December 29, 2002


Yes, I know this blog has come to a virtual stand-still with the gaps between each successive posts lengthening now to unpardonable lenghts of time and it is not a case of writer's block as you must have guessed by now. Hold your horses, let the man have his say before we lynch him. In a lot of ways this blog is reflective of the state of my mind and yes, I know I have been credited with the accolade of the most compulsively depressive blog and that is not without reason. Just a glance through the posts can make even me slightly bothered. But that is a different issue altogether.

Where were we? Yes, the lack of life on the blog. Like I said it is reflective of lots of things and mainly of the fact that at some point or the other I have stopped believing in anything and the blog is just one teeny weeny part in it. It is not your fancy "Oh I do not give a damn" attitude and it is not the fashionably cynical attitude either. Why? Because I do not want things to be this way but it cannot be helped. Somewhere along the way things stopped mattering. It means a lot, but it just stops mattering somewhere and life attains its own sordid momentum and you are nothing but a prisoner to it.

So everything is just reduced to numerical analyses of little numbers neatly arranged in tables of little moments of joy, anger, sadness, disgust and so on. They are shoddily kept books of profit and loss that does not make any difference anywhere. It is just an empirical study of how many days you lived without taking a break or how many years since you last had a crisis and how many days more to go before the next one strikes. In the end it is just a mind game, played between two sides of you. One predicts the doom way ahead, the other fights it. The strange taste of bittersweet victory where there is nothing to gain. It is just a joke. Just an emotionally intensive way of killing time before time decides to kill you someday.

The game actually is interesting because you actually know the end from the start. So why play at all? It is a simple logic. You have to push the limits, play it at the highest levels, to pledge loyalty to the only dependable thing in the whole scheme of things -- the unfairness in it all and embarrass it till the end when the last breath will have to be torn away from you. To leave with a smile that says "I lost on my own terms". Or in an example I am fond of quoting, when you know you are going to smash up on the highway better do that in a SLK Merc than in a puny autorickshaw.

Coming back to the blog, like I have told a few of the people who read it, my heart simply is not in it anymore. There is this great urge to disown this too and say it does not matter anymore. I'd so love it to be otherwise, but I cannot really say that is an out and out lie, it is not a hundred percent. But you have seen it before, you are just a spectator in this funny game where you laugh and cry at the same time.

In the background the music is playing, Golden Heart by Mark Knopfler, it paints pictures that I so love, one that I would to see happen, one that I wish would happen for more than miniscule five minutes of crisis that would divert winds calm and beautiful down this arid land before it blows itself over. So here I lay in wait, with words that have often been repeated to various faces through many a different times. I believe them for you like the surety with which I believe in the endgame and like how these words are lost somewhere in the numerous bits and bytes shifted through the wires unseen, I too have lost myself and there is no coming back.

December 19, 2002


As the sphere turns on its axis one more time nestled in the depth of an inaudible sigh. A question illuminated by the day's last strobes of light gently lingers on. Like all the others, this one too shall find no answers. Like the tears that decorate the windless night, the invisible hands of the answers shall not wipe them off, nor will it be the last to haunt this desolate expanse of strangers as you aimlessly pass them by.

With every turn you should have been wiser, should have known better, a lot less nicer, words full than emptier. Yet, it gets worser, each step taken makes you weaker, edges gnawing closer, distances growing nearer, emptiness inside more louder. Purpose is the non-existent antidote against the anathema of existence. Music can be slotted into seven notes, for that matter emotions too, with a bit of blot. There is nothing ever special. Eat, procreate and die - a three course lie called as life.

The spirit - is the greatest lie, is a failed leader, is a non-existent God, is a potent scam involving the billion. Learn to unlearn, unlearn what you learned, in reality lives a dormant dream, water it all down with a set of beliefs, make it edible, give it a nice name, package it in cheap fancy livery, make it all so real, make it all so really fake. Sell it well sonny, we have a living to make.

December 07, 2002


As the music traverses the distance around me in invisible spirals, set to an inaudible beating of the heart, I sit and wonder what do I write about? There is so much to say, the same old stories, about the same old joys and the same old fears. Re-runs mostly. But I do not want to write about any of them. I have said enough. There is a whole lifetime explained in between the thousands of lines that have been written here. But, why? I must admit I have no clue at all. Honestly, I'd hate it if all you got the precise thing that I am writing about. That should explain the abstraction.

I really have a good mind to disown all this. Stand in a corner at the street, point at me and say "oh hell that is not me okay?". And run like hell, faster and faster to another corner where I can set up the whole scam again. It would be nice actually to have an option like in one of those fancy thriller movies to assume a new identity and a new life elsewhere. Where is the opt-out button? Then again, the problem with scams is that they all meet the same end.

And I have to tell you I am sick of this "do not expect" crap. I am as human as they come and I will expect all the time. Is there something wrong with it? If you can sit under a godforsaken tree and expect to spend the rest of your life in the same manner go ahead and do it. But hey, there too you 'expect' that you spend the rest of your life in the same manner and sorry, but I am not game for such a deal.

It is ingrained into us to expect, it is part of us, it was what makes us what we are -- living, breathing people who feel. It is there in our impulses even. You won't take the next step if you are not sure of the ground, you take it only when you 'expect' the ground to hold. If that was not there I could spend the rest of my life swooning over a bloody lamp post. Why can't I? I do not expect it to love me back. I do not expect it to care for me, I can just give and give and give more and become a part of some fancy philosophical folklore.

Yes, there is the fact that you do not always get what you want. The expectations are not always met and we always want to believe that we are at the receiving end of a bad deal all the time. But that is a totally different matter and it sucks really bad for the ones who happen to get particularly sour deals. It hurts then and it hurts unbearably bad. Sometimes you get used to it, move on and maybe find better things in life, sometimes you do not.

The sad thing about precious things is that that they are rare, that is what gives them value they possess. If each of the billion people on earth were to have the prefect solution it would be so imperfect. If all the people whom you love happen to love you back, they would all mean nothing to you. If you happen to be lucky enough to get loved back the way you want to, grab it, tie it up, hold on to it, be it even for five minutes, because everything will go in the end. With time everything touches the mundane, there is really nothing called as special, it is just the five minutes of purity and a lifetime of mundaneness you paint with nostalgia and expectations that you are left with.

In the end we all have our little selfish agendas to fulfil. We all have our quota of a set number of comforting words to be served as the holy sacrament of every relationship to consume and feel good everyday. The five minutes have been consigned to the pages of memory, to be flipped and gloated over every now and then when the selling price of the mundane becomes too low to sustain life by means of emotions.

By then it is not the same anymore. The same words have lost their shine, look carefully and you can see the fakeness of the metal underneath, it is too flimsy a coating. Still it sells well, the market loves the product and in today's economy the consumer is king and when it grants the seller his five minutes of clandestine purity why should he not take it? And everyone is happy.

Well, not quite. Our dear friend expectation has to feature somewhere in the scene. You need more of the five minutes but it can't be. Remember, the consumer is king and not the seller. The existing market conditions can only be determined by him. Unfortunately, in this script not everywhere walks hand in hand into the sunset and the parts are already fixed and being played out. I pity the unlucky sod who bites the dust in the end. Even the credits do not mention his name as it scrolls up the screen with the crowd hurriedly heading for the exit in the foreground.

December 06, 2002


When you tend to ramble a lot, one thing that merits a lot of consideration is that words tend to depreciate in value rather fast when they are used quite often. A lot faster than what it should ideally do.

For instance, when you say "I love you" even to your loved one twenty times in a day, it takes away the special feeling that should be there when you say it. It becomes more or less of a ritual like the full stop that ends every sentence. That, at least is a positive aspect, with the negative ones the rate is absolutely fabulous, much more spectacular than the worst of stock market crashes.

So, is there an ideal amount of usage associated with words? Can one measure and dole out the prefect little numbers of the good and the bad that would also extract the desired response from the listener's end? I for one always seems to be dealing in extremes, either talking too much or too little. The end result is a response that falls into either unmitigated disaster or total bliss as to an evaluation of the state of my mind.

