straight out of some cheap, hackneyed melodrama. The people nearby gave him all sorts of glances, some abhorrent, some amused, a few apprehensive. A couple of other bartenders and some other waiters hurried towards the scene of brewing chaos.

‘What’s the problem, sir? I must ask you to be calm, or you’ll upset the others.’

‘Up…upset who? I’M upset. You should be worried about ME! But no one ever has been. It’s alright, qu-quite alright. Just... just ask them not to destroy my song, please….’
The childish note, once again. Why was it so disturbing? Did a gruff voice and a midlife crisis HAVEto imply gravity?
The song had changed by now, but he hadn’t noticed. He wouldn’t, either. The old tune was stuck him his head, with no plans of leaving.

‘Sir, if you don’t just walk away calmly, we’re going to have to ask you to leave. We can’t afford to let this kind of behaviour persist in our club.’ These being the first aggressively spoken words in the conversation.

The man leaned on the counter. ‘Let me tell you a little… (after a pause)…. secret. From an older, wise---wiser man. Enjoy your life now. Don’t stand behind the counter. Get out, and fucking DANCE. Sing. Before life hits you like… like a… like a pile of shtale shit.’

He reached out and grabbed the first bartender’s sleeve.

A gleam of intense annoyance sparked in the latter’s eyes. His mouth quivered, and for a few seconds, he wondered what course of action to take. But before he came to a decision, the man had let go and was walking away.

The bartender followed the other's steps, watchful of any possible trouble. He wasn’t trembling with loathing, or anger, or anything of that sort. He’d had this sort of experience before. He just had to be cautious, as his profession demanded.
But without warning, a wave of some unidentifiable emotion swept over him. What was it, pity? He couldn’t be sure. But for a moment, that man had looked so old, so tired. Strange, what a slight stoop of the shoulders can convey. What was the issue about the song anyway?

As these thoughts hovered in the bartender’s head with the transience of his very own disco lights, the one-time singer walked towards the exit. He was unconsciously humming the tune of the only hit record he’d ever made.

The lights flashed for a moment on his bald spot. Then he was out.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Something funny happened yesterday.

After class when we’re preparing to go home, or lounge about the campus, or scout for food, 2 seniors enter the room. They put up 2 poems on the notice board. Apparently, we’re required to critically appreciate any one of them and submit it to the H.O.D by 4 pm. (Which is in about 2 hours.) And apparently, based on our critical appreciation, we get assigned tutors.

We take a look at the poems. They are positively OUTRAGEOUS.

Snippets of conversation float around the classroom-

‘Arre, how cool!’
‘What the fuck? No it’s not.’

‘This one’s longer, but it’s easier.’

‘It’s interesting that they don’t assign us tutors based on our entrance ranks’ (This from me.)

‘Achha, these poems are STRANGE. Do you think they’re nonsense verse?’

‘This is GRAMMATICALLY wrong!’ (This from me too. I wonder why I perform this uninvited self-flagellation on my blog. Call it honesty. Or catharsis. Or whatever.)’

Anyway, I write out half my critical appreciation, wanting to get over with it as soon as possible. Less than halfway through, I realize that some have not only finished but also found out that no one’s taking up the writings. So I temporarily abandon it. Good thing I did, ‘cos I discovered soon after that it was a hoax.

I maintain that my half-review was subtly snide, and the person behind the gag would have known that I’d seen through the poem. However, my formal presentation has earned it various labels. Which basically all fall under the omni-encompassing roof of chomuness. Oof, I tell you. Nothing but a petulant, martyr-like, long drawn OOOF.

But why does this make me happy instead of desperate to redeem my image? Because I have a feeling that college is going to teach me a few things- to sift out the genuine from the pseudo, for one. To be less judgemental, for another. I was talking to a few people, and they surprised me. If eyes are the window to the soul, they’re definitely not the window to the brain. And to judge people’s intelligence by their faces is downright naive. This other thing I might pick up over the next few months is to laugh or shrug off some stuff, instead of taking everything seriously. After 14 years of schooled passion and solemnity, a shake-up is required.

But speaking of school, those old days were crazy in their own way. All the Half Blood Prince talk reminds me of my Harry Potter Phase. Pottermania, as it was officially called. I used to think Rowling was a witch, writing the Harry Potter series to prepare us for a sudden, dramatic breakthrough from the world of magic. I used to think that a protruding, incongruent patch of bark on our banyan tree was the entry to wizardom. In my defense, that patch of bark was shaped like a cave.