But, do we have to measure and deliver all the time? Why is it that one is not allowed to step out of line? Why is it that the protocols always have to be maintained? Why is that appearances have to be kept all the time?

Maybe I am giving myself too much leeway here, since my words have depreciated way beyond any useful purpose and have become just the mandatory response to external human conversational and emotional stimuli that gives away enough by the way of vital signs to stop being of any concern to anyone. I am rambling yet again, right?

Precisely my point too. We have gone past the point where it makes any difference at all. It is just another entry in the end. And since I have exhausted my precious quota of the two minutes of your attention, I should shut up now. Thank you.

[On an unrelated note, a whole lot of thanks to WillsDelirium of TheWeblogReview for having taken the effort to go through this site. Gracias amigo again.]

December 05, 2002


Read my lips, drain my eyes, wash your pure little face with my unforgiving smile and never look back. This is where the deal ends, when you have turned around the bend, I shall retrace to my circle, waiting to perform the next minor miracle.

Words are of little meaning, when to not hear is your leaning. Strange shapes the lips make they tire, in the mind they create a maze of snares. Echoing fading prayers of sanity, the world transforms into illusion's monastery.

It is now okay that the norm persists and exception is pretty much the most useful lie. Pop it in three times a day -- the magical killer cure, someday all of us would surely die. Just make sure it is on my tab and please leave without even a bye.

What shall we use, To fill the empty spaces, Where we used to talk? -- Empty Spaces by Pink Floyd

November 30, 2002


I am not someone who reads the stuff I had written a while back from the archives, but thanks to the strange ways of Blogger I was forced to to republish them yesterday. One thing led to another and since I was at it anyway, I switched to the monthly archive format and while checking the page depth started reading it in bits and parts. Soon I was reading the major portions of the early posts. I had written before that I hate the month of December [strange, I love winters but hate December] and reading the early posts gave me a very scary feeling. I simply do not like December. Period.

The first instalment of the scares start in December 2000. I still do not have a very concrete idea about what I was trying to prove by what I did then, but all I remember is that I could not really stand to see her hurting so much in something that had no future at all. In a way it was comical, because I was sitting there trying to convince her to call off something that meant nothing short of my life to me. Everything I was clinging onto at that time was defined by it and the trouble was I managed to sell the concept only too well. So well that, I spent a good part of the next three months as an oblivious passenger on the carriage called as life led by a very vague routine and wondering what the hell had hit me.

This actually happened after another major loss. The thing is, I rarely ask. In fact I can even tell you the single digit figure that would represent the number of times that I have asked for something. No, it is not the same as wanting something. That is different. And I hate asking for things that I would never get. Coming back to the loss, it was my first bike and it was stolen. It was one of the things that I had asked for and in keeping with the flavour of the season I lost that first and then the next thing that I asked for, a thing in which I could believe in unquestionably and unconditionally.

Both still haunt me a lot, for they are cases where there has been no clean cut disengagement. Practicality demands that you forget the loss and for sanity's sake you pretend that you accept it, but it all lives on somewhere else and you can't help wishing every now and then that it was all a bad dream and things would be back to where it was then. Well, not really. It is something like the retired army men. To make the present bearable, they dwell endlessly on past glory and this is just a civilian interpretation of it.

Come December 2001 and like Santa I have worn the misery suit again. Against all of my own spectacular warnings and prophecies I dared to ask for something and did not get it. It was not so much that I did not get it that was causing the problem, it was the fact that I wanted to have it that bugged me to no end. I was so mad with myself then that I wanted to kick myself all over just till the point where it would kill me so that I would not forget the lesson for the rest of my life. Well, the way I took it out on myself was not all that brutal, but it was brutal enough, the distressing details of which we shall not go into now. The significant bit is that what was meant to be a private show for myself was rudely interrupted by a bunch of my closest friends who figured out that I was up to no good. Armageddon followed.

The end result was around 8 hours of time wiped out from my memory and something that can only be mildly termed as a colossal public relations catastrophe. Most of what I know about what really happened is through hearsay. So officially I welcome 2002 in with a smashing hangover and an empty, screaming stomach at six in the morning, famished and walking in silence with my roomie to the nearby Barista where two chicken rolls and a salad were consumed in a tearing hurry. The next three months was fun (deja vu right?) trying to calm down the worried friends that I was not suicidal or anything, it was just that I was not at all impressed with myself. Not that they ever bought it, but that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so sue me God if that is not the case.

So, here we are again December 2002 and I am looking fondly at the things that mean anything to me. The first losses have registered already, but somehow I am more prepared this time and the element of surprise is lacking. Please, no pushing in the queue, we are all civilised and cultured people, your turn too shall come. I could even try taking bets on what could go next, you know. Just take everything away, one by one. And you, yes you too can join them. No, I certainly do not mind. Please feel free. Make my December.

It has taken a lot of effort to get to where things are now and the old habit of never asking is still there. Do not ever wish. Just grit your teeth and walk on, that way things are much easier. At times the the pointlessness of the whole jingbang irritates me, to be part of this circular joke. But then it must be pleasing some one if it is a joke. At least someone is happy. Yeah, sure.

November 29, 2002


The greatest misconception that humanity makes every now and then is that they have figured out everyone and everything.

My Lord, I am guilty on innumerable counts on the same as charged.

November 28, 2002

Psyched Out

I have to admit that seven hours of poring through patchworked PHP code after having worked through the night is not the best first step towards acquiring a healthy lifestyle. But, that is what has been happening to me since Monday, when I finally got to lay my hands on the much talked about Psyche or known better as RedHat Linux version 8.

With Bluecurve, RedHat has gone a long way in giving the uniform look to both Gnome and KDE on Psyche. But that is where the problem ends or starts, depending on what sort of user you would happen to be. If you are moving from Windows to Linux, this is surely not the distro for you as the shift from "Geek Paradise" to "Linux for Dummies" paradigm is just about half cooked and even four days after slapping it on my system I still have not managed to make it look or feel as familiar as the Enigma (RedHat 7.2) install that was sitting there earlier. And please do not bother installing the distro if you are one of those poor souls with a godforsaken Winmodem, the existing drivers out there do not complie with GCC3 that is on Psyche.

Now to the experienced Linux user. The only reason to upgrade to Psyche for you would be Gnome 2. And that is where it ends if your life is oh-so-poor if you cannot use the Evolution client. Gnome 2 looks nothing short of sexy, yes there are the usual gripes about how the UI is inconsistent and the other caveats that the local chapter of the QT lovers association and XP lovers association would throw at you, but as far as I am concerned it is still very snappy, looks adorable with the anti-aliased fonts and once my favourite Aqua themes were up and running it felt somewhat familiar.

One reason why I dislike KDE is because it ends up looking silly trying to be a Windows clone [sic: heights of hypocrisy - Codey dissing Windows after running an XP theme on KDE!] and RedHat has added to the general Linux UI misery with the GDM looking suspiciously like a Windows XP login screen and a package manager looking and running pathetically slow like Install/Unistall on Windows. Looks, sadly, does not guarantee functionality and within three or four other RPM installs, the unsuspecting user is thrown into "package hell', leading to a couple of rounds of before the much needed pieces of the puzzle fall and fit together.

Frankly, I do not know if hiding all the settings is the right approach taken by RedHat, towards making the so-called 'ultimate Windows killer application', after all that is the single major issue that most power users have with Windows -- that they cannot tweak or fiddle around with things beyond the invisible, yet very restrictive line that Microsoft has drawn around them.

But the one marked improvement as far as Psyche is concerned is fonts, with the default path being the .fonts under user's home directory. I dumped all of my lovely TrueTypes under /usr/share/fonts/truetype and symlinked .fonts to it. And yes, there is the display configuration utility that Mandrake has had for a while, so no more fiddling with the XF86Config-4 file. And last but not the least, do not install XMMS that comes with Psyche if you want to play MP3s because RedHat has not included the mp3 decoder in Psyche citing licensing issues. So, download the RPM or source from the XMMS site and install it. May the MP3 gods never forgive you for this omission RedHat.

So, what is the verdict? With Psyche, Redhat has gone a long way in bringing some much needed eye candy towards the Linux desktop, but this is most probably the last RedHat distro I will be using for my Linux needs. It is going to be Debian or FreeBSD as soon as their respective stable releases incorporate some of the new packages that I would want as a minimum. Maybe two more releases down the line RedHat would actually make a Windows clone that looks precisely like Windows XP, but then why would I bother using Linux if I have to make it work like Windows? I am much better off running Windows itself in that case. For a bit of money it would save me a lot of sweat. Kind of self-defeating don't you think?

Other than wrestling with psyche, I have been waging a running street battle with Blogger to let me import all my posts into MySql, so that I can take this blog off it and run it off my own scripts. The first half of that project is over after seven hours of struggle with PHP to parse the data from the template that I set up and write it to an XML file which I can parse again to be dumped into MySql. So, there does exist now an XML dump of this journal with me and what is left now is the tedious job of making sense of the XML parser in PHP to enter the data into MySql.

Did I hear someone say use an XSL style sheet and let the thing run off itself? That would be easy and very much possible, only that most hosts do not have Sablotron installed and I am also trying scratch up a script that would make a dump from the XML file which can be imported into another CMS like Nucleus or B2. Besides, I do not intend to use PHP other than to generate the flat HTML pages.

So, the long and short of it is, I am a long way from home [literally too!] and I better stop this rambling here if I am to get anywhere with it.

Screenshot here

November 25, 2002


As usual, the child and the adult are sitting on the wall overlooking the wide open fields that gently melt into the setting sun.

The little one not having spoken for a while causes the adult to sit up and take notice. Is it yet another phase? He wonders, lets it remain at that and grants his attention back to the birds swooping down in a flock and up again against the sinking orange disk. Another five minutes of this and I am going to scream at him, the adult makes up his mind.

Why cannot he just ask? It is written all over his face that he wants to know. Why should he then put up this front at all? After all it is just him and me, thinks the child, staring blindly up ahead pretending to count an imaginary figure with his little fingers.

Is something bothering you? The question arrives finally from the adult following a loud and very noticeable prelude of a sigh.


It is very awkward for him now and he has been caught on the wrong foot, if the child does not speak at all, it will be a total disaster. The situation must be salvaged. Adopting a more amiable posture he tells the child "You honestly cannot expect me to read your mind, you have to tell me what is bothering you, otherwise how am I to know?"

"What do you want to know", asks the little one, his mind echoing the same question in different words -- what would you know anyway? The floodgates open and the adult swamps the child with words about how it is all different, how wonderful things are and all the other things the child should be to listening to.

"Yeah, it is all wonderful, really wonderful", the little one concludes, praying for an early conclusion of this latest episode.

"I was sure you would see my point", says the adult and marks his latest victory with a smug smile.

And they return to to their respective silences.

November 22, 2002


Between endless hours of words spewed out of a clattery keyboard, three mugs of tea, a sparse meal or two and a round trip of hardly ten kilometers guided by a freezing pair of hands, the search for life continues unabated.


Since there is nothing much original left here to read, I suggest you go here and read something worthwhile.

Thank you & Amen

November 19, 2002


Of late there has been a decreasing need to communicate compensated by a whirlwind of words, images and memories that surround me constantly. It all was going according to plan, in fact like clockwork, till I accidentally tripped on a power cable setting alive the whole circus. Now they run around me and tell me stories as they dance past and vanish into the darkness beyond the arc lights when I look for them again.

Never doubt what you perceive, no matter how preposterous it might be. Twelve months on, I am wondering about things that I had almost lost my mind over. The bastard called as hindsight is mocking at me from the dark corner. What was I up to? Why? I can't even put my finger on what I saw in it all. The same thing now evokes nothing but disdain in me. Contempt? Maybe. Sour grapes? Probably not, but I cannot be sure.

What is important is, it is the same perception that confers a given value to all other things in my life. Would all of them too turn out to be false as time crawls through them? Maybe it already is happening. Maybe I never noticed. Maybe I did and froze a good element from everything and indexed them in my memory with an associated value. SELECT person, time_period, memory FROM WHERE emotion like joy. Obviously, a query on a negative one would always return zero rows.

The prime criterion in selecting an ideal sample is to get one that would always agree with your conclusions.

Life is good mate, it is just too damn good.

Update I: I do not know if it is my system or if it is Blogger, but something is messing big time with my template. Might or might not fix it after I hunt down some food and sleep. Thank ye!

Update II: Did nothing new and it seems to be working now, guess it was the sleep, something tells me I must get more of it.

November 18, 2002


Give me strength to run many a million miles, without stopping, without looking, without feeling.
Give me vision to look beyond the ordinary and seek the non-existent extraordinary, to be blind to pain and joy
Give me blindness to erase my dreams and a blank face to erase my expressions
Give me courage to be baited by a million and and the ability to entertain like no one else
And when I can run no more, give me a blessing in a shot, to be put down like a limping mongrel
After all, what good am I if I cannot run at all?

November 12, 2002


The sun is a pale orange pastel's arc with streaks of faded yellow crisscrossing its face. On a dark blue river its reflection tapers to the silhouette of a lonely boatman splashing his oars making gentle waves that travel towards the shores touching all life that happen to be there at that time. There is a giant waterfall up ahead, which does not slow down the splashes. There are only smiles in this painting.

Time is its own master, but you master time when you break free from it by conceding all to it. She is a wonderful fairy leading you by her hand to newer, stranger and at times beautiful lands. There is no learning in this journey. We kneel at the starting line with a zero and we come full circle to complete the run as zero. The interim is marked by experience in numbers other than zero that fills you up with a temporary value.

The more you hold on to things, the more she drags you along, it cuts, bruises and leaves you hurting. The more you let go, the further you blend into the journey and each passing day there is a lesser ounce of you left in you. We are in a mad race towards the second zero.

So many have come and even more have left. So many you have hurt and so many have paid you back with same coin. There are debts that you think you have repaid and then there are debts that all the money in this world, like some messy accounts, you can never clear. Between words that were actually said and words that were dreamt up, there remains nothing but a moth eaten register in the mind to mark their memories. Thank you for staying here dear sirs, hope you had a nice time, please do visit us again.

You and only you persist in the end, like the smile that accompanies that simple realisation.

I am going nowhere. I am here to stay....


Do you see what I see? We agree that what we see is green, but what actually is green? Green might be red for you and yellow for me, you might have called red, green all your life and I might have called yellow, green all my life. Strange that we have come all this way as a civilisation based on such fundamental assumptions that might even be based on facts that never existed in the first place.

Is the look that I see in your eyes really there or is it just the way it has been all the time? Or is it that I am calling your same emotion under a different name today? Or it is just that you see green and I want to see red, so I see red. But it remains green for you. Then again, even if we agree it is green that we both see, how can you be sure that it is not red that you see and yellow that I see. Still we manage to spend whole lifetimes together based on such understandings. Or misunderstandings?

November 08, 2002


I could gladly die right now, only if I could find something worthwhile to die for.

November 07, 2002

The Narrative

There is something about a high shot of the setting sun in an almost deserted street and a deep voiceover that yanks the listener's attention back to the rose-tinted beginning. There is something about stories that starts with the line "When we were kids" and the noise of the children playing in the street that threads its way through the background score of a solitary piano. I loved the way how Sleepers started. I loved the way it ended. And the title music of Malgudi Days on television will never stop haunting me for the rest of my life.

Give me a story, a bag of popcorn, a pillow to lean on, my mug of coffee and the regular "Once upon a time" beginning. Give me an unreal picture to draw in my mind, an imaginary strobe of light in a forest of darkness -- someone else's reality that I can believe in and be happy for, comfortable in the thought that there indeed exists life elsewhere. The only thing I can assure you in return is my undivided attention.