Schooldays were singing jaali songs for Teachers’ Day. Which involved replacing ‘I asked my love to take a walk’ with ‘I asked my friend to take a walk’

Schooldays were writing sequels to sitcoms, and drawing glam cartoon versions of ourselves.

Schooldays were people willing to degrade themselves to any point, for the sake of accompanying a ‘baast fraand’ to the sickroom.

And the best part- no one was alone in her stupidity. What comfort to be sure, but I still wouldn’t go back for anything.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

WHEEE

I told someone that the MOMENT I would get through to JU- IF I got through- I'd jump into the jheel and swim across it. Well thankfully, I learnt of the results in my own, safe, sweet room. That too, from a friend who nearly put you-must-go-for-St. Stephens Pills in my coffee whenever we met. So I have been spared the execution of my promise.

What to say...
I am a hypocrite. A coward. But I am happy. And loved. And with no fear of pneumo-laria. I'll live :P

P.S.- Priyanka and Reeti- I'm SO glad you'll be somewhere on campus. Don't worry, I won't stalk you.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

*Bridal Chorus*

So Sahana envisions for herself the cosiest married life possible- little suburban villa with porch and pretty curtains; a bright green square of garden where warm-furry-limpid-eyed-dog will NOT pee. Throw into this radiant scene, a coolio husband and superbabies. Now Sahana is not your average dreamer. The husband has a known face. The kids have pre-decided names. And it's not like she expects all this to grow out of nowhere. An elaborate proposal and an orgy of a wedding feature in her plan as well. When I say orgy, I mean orgy. Do caramel mountains, chocolate fountains and marshmallow confetti convince you?


Shalmi, on the other hand, is the untamed sprit. Anywhere the wind blows. A pleasant, unplanned drifting along, interrupted by sudden burts of mischief (equally unplanned.) Wind.

Which led me to wonder, what kind of a future do I see for myself? I have ABSOLUTELY no freaking idea. Sahana thinks I'll end up with a Physics Professor, erudite, but boyish, with a winning smile. Shalmi called me Meg of Little Women. I don't think she was referring to the marriage part of it, but if she was, then my future husband is a penniless loser who happens to be a 'nice man.' And he will die young. And a part of me will will turn to ashes but I will survive. I mean, REALLY. What do you guys take me for?

Personally, I'd like to see myself with an intense brooding poet, who I will salvage from the murky depths of his own tortured mind. But I know that's not happening. I don't have the guts to marry that sort.

The only definite thing I've said about my domestic future is:- if I end up with 2 sons and Rukmini ends up with 2 daughters, we'll swap a kid of one gender for one of the other. I see myself as more of a daughter's mother, and she as more of a son's. WHAT? Don't judge us, we're only 18.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Farewell? Maybe.

Ok. So I might actually have to leave town. Just thinking of it hurts me... physically. I've heard this from people- the most raw and intense thoughts are often impossible to write on. The artist needs to stand back from his object and take in the view as a third person. Only then can he catch every twitch, every sigh, every glimmer. And only then will he have the courage to set them down as they should be.


There's probably something in that theory. Right now, my fingers are hovering over the keyboard; it doesn't seem as if they belong to me. Making them type out something coherent is a drain on my energy. I mean, REALLY, do I REALLY have to leave?

Leave behind whimsical thoughts on cloudy days? Because there's hardly a monsoon in Delhi.

Leave behind cabbies who take one look at me and know that I can't speak Hindi? Cabbies who actually force me to cross the road instead of letting the meter rise over the course of a traffic jam. No WAY will I get that kind in Delhi.

Leave behind my concert DVDs, my movies, some of my books? It's all very well to say that their contents are locked up in a little box in my head, and I can sift through the treasures when I want. It's not like being able to hold them in your hand and knowing that you own them.

And blog, the blog's important too. I'm sure I won't be able to blog this regularly, unless I have a hep roommate with a wireless internet connection on a shiny laptop. Of course, I'm presuming she'll like me enough to let me use her laptop. For all I know, she could be a hardore Facebook addict- the kind that snorts thunderbolts and screams bloody murder if deprived of a minute's social networking.

As for family. These are just some of the things I'll miss about them---

Correcting my mother's grammatical faux-pas (which she claims, are an inevitable result of visiting villages for fund-raising)... groaning over her purchases of the most EMBARRASSING Hindi song compilations, for the sake of ONE lonestar in the entire album..

Discussing politics and legal issues with my dad, and feeling quite self-important.... eating the divine mutton-preparations he makes...