Do you have a story to tell me?

The future held no interest for her; she desired eternity; eternity is time that has stopped, come to a standstill; the future makes eternity impossible; she wanted to annihilate the future. -- From Love's labour's lost by Milan Kundera

November 05, 2002


Time is an enduring snowball, unstoppable and ever growing, ever persistent with its threat to mow you down at any given instance. Its cumulative side effect is often the fancy disease called as experience which leaves unpleasant scars as reminders. Prevention being a non-entity, it is often left to immunity to pick up the pieces every time it mows you down. Lessons are never learnt. This class is an abject failure. Shame on all of you. Dismissed!

Am dreading the arrival of December. The past five years or so, the same month has brought about radical and often unwelcome changes in my life and today my feet are freezing, the dreaded chill is arriving. We are coming to get you lad, sure as hell we are! I want a safe and secure corner, an old barrel, some wood to burn in it and a warm pair of hands to hold on to.

Summers are too hot, but the stars are wonderful and they litter the skies like popcorn scattered on the floor when you spill it from the jumbo packet. Winters are too cold, there are no stars, just the grey haze of an unpleasant anticipation blankets life. Chase the impersonal cold in summers and the distant stars in winters, after a while one loses track of what was being missed and what was in grasp. Spin round and round like a top to tumble and fall in a dark heap. Ring a ring of roses......

A heady tune reaches its crescendo dancing to the wild steps of fingers doing a tango with the strings, another flick and yet another roll of ash takes to the air on its way to the ground. Pale morning light slowly dissolves the darkness, shapes emerge, the snowball rolls on. Another day begins.

Where is my mug of coffee?

You're calling me mad
But i know you're the same
Cause you got to be seen to be playing the game
Yes we got to be seen to be playing, the game. --
Otherwise by Morcheeba

November 04, 2002


Funny how things change. As ten year old I wanted nothing more in life to do than to burst crackers during diwali at home, because my parents never got them for us. It was considered too dangerous for us. Obedience being one of my more 'positive' virtues, I would still burst a few away from home with my friends who were allowed the noisy pleasure. Later, the smaller crackers were taken off the persona non grata list, but by then crackers were not the only thing I had been forced to grow beyond, when the time came for the annual ritual that we acted out to perfection to the lines of a tried and trusted script. Now, the same crackers irritate me. Not just because of the pollution, but mainly because it destroys the calm which I so love. Wonder how many we must have irritated as kids, aided by those monstrous bombs.

Fact. Golf is so not a spectator game. I have always known this watching it on television, but my jogging sessions have now proven it beyond doubt, at least to me. The park where I jog is located right next to the local golf course and it provides with some comic relief when I am puffing and panting my way through the painful rounds. It is really amusing to see the amount of concentration that goes into the drive off the putting range. Obviously, no one told them that it makes more sense to figure out the line through which you have to hit than to keep staring at the ball as if they expect it to pop up with a life that it might attain out of the blue. Finally when the drive finally descends from the heavens above is a spectacle worth a thousand words. An apt way to describe it would be - driving with a vengeance. It would not be a bad idea to put a board up that says "Jogging here can be a health hazard". A golf ball can hurt really bad, you know.

Back to jogging now. One very nice thing to see every morning is that there are so many old people around who often beat the living daylights out of you with their enthusiasm and persistence. Makes you feel a bit guilty about complaining so much about life. But then, you cannot really compare. The path around the park is a figure of eight and it is a wonderful place to be during early mornings or evenings. I have yet to talk even a single person out there and I do not have any complaints about that. One reason why I love the jogging is for the solitude that comes with it and the pleasure that comes with working through the pain barrier when you start to cramp up or just run out of breath. I really do wonder if that is the only thing that attracts me to it, the usual pushing the envelope bit. I hope not.

October 30, 2002


Approximately thirteen clockwise stirrings followed by a same number of the anti-clockwise variety is what it takes to adequately dissolve the two teaspoons of sugar required to sweeten my morning mug of tea. Three shavings of ginger and three seeds of cardamom forced open with an old coffee container spices up the concoction. The pleasures of life on your own is crude most of the times, but it is sweet and simple too.

An odd cobweb stands as a disinterested, mute witness to life progressing in a room marked by three wilting flowers stationed in the makeshift vase of an old vodka bottle in a dusty corner. From its standard issue of a mattress, a bucket and a duffel bag, life in general has acquired so many add-ons over the past four years, but the core remains the same. The bag is still there, the mattress was lost somewhere in the process of having lived out the bag in as many as six rat holes in an equal number of months. The bucket was lost to some holi-crazed hooligans, who found it ideal to pour coloured water over unsuspecting souls, when three of us impoverished students used to share a tiny room on the terrace of a four storied building.

To be honest, most of the times the script is really lousy. Well, other than for the odd day or so that you get to spend the way you want to spend it, which sort of mistakenly represents the whole drama. Otherwise you seem to be perpetually running out of either sugar, coffee powder, detergent or the gazillion tiny things that always manages to get exhausted the moment you just do not want it to. Of course, I should mention that there does not exist even a single moment of the other variety. Just when you breathe a sigh of relief that the latest round of bill payments are over, the calendar mockingly reminds you that it is the end of the month. Oh dear, here we go again.

Some run races only to win, to show-off their trophies and feel proud about it. Others like me run just for the simple yet beautiful satisfaction of having run it. Come to think of it, four years back I could not even get a train ticket reserved by myself. Yes, you can have the podium dear sir, but I am racing only with myself. We are just finishing lap 23 and my race is not over yet. Please do play a modest anthem for me when all the din dies down, for every lap is a victory for me, no matter how insignificant it might be for you.

Backed by hindsight and a mug of not-so-sweet tea inside me, I can reliably inform you that approximately thirteen stirrings with and against the ways of the clock is not enough, it has to be somewhere around eighteen to twenty, twenty five even. On second thoughts, you can add another teaspoon and a half of sugar too.

Then again, you might not like tea the way I make it.

October 28, 2002

In a valley you can choose to climb the heights at the risk of a possibly fatal fall or stick to the plains and lead a protected existence - you never fall, but you never taste the sweet wine of the heights either. It is amazing to live life as an open ended question, it is something like holding a fragile little feather in your hand and set it free to be played around by the elements. It is scary too, when you know the next five minutes as are certain as the next five years. All along the way the cup is half empty or full depending on the state of your mind and the sweet pleasure of justice awaits you at every corner, when you find yourselves at the receiving end of the stick every now and then. You have to trust your basic instinct towards survival and then fall free through time. Bliss.

Never judge a person by the happiness he shows, a better measure is always the sorrow he hides. How you go about it is the million dollar question. There are signs and signs everywhere, people are mazes with carefully concealed doors littering every dead end. Sometimes you find them unknowingly and you are happily let in, sometimes you barge in without an invitation only to be chased out with the strongest of denials.

After many a botched attempt, the city has finally managed to snare the elusive creature called as winter, three months of huddled pleasure awaits us now. In the thickening haze it is getting more and more difficult to make out one from the other, so we are slowing down. Slowing down in warming up to love hastening in running towards the arms of hate. Somewhere among all of that exists little lonely recesses in the mind, sheltered from the howling winds, where stolen moments of happiness are written in a language unknown to the outside world. Of course, I know you do not understand a word of all this. But as I said before, never use the oft used measures. A smile is often an expression of sorrow turned upside down. Go figure.

Words get tangled on your tongue
And you stumble on your feet
When you miss somebody
And everywhere you think you see them
Walking down the street
When you miss somebody
-- Wave Goodbye by Chris Cornell

October 23, 2002

Another list

Things that I love about life:

Books. What can I say about them other than that they have a life of their own. No feeling on earth compares to opening a new book in a bookstore and smelling a random open page. To touch and leaf through one is bliss and to be able to read is one of the greatest gift anyone could ever possess. Personally, I hate people who mistreat books in bookstores, who do not care enough to replace a book where it was found without messing around with it. Books are like infants, the way you treat them when they are young plays a huge part in how they shape up as they mature and grow older. Music shops and bookstores, sigh, these are the only two places which makes me regret the fact that I was not born the son of a millionaire. I can never have enough of either.

To have honestly believed as a kid that I was really flying an airplane, precariously perched on the high branch of a truncated guava tree in the yard, with all the great vocal sound effects to boot. To have run shirtless and barefoot all over the then unpaved colony roads, compound walls and terraces of petrified neighbours and return home late in the evening with the day's trophies of scraped and lost skin and flesh to the inevitable caning and verbal abuse sessions, only to do it all over again the following day.

To have loved senselessly for four years and to have been lucky enough to be loved back with the same or a better level of intensity even when the inevitability of the conclusion was clear from almost day one. To flip through old photographs and trace the outline of faces and moments with my finger and relive it all again, to catch that magical look in a pair of twinkling eyes and recount the days when you would have done almost anything in the name of love. To be held in a way for a few seconds in time when you wanted someone to press the freeze button on life's remote and rest there forever snug and comfortable in all the warmth that sustains life even today.

To be here today, when through all those yesterdays tomorrow was a nothing but a distant impossibility.

Things I hate about life:

It is one nasty addiction I cannot kick and I hate admitting that even with all the whining I am hooked big time onto it.

Yeah, I know I said tata and all that jazz less than 24 hours back. But in the end I have to admit I love doing this, to spill my gut out here and then have it appreciated or dissed by whoever happens to pass by. And I really do not think I need any other justification to keep doing it other than the fact that I love it. If I want to stash it someplace secret, I might as well keep it in my mind and not put it all down at all.

Those who want to freak out or shut me up in a loony bin can please help themselves and not read all this, for this what I am. Take it or leave it, there are no half measures on this ride. Those with a weak heart please step aside.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen, the freak show is back in town. Tickets are selling at a discount for the next few days and please do not feed, provoke or harm the animals, they are very unpredictable when they are dealt with in such a manner. You co-operation and words of encouragement are very much appreciated. Let us bring it on!

Last Laugh

It has been a while in the coming and I have gone over this time and time again. I have waited a few days to see if my mind too, like so many other things, would change, resulting in a blooper where I'd say "Oops I am back" and get back to it with a sheepish grin on my face. But, that is not to be and I have decided to call it quits and put the meticulously underthought ramblings to an end.

Over time this blog has become very much of a personal diary, with the stuff here mostly not really belonging to the public domain or serving any other tangible purpose than freaking people out or just plain scaring them. Maybe this will continue over at a private journal not seen by anyone else, or maybe I will not continue at all.

The bottom line being any damn thing you do should produce some kind of result - positive or negative. And that precisely is what has been lacking. There have just been pages and pages of mindless whining out here, but certain things never change, nor do I believe they ever will.

So, I guess taking all this elsewhere will at least stop scaring people. In other words, maybe its end will finally achieve something useful.

Ultimately, you have to let go of things and move on. Sounds familiar, right?. But it is kind of funny that my hands are trembling a bit as I key these words in. Will miss it a lot though and the whole lot of people who have encouraged me, most of whom I have had the pleasure of knowing through the blog. Thank you all, it was a pleasure having you here.

So that is it folks, the freak show is over, some other day some other time maybe.


I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
-- I have a dream by ABBA

October 18, 2002


It is moments that qualify an otherwise lonely journey called as life for all of us. Moments that we cherish, moments we love, moments we hate. They all add up to a final balance sheet, the quality of which even the smartest of fudging can only mildly disguise but never hide. And if you have one like mine, where most entries are of the 'smile and I will be fine walking away' kinds, you are damned.

It is a bit confusing to how it can be described precisely. At times I feel like a bear being prodded and poked at in a street side baiting show, other times I feel like a journeyman fighter for whom the next fight could potentially be his last. You spend a lifetime fighting things for survival first and when you manage that, you create your own ghosts to fight, for without it you are no one.

I am weary and I am tired. It is a race of attrition that I am bound to lose, arms and limbs too weary to lift the weapons for one last time, the armor is tattered and punctured, waiting for the final blow of deliverance. All I have to meet it with is the most peaceful of the smiles I have ever smiled, this is one defeat I shall welcome with open arms.

It was not like this always. There used to be a time when I would see nice things and tell myself that this is just another phase, just another battle to survive, someday it could be mine too. Sadly it does not work out that way. In between loaned and stolen moments that never belong to you, the truth shines clear like the flash of light on the sword of deliverance, it is never meant to be. You belong to the road and the battlefield, they are your most loyal companions, you owe your allegiance to them.

There are lots of things I would like to believe in, that things better do exist in this world, but those are written in a language that does not define what I am. In other words, they are dishonest to my being. The moments you stay on after the battle, are not yours, your truth is one that holds only in the gore and violence. Beyond that, everything is a fallacy. It tempts but it never delivers.

You are just a cruel form of entertainment, cruel, but entertainment all the same. One that feeds on the cliched bloody scars that pass off for medals. How is anyone to differentiate when they all look the same, just memories covered by half-dead flesh and lacerated skin held together by drying blood.

You are just a grimy dim lamp, that lights up the darkness only to be outshoned and extinguished in the light of the day.

October 17, 2002


Oh, I am back by the way. Not at all surprising, considering the fact that where else can I go?

The lines are really getting blurred now. Not that they were clear ever. Just that earlier it used to be a once-in-a while occurrence - the blurred vision that is. Now it is the norm. Clarity is a rainbow over the valley of dreams, sleep is elusive and I never liked the pills anyway.

Get the torches, the gasoline, a gag, the ropes and a few knives to boot. Choke, gag and cut this pagan to pieces. Douse him in the gasoline and set him alight, shut the door behind, plug your ears tight, do not look nor listen. It will all die down and merge with the silence of the peaceful night.

Life shall begin again, 6 am sharp tomorrow morning.

When in love with a blind man
You love on your own
To an occasional smile
You never know why but sometimes he smiles
And sometimes just lies there, so jealous
When In Love With A Blind Man by Tears For Fears


Goddammit. Took a left, when I should have taken a right. Stopped, when I should have run. Laughed when everyone was crying.

I know, this does not quite make any sense. Can say the same for me too.

Not quite here or anywhere for that matter. Not expected to return in a while.

October 12, 2002


Everyone had someone to cry over when the battle was over. Weary and tired I walked over to an unknown corpse, shed a few tears over it, for a moment held it close, said a few kind words and when the stench got to me, I walked on in search of other battles and never looked back.

Abundance is always within reach, if only one knows how to find it. - Isabel Allende in Paula.

October 10, 2002


If there were to be a last wish before these weary bones turn to ash, it would be to hold your face on my palm, lift it up to mine and look one last time in those eyes I have never seen and believe for good that it was all worth it.

It would be to feel the nape of your neck with the last of my breath and to caress your brow with the last of my touch and with one more, push back the untamed locks and believe all this was not in vain.

It would be to breathe the last in your arms, free from hurt, free from pain, free from understanding and misunderstanding, free from all the fights, richer for all the warmth and gladly poor for all the words, sights and sounds ever on offer in this world.

It would be to lose the self and regain the other.

It would be to make all of this go away and make it all beautiful again.

October 09, 2002


Available for short entertainment stints: Twenty something, fast and smart talking, arrogant, decent listener-actor of a cocky bastard. An okay bargain.

Listed as missing: Twenty something, scared, vulnerable, insecure and gullible sucker for posterity. A bad investment.

Age-old wisdom says you should not move or attempt to ground your feet on the beach when the waves retreat, gradually washing away the sand from right underneath them. Let them slip away like the fine sand in an hourglass, one or many at a time, till there remains nothing. Bottom out, invert the fancy time machine and the drama begins all over again.

October 08, 2002


It is a quiet Tuesday morning and even after twenty odd minutes of blankly staring at the monitor and thinking of what to write about, I cannot come up with much that has not been written about before. At the risk of sounding repetitive, a sentence is keyed in, read and deleted in an instant. There must surely be something to write about in this wide world. There surely must be something.