Discussing ideal weapons for murder with my brother.... also, influencing him to support my favourite reality show contestant... also, I JUST REALISED- if he gets a girlfriend while I'm away, I won't be there to accuse him of sacrilege and secretly go 'awww'.

As for the cats, who are very much family.... their insane sleeping postures, their moodswings and idiosyncrasies, their resemblances to celebrities ranging from Fa Hien to Big Moose... what makes it worse is that I won't be able to keep in touch with them through phone or e-mail. What if they forget me by the end 3 years? Oh fuck. That would kill me.

I'd talk about friends and this one teacher whose 'changed my life', as the cliche goes. But all that would require a whole blog. Instead, I'm going to end on a shallow but utilitarian note. Never mind if I'm dragging all my emotions down to a cheap conclusion. What if the bathroom of my hostel sucks? THE HORROR.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I've just returned from Delhi, and being so complacently lame-arse, couldn't resist blogging about the trip rightaway. I will degrade myself further. Like every other unimaginative soul, I will talk about the weather. The heat there and the heat here.

Spirits are supposed to swamp our souls with a chill, to make us shudder in mindless fear when they pass us by like a dying breath. The spirit of summer obviously wishes to break out of this mould. The spirit of summer likes glares and flares. The spirit of summer likes to hit us right between the eyes, and go- 'How's THAT for subtlety, bitch?'

I would appreciate this rebellious streak, even envy it, had the SoS not been such a bully; and picked on people its own size instead. For it is IMMENSE, and can stretch right out over the city, like an invisible, impenetrable fog. It's stronger, much stronger than us.

Now the nature of SoS seems to change with its geographical location. In Kolkata, it is heavy and soporiphic. We can hear its monotonous, tuneless hum and feel it weighting down upon our shoulders. In Delhi, it is like a restless, furious little devil-child. As it spins and rushes about, you are sucked into a whirlpool of heat that sucks the juice from your veins and spits you out, a mere scab. The SoS of Delhi plays with sandpaper and blowdryers. It is a bad child.

Everyone seems to prefer the Delhi heat to the Kolkata heat. It's not like their opinion is unfounded. In the Kolkata summer, we sweat. We get sticky, stinky, and feel strangely stupid. But even if you are drenched to the bone by sweat, when a gust of wind blows over you, it's like heaven. In Delhi, each time the wind blows and the leaves rustle, and you expect to enter a gentler word, you're just scraping against the sandpaper. Or getting sucked into one giant blowdryer. Or both.

I'll just come to the point instead of attempting prosetry. Dryness doesn't suit me. However, it seems to be better for my hair. Throughout my stay in Delhi, my hair looked sleek and shiny. It made me feel like a princess, despite my overused jeans. I have discovered a sad truth. Humidity makes my hair frizz.

Humidity, you make my hair frizz.
I beg of you, plizz,
Do not tizz
Me like thiz.

Let my occasional spurts of bad humour in no way bely my sincerity.


But on the whole, it was a good trip. I met the boy equivalent of Spriha. He's an adorable kid who talks shit, champions pink and mocks fad dieting- all with equal fervour.

I also met the squishiest, most twinkly-eyed specimen of little girl ever, who told me never to leave Delhi the next time I visited her. Bonding with her baby brother was a little more difficult. My god, the extent one can go to, for the sake of making a baby laugh. I allowed myself to assume the most undignified postures, to contort my facial muscles into expressions I never knew existed. Finally, I managed to evoke a quiet but appreciative chuckle by drumming out nursery rhymes on a tin of butter biscuits. And in the end, that chuckle seemed to compensate for my trauma (both mental and physical.)

But why did I go to Delhi? For the St. Stephens interivew. Let that be another tale, reserved for a day when I can talk of college without wincing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

To the Censor Board, with NO love

I was watching Colours, a movie which has Robert Duvall and Sean Penn. Not intensely gripping, but it seemed competently made and I was willing to sit through the entire movie before passing any judgements. After a while though, I just couldn't take anymore. No, not the bad acting because there wasn't any. Not the cheesy script because the script wasn't cheesy. In fact, after the censor board had done its snipping and ripping, there was hardly a script left.


A movie dealing with Blacks, gangs and cops. What do you expect it to contain, ballads and sermons? And in case the Moral Compass of Movies isn't aware of this, WE CAN LIP-READ. We can goddamn lip-read, so we don't need every alternate sentence to be punctured with a second's silence.

Apparently, fuck is wrong but sonnafabitch is not. Apparently, fuck is wrong but asshole is not. Apparently, fuck is wrong but innuendos about getting laid are alright because they don't directly involve swearwords.

I tried to stick with the movie for Sean Penn. And he did what he had to, oh yes. But then the flurry of one-second-silences got too much for me.

To fill up the gaps, let me pose a few questions to our entertainment industry- if you care SO FREAKING MUCH about preserving our innocence, WHY DO YOU AIR SUCH MOVIES?
And on the other hand, why are little children singing Beedi, swathed in fishnet and satin, ANY bit more palatable than 'fuck'? Why are are a bunch of fame-famished girls bitching their souls out over some guy, representative of the youth of India?
Our Reality T.V. can get as warped as it wants to, but Hollywood has to toe the line. Wow. That makes a hell lot of sense.

The kind of censoring that takes place in the case of subtitles is pretty outrageous too. Apparently 'crap' is more sophisticated than 'shit.'
And digest this-
In Good Morning Vietnam, Robin Williams says-
'I haven't ever seen such a big man with absolutely no penis.'
Sophisticated Subtitles say- 'I haven't ever seen such a big man with absolutely no private parts.'

I rest my case.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Miss Sarajevo

I'd always thought Opera was nothing but vocal pakami. Like a display of complex dance movies, so complex that it strains your brain to register the dance as a whole.


Emotion, I thought was what Opera lacked. I have no idea how I got stuck with that idea. I'd always prided myself on being rather sensitive. I used to say, with all the subtle snobbery I could muster, 'The composition doesn't really matter to me unless it's executed with passion.' What I didn't realise was, that opera had much more passion than my Peer-Pressured adolescent heart could take. No wonder it made me feel slightly stifled, slightly uncomfortable, like I would feel having a stranger sob violently on my shoulder.

I once downloaded this song (Miss Sarajevo) by U2 and Luciano Pavarotti-. I was attracted by such a strange combination. When I heard it for the first time, I wasn't impressed. I found it dull and plodding, I never thought I could be anything more than neutral towards it.

Many times afterwards, the song was played randomly by ITunes Shuffle. At the computer all of those times, I was busy googling fondue or trying to send telepathic mindwaves to people through MSN. The song never caught my fancy, or even my attention.

Now I'm a believer in conservation. Not of food or time. Primarily of trees and electricity, of GB and MB. I never keep files stored unless I'm sure that I'll use them at some point in the future. So I decided to delete Miss Sarajevo. But something went click inside my head just before I removed the file forever. And I thought I'd listen to it one last time. Carefully.

And my god.

From the very beginning, it did something to me. There was something so poignant and haunting about the music, something surreal. It began with Bono, soft and muted, but with this undercurrent of intensity to his voice. The build-up.

Then it went onto Pavarotti. And that's when I got chills.
There's something refreshing about a release of energy. When the angst-ridden child finally gives way to tears. When the frustrated painter brings his canvas crashing down upon the ground. When the egotistic lover throws caution to the winds and runs into the arms of her man. Trite or orginal, dramatic or subdued, the catharsis is needed.

And with Pavarotti's soaring voice, release was the one emotion I felt. Release from what, I don't know. But it was release INTO a whole new dimension. One where everything mattered, everything was beautiful, overwhelmingly so. And yet, there was no sense of suffocation, only of freedom.

It's a joke among my friends that I grow to love people after they die. Ted Hughes. Jimmie-Dah. (Morrison) John Lennon.

Well.
RIP, Pavarotti.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why oh why did I not apply to Lady Brabourne? Now my only hopes are Presidency, Loreto and JU.


If they do not take me, I will kneel at their main gates and sing Grace Kelly at the top of my voice.

'I could be brown, I could be blue
I could be violet sky
I could be hurtful, I could be purple
I could be anything you like

Gotta be green, gotta be mean
Gotta be everything more
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you walk out the door!'


Yes, Stephens is still left but if St. Xaviers doesn't cater to 92 percenters in English, Les Stephens is sure to turn up it's reputable nose at my marks. My dream regarding admission in Stephens was a joke though. I dreamt that they rejected my form because they found the essay on my interests too aantel.

Someone else dreamt that the principal of Unnamed College was willing to offer her admission if she slept with him. At that villanous offer, an accompanying friend jumped up in violent protest and confessed his love to her.

Dreams are amusing. Life, not so much. Not now.

If YOU are equally uncertain about your future, please contact me. I have planned out an eventful year. One that is both instructive and exciting but does not involve even the edge of a College. It may just be the turning point of your life.