Armed with the magnifying glass of less-than-average observational powers and life's dictionary of cliches, I make another valiant attempt in search of the yet to be written great post. The trap is laid, the background score reaches a crescendo, the suspense is just killing. The moment arrives, the fingers hover mercilessly over the keys for the final push.


This one just refuses to start. No point in flogging a dead post.

To be very honest, somewhere along the way the whole concept of blogging was lost on me. Frankly, I do not really care whether I am part of a community or not, or even where this all belong, the voice of the ordinary and the rest of the jazz. This, like I said before, is just a conversation between me, myself and I, in my various shades and moods (aka a meme blog). But, it is a very important conversation to me, for it plays a great part in fitting things into a temporary working perspective. Anything which achieves that end for me is just too valuable and that is precisely what drives the urge to paste some rubbish on this yucky yellow coloured wall as often as I can.

That is also the main reason why you would not find any great commentary or interesting links or discussions here. At various points in time during the existence of this blog it has been a bit of all those and something that was instantly noticeable was there are million people out there who do it much better than I can. So nonsensical ramblings here are what serves my time spent on this best.

The only casualty in all this is comprehension. Whatever that is plastered on these walls are mostly very personal things glossed and gloated over with different layers of very complicated or plain insane sounding stuff. Unless you are someone who knows me pretty closely, the odds are that it will make no sense to you, for the context is most often not universal and same things evoke different reactions in each of us. So, even if I am to put it all out here in plain language, at the most a debate is what will result and that is not what I really want. Then what do I really want? Well, that is a totally different story altogether. We will save it for a rainy day.

The grey area that surfaces then is the comments. If a debate or discussion is not the aim then why is the comment box there? It is nothing but raw fodder for the ego or a nice distraction and senseless banter has always been one of my favourites among all forms of idle pastime. There is something infinitely interesting about the little tit-bits of conversations that goes on in these little windows. Somehow, in most cases I find the conversations out there more interesting than the actual post in itself.

Again I am at a loss for what more to write. So let me stop this merciless assault on your patience when I can. Thank you for your kind and patient listening. It was a pleasure to have you here.

So where were we Codey?

Post and Publish.

October 06, 2002


Lingering taste of coffee from a finger that just traced the outline of a blue coffee mug's neck and the whiff of an abstract conversation that it kills with a swift application on the lips, words are a burden to the cause today.

In the warmth of an embrace we set out to chase our ghosts, put our best feet forward, put the most powerful arms up ahead and the assault is finally on. Victory or defeat is really inconsequential, for we are just fighting scarecrows on a plateau where armies of the dark past and the unknown future clash with each other with a deafening roar. This is just a reprise, a tribute, the real war was lost, the real war was lost long back.

It is in the hollowness of the bones the screams of dead souls echo loud and terrifying, once the marrow of life is fast removed with each successive defeat. It is in this hollowness that the darkness in a twinkling eye reside and this is the hollowness that we struggle to disembrace.

It is in this hollowness that your words are wasted on an inattentive me. It is in this hollowness that I still cannot remember the face that was just a breath away, nor recollect the warmth in whose pale yet reassuring light that I engaged in yet another unwelcome tryst with the ghosts.

In the end, it is just the caffeine and a mysterious tune that the cold wind weaving its way mercilessly through the hollow bones that remains.

October 03, 2002


Time is often like old newspapers, they pile up in your backyard -- in all odd figures, shapes and sizes. For a while you can recollect a few of the noteworthy editions. The really good ones find a home in the scrapbook of memories. The same goes for the bad ones too. The rest you sell off to make space for the new. The transaction almost never justifies the expenditure involved in their procurement.

Put together the fading prints, the bloated ink and a random set of tattered moth-eaten sheets, then you get quite a story to read. Some of them make sense, perfect grammar, structure in idea and construction; others simply miss the bus, they remain as broken and unfinished sentences, tales that have no beginning or no end, text that overlap, plots that intertwine and the odd bright exploding spark in an otherwise dying bonfire. Incomplete and inconsequential, dump it.

Yet another rickety boat sets sail towards the unseen land of bliss beyond the distant horizon. The eyes struggle to play catch up; till they become specks and soon invisible specks on the speck like boat; till they can stop seeing the fake smile that you push along with the receding waves that take the boat further and further away from you towards the destination. Another set of pages are consigned to the pile.

We are the children of a lesser God. We are never the ones to leave by the light of the day. We always see people off. We walk away only under the cover of the dark. We are never destined for good byes.

We are the children of a lesser God. A God who is seen only in the darkness of a twinkling eye.

October 01, 2002

Thank you!

There is a wide grin on my face, there is a lightness in my step, I do not have the world to conquer and there are no worries that cannot wait. Yes, for a very pleasant change, I am happy.

Being as rare as this feeling is, I should take some time off to count my blessings, which comes in the form a handful of people I love and and get loved by them too without asking for it. These people have the fortune/misfortune of putting up with my wild, varied and trying ways, tantrums and quirky behaviour and since they are not family it says a lot more than what can actually be ever said. And since I know you well, you guys should know who you are :)

So what has changed? Nothing much. No I have not turned a millionaire overnight, I did not get a double promotion, my life is no less messier than what it was a few days back and I am still the sulky, morose chap you met around the corner yesterday. The trick is spending the kind of time I want to spend with my blessings, to abuse them, to shake them as hard as possible, to throw them as far as you can and still have them come back like a well shaped boomerang. That makes life worth living, be it even once in a while.

Yes, I know it can all change in the next five minutes when I shall go back to writing dark fluent prose full of sullen dark analogies and glum prognosis on the way it is going to turn out or the way it already is. It does more justice to my feelings than what I can ever do in a happy state of mind. But as far as I am concerned, all those fancy words can go to hell for this is where I love and long to be.

So, let me live it up when it lasts folks, flap these tiny wings and fly these little heights of mine till I run out of gas and come down like a tail feather falling earthwards in an uncontrolled spin.

Catch me when I fall!

I feel fine and I feel good
I'm feeling like I never should
Whenever I get this way
I just don't know what to say
-- Bizarre Love Triangle by Frente

September 26, 2002


There is an empty feeling. A steel mug with a few coins in it. A faceless "have you seen her?" poster. A defunct ticket to anywhere. A picture book of old ghosts in its moth-eaten and fading pages. It is a complete portrait that has no buyers.

September is slowly being elbowed out of the calendar by an obstinate October which paints the omnipresent restlessness with a fresh coat of sniffles and new flowers that refuse to wither away in accordance with the natural longevity bestowed on them. The desolation of lovely winter days are fast taking over. The decay has already set into mornings, nights are more resistant but does not look as if it too will hold out for long. The strength of the mist shall prevail. Obscurity is a blessing where lucidity cuts into the skin like shards of broken glass on its way to a vulnerable mind.

Familiar and strange are two pups taken out for walks daily by their owner -- the old man perception. Both bark at you with the same level of ferocity and engrossed curiosity to see if it startles you the same every time. It does and mind you, it is not funny. I have a weakness for strange, it being the underdog I am more generous with my compassion towards it. Later, even as a converted familiar, it still the same. Can't help wondering why?

Wish I could write about a million other things that might, for a change, excite or enlighten you. But I am taking the same path on the beach everyday, walking over the same footsteps that I left there the day before, which have been washed away by the tides overnight. It is a futile attempt at trying to engrave these footprints in the sand, to find a bit of permanence and maybe even an odd sense of belonging even to these loose bits of soil stuck together by the moisture of emotions that the morning sun shall take away.

No new words shall be written here since they represent moments and moments like waves do not stay, they move away and then come back to caress you once in a while, only to go back again. It is unfair to ask a wave to stay. Permanence is an impossibility that underscores everything. You too can go away, for there will never be anything new here.

So much time gets lost in my mind
But I know now what I must rely on
It's a sound and forgetting, ain't the worst thing
- Concrete Skies by Beth Orton.

September 25, 2002


Reminiscing about the last one and anticipating the next one. Between these two jabs of pain floats an island in time -- life.

September 24, 2002

Hello world!

Taking a peek at what the world looks like in the middle of a 5 minute recess in a whole lifetime measured by hours of pleasant dazedness. Surprise, surprise, there does exist and thrive a world that is not much influenced or affected by my acts of total self absorption.

Good, now I can at least stop pretending that at least half the wight of the world rests on my shoulders and take a walk or something.

Evaluate, re-evaluate. Relationships that is. Throw it away, if it comes back I am overawed by the responsibility the return bestows, if it does not, I get one more thing to whine about. Feels smug and smart and in control when you are riding the wave like what I am doing now. But, when it all goes down you get to experience free fall. It is scares the life out of you, gives you the best kicks and yet the next one could potentially be the last.

Someone I know died. Paid homage to him, his memory rather. Did 15 minutes of introspection. Recollected all the things I could remember about him, wished that wherever he might be now, he be happy. No, I am not kidding. Just a bit scared that someday I too will die and if I do not make it to some nice place for I fell short by a single vote of good wishes from someone, that would not be much fun. Got to have the facts on my side to make my case then, though I lose most of my cases.

Dreading the thought of the trip in a time machine towards an abscess in time and space in a month or so. Got to brush up on niceties, pleasantries and shore up the ever so flimsy defences. Got to open up that old war chest of dusty bad memories and hang on to the much maligned and abused cliches.

Put that fist up lad, ignore the nose bleed, put 'em up boy, put 'em up!

I have nothing, still I have everything to lose.

September 23, 2002

Surf's Up!

I am riding the biggest wave to date. When it all comes down do not forget to cast a dismissive glance at my grave flanked by the broken boards. Did I forget to mention I am scared of drowning?

September 20, 2002


Words, I drench you with them. Over and over again till they shine, glitter and become nonsensical particles that crowd the skies which you swallow and breathe in bits and parts to spit back on to my face, attached with a note of irreverent disdain.

One day I shall set forth, retrace all my steps with brush and soap in hand, and scrub away at every single footprint I have left, every single word I have said, every single moment that I occupied and every single thing I have touched, till the sinews that hold the fingernails to my fingers rip, crack and tear and mark each and every footmark with the warm blood as a penance for you won't take away my soul and the marks just refuse to go.

Mild winter morning and a yawning sun, five strands of green grass under the shadow of a dancing wild flower, marked with the red pearls from a bleeding finger. I have been here before and it seems the distance will outlast the supply of blood.

September 17, 2002


A dusty photo album, wedged under a broken shelf
Of dreams that overlooked the ravage of time
Lit up by a flickering candle in a desolate barn
Which a gusty draft topples and sets all alight
A Drought it is and expendable she is, let her burn
Just let her burn

This is a conversation, between voices that are not heard, they speak in silence, they never begin and they never end. This is not about nation, man or woman. This is not about the star that rises from the East or the paleface that follows its descent in the West. This is not about life, nor this is about death. This is what precedes the former and survives the latter. These are moments that cannot be measured in time, it is a dew drop that would never fall, a scenery seen by a blind man's eye, the simple tune of a bird never seen, the secret warm corner in the Artic ice.

This is a conversation, heard with the mind and closed eyes. This is you and this is me, and yet this is nobody.

This is just a conversation.

September 16, 2002

Little Yellow

A snaky rivulet, named Little Yellow, once started a journey down the dark mountain. Tumbling down her side, it playfully ran along and across paths that men have tread and paths that men have not. Hiding under the shadow of age old trees, over terrain that scarred and diverted ran Little Yellow, cascading and running around obstructions, guided by a natural inclination.

In Little Yellow, there lived a little dream, as it ran evading the larger streams, to grow on its own, to pick the odd drop from here and the odd puddle from there, to run strong and mighty hidden from prying eyes, to merge with the ocean at some point in life. A logical destination, an aim destined by birth, to lose itself, to be one and to culminate in the salty caress of the silky waves.

As fate would have it, like the life saving dry leaf for the ant it once happened to topple, a twist occurred that caused its course to obstruct. The mighty rivulet that once ran led on by a mighty heart, now lies engulfed from all sides by land as a sad and rotting swamp. Enclosed by fences and imprisoned in the plains, lies Little Yellow, guarded and inhabited by monsters that constitute its main claim to fame.

Years have passed since the swamp had formed and also around the much feared morass have formed many a nameless tale. One of them speaks of certain moonlit nights when flows across the swamp a spirit, of a little river, that can only to be heard and never be seen as it rushes forth towards the ocean in a wonderful dream.

September 14, 2002


When you desperately hope to be proven wrong, everything you say and feel comes out right. Take this miserable trophy away from me.

September 13, 2002


Can I make a wish, that too a tiny one at that? Can I freeze my life here and not move on at all? Even after all these pages of wailing and howling about how things are, to be honest, I am happy with things the way are. I love the people I have around me even with all the fights and arguments that we have. Improvement, it comes at a cost. The grass inevitably is green on the other side. This is the best it will ever get to be. I am a little child looking at his mother asking "Can we stay here for good? It is comfortable here".

I have been warned. "Stop when you can, do not tread where you are not sure of the ground". What is life without risks? Push the envelope a little further, take another step towards the edge of the cliff and yet another, the dismantled bits of rock fall on the distant bottom with the fading echoes of all the warnings. Step back. Another Houdini is born, except that there is no skill here. Just a power game between chance and sensibility. Once out of the water and minus the chains, the flashing lights does not quite show the scars. A star is born. One day chance will have its say, sensibility can be kissed goodbye. Every star has to die. Someday.

You cannot afford to stop, strive for better and higher. What would happen if you have to stop? It scares the life out of me. Meanwhile, the tired half is lagging behind, it cannot keep up with its exhilarating other half who is becoming even more of a tinier speck at the horizon. The former is gradually becoming an aging liability, it holds the latter back from the last step. The last and final step to flight. Freedom. Goodbye to mundaneness.

Can I forfeit myself? This one is broken beyond repair. Do I get another go at this?

September 09, 2002


Sometimes what is said leaves so much unsaid and often what is unsaid says so much without actually being said. A while back I was fighting the said trying to hold on to the unsaid and was going fast downhill on the mountain of uncertainty. The sensible part of me wanted to stop, the reckless other half did not, pedal to the middle. "Romeo must die". And he almost did.

Advice is not something that I take kindly to. I choose to live and die by my own ideals, no matter how stupid it might be. I have fought the most silliest of wars, at times with myself and at times with others. I have lost them more often that I would want to, walking wounded I have learnt my lessons, but those are lessons that I would never forget and more importantly, those are my lessons.

Yet, what saved me was a simple bit of advice. A friend of mine told me "The best test for any damn thing is a yes or no question. Ask yourself if at the end of all the pain and suffering are you better off with the effort or are you not?" The deceptive simplicity of the question carefully eliminates the complications that one goes through in getting to the answer, for there are no yes or no answers in the world. But, the answer for me was a 'no'.

In the end, as I lay broken and shattered in the valley I had nothing to show for it other than another addition to my lifetime's collection of scars and that simply was not worth it. And thanks but no thanks, I have an almost complete collection, I do not intend to add to them.

Having said that, the unsaid still does haunt me. I do not have any proof for it other than the simile you see on another person's face, the meanings that you read into the most ordinary of words and little signs that litter the backyard of memory that refuses to be cleaned up even by the strongest winds that blow from the land of coincidences.

But I am growing used to them being around and I love spending the precious little spare time I get with them. Like two sentimental old fools we go over every faded picture from the past, every stolen glimpse and make fun of each other and still we have the greatest respect for each other. I am getting very attached to them and would miss them greatly if they were to crossover and put on the garb of the said.

Or would I?

September 06, 2002


The weather is slowly changing here. Mornings there is slight nip in the air. It is not a nip nip yet, but just a slight nip. I will be very happy when it becomes a nip nip. Winters are the best season ever, of course autumn too is beautiful but since we only get glimpses of it here I can only guess what it must be like. But there is no feeling in life like cuddling up under a blanket on cold winter mornings or walking the foggy roads with hands dug deep into your pockets.

It is really funny how people and photography are so closely related. Sometimes you get excellent shots when you do not plan it, sometimes you can mess up a totally beautiful shot that even a kangaroo can click and other times you spoil the roll like relationships even before they start by unknowingly exposing the film to daylight. Other times it remains ignored in a corner of the shelf, taken for granted and counted on, the day you go back to it you realise it is gone and spoilt beyond repair.

September 04, 2002


Can you miss nothing? Nothing that can be explained as something that cannot be defined into units or a collective of the units formed from what is known to us as everything? I do and I am at a loss to explain how.

It gets worse when you try and address the problem and find a solution to it. How do you address something that escapes any explanation? Would it be imaginary arcs made by a swooping arm in thin air? Would it be the feeling that you got on that morning when you woke up feeling on top of the world.

What is on top of the world? Does it mean standing on top of a largish sphere with our interpretation of the world painted on it? Or is is just an ego boost that falls apart the instant the first glimpses of shortcomings or failure pop up on the horizon of existence?

A naughty giggle behind the shoulder that dies down instantly, when you turn around, makes life amusing initially. Live with it for a month, amusement turns into intrigue, with time intrigue turns into irritation and pretty soon it becomes despair. A lifetime can have the whole world giggling at you. Do not look back, you won't find anything but silence there.

There is nothing there. You are imagining things. You cannot possibly miss truth. You cannot possibly miss happiness. You cannot possibly miss meanings. Everyone has one of their own. You cannot possibly miss nothing.

Another giggle.

Leave me alone. Will you?

September 02, 2002

Window Shopping

She sees this wonderful new dress in the shop across the street. The shade would just match her complexion perfectly and its cut and stitch look exactly like what she has been wanting for a long while now. Displayed in all its simple glory on the shop window, the dress charms an otherwise mundane existence of hers. Oblivious to the world, she crosses the street and makes straight for the shop window, with each step the design and the detailing gets clearer and more striking. She holds her purse closer to her body, lest some petty thugs should hold her back from effecting the valuable transaction that would make the dress her own. Having left the little yellow line that divides the street behind her, only a few steps now separate her from the dream dress.

The fleeting moments lifts her, carries her across the pavement and into the shop, everyone notices the magical connection instantly. Whispers fill the air that the gown would look great on her and yet another voice hushed with amazement says it looks as if it was made for her. Her gaze is fixed on the dress, the rest of the world ceased to exist for her at the very moment she saw the dress. Few more moments fall by and she is inside the dream gown. The sight of the most attractive woman filled the eyes of the people in the store and a fairly large crowd was gathering outside too. The city was slowly being held captive by first the news and then the sight of the woman and her wonderful dress.

She makes her way home through the narrow passage the crowds created for her, takes the final left and into the shabby street she goes. She opens the rusty gate and once inside the house she is received by her overjoyed family. As the evening wears on, the crowds disperse, forming little clusters of excited chatter at every street corner seasoned with the drowsy flavour of the sights of the day. She settles down the steady beat of kitchen sounds that announce the preparation of dinner for yet another autumn night.

As she wanders in the kitchen, to her utter despair, a bit of her gown gets caught in an unvirtuous nail. With a tearing sound a wide gash was introduced on the surface of the wonderful cloth and with it her heart missed a beat. In realising what had happened she had missed a few more and in the panic she twirls around, knocking the oil lamp from the window sill, which falls on the dress and sets it ablaze. The greasy water did put out the fire, but the dress was burnt, torn and stained. Its glory was scarred, scalded and lost forever. When she stepped outside no one recognised her, they wondered what happened to the woman and her wonderful dress. She stood there silently mourning her loss.

A curt voice startles her, making her drop her purse and from it her only coin rolled down the street. The voice, once again, startles her back to reality. It was the shop's security guard telling her to move away as it was closing time. The shutters had to come down and she was in the way. As she contemplated the lonely walk home after the loss of her only coin, she notices the price tag on the dress. A truckload of those evasive coins would not have gotten it for her. She smiles at having lived the experience of owning, celebrating and losing the dress at the cost of a single coin. She pushes her unruly locks back behind her ears and makes for home.

Window shopping comes cheap these days.

August 30, 2002

Odds & Ends

The long list for the Guardian First Book Award is out here and yes Hari Kunzru's The Impressionist features in it. Since reading and I have gone separate ways now in a forever love-hate relationship, I have not had the chance to sample it. Anyone who do not take to the junta's rave-review fuelled oooh aaah opinions please do let me know how it is as a book. Things to note: Have not read even a single book on that list. Now why does that not surprise me. Oh yes, I liked Hari's site, good work old boy. It is quite refreshing.

Have you taken a liking to the new VIP Footloose ads on telly? Well, I am positively raving about it, God save my poor roommate who has to put up with me going on and on about it. I really do not know what stands out in the ads, the visual treatment or the music. Okay it is the music, the visuals come a close second. Asked all the people I know who did the music for it and no one knew for sure. Where does the average information starved Net junkie go in such a case? Google it mon ami!

Coming to the point, according to Agencyfaqs, the campaign was handled by HTA Mumbai and the music is based on a Punjabi folk song. It still leaves the question unanswered, who resampled it? A close friend tells me it is from the Buddha Bar compilation CD, I have not listened to that one yet, so I cannot tell you. If any of you have listened to both of the melodies under discussion here, notify immediately!

By the way I am quite in love with her. For the time being that is. Correction: Replace 'her' with 'Tu y yo'. Funny, she has a goofy blinking 'Om' as the cursor all over the site. Wonder why that is the case.

August 29, 2002

Muted Discourse

5:30 AM: Hot cup of tea and me at the stupid end of a freshly lit cigarette staring at the pale skies through the open window, funny office with 4 funny floors and a funny blue stripe running along the walls of the staircase. There is a stiff breeze blowing outside, it might rain an hour or two later when I would be leaving, for all you know it might not. The clouds are fond of playing truant like the answers.

In the space of a few more months another year would be crossed off from my life and I am none the wiser. The man at the pearly gates is having a royal laugh at my expense. Laugh on moron, I will get it right someday. Still, I flip over the days from a year back and it is as varied as a basket can ever be. Utter desolation, followed by a cold recovery and a long run of blind optimism. Only to be hunted down again by mistakes, the constant urge to flee and the conflicting but scary thought of being rooted.

Rooted that is, in the cardinal sin of being ordinary, struggling with the constant urge to be special, to be different, to own things and emotions that no one else owns. With that end you carve out unnatural crevices in humanity and fit yourself into it, mistakenly isolated from common needs, wants, urges and expectations. "No, it is different in my case". Still, it seeps in like water and before you know it you are drowning. Why is it that you have to run when you realise you are not the only one? Why is it so difficult to admit that you are as ordinary as anyone else especially when survival has been the only extraordinary thing that can be credited to your life's savings account from the past year and a half?

Have heard a lot about people losing sight of where they are headed for every now and then and straying, only to come back to the original orbit eventually. It is a system where everything revolves around something, circles in circles and more circles. How do you survive in such a system if all you follow are fake circles? Even shooting stars have their orbits. I am yet to find mine. I just cling on to other planetary bodies, to their gravitational force like a cold and lifeless satellite. A temporary resident in an alien force field, once the centrifugal force of ordinariness grows in strength I detach and launch off in search of other lonely planets.

In all this planetary talk, there is one question that has been my constant companion. What do I really want? This one is easy believe me. I just want a shoulder to lean on and sob till I can sob no more. One that would not wait for my beck and call. One that would not ask why the tears do fall or criticise them for they are falling over the same mistakes that I swore with my life I will never make again - one where I would not need justifications. Someone who would only hold my face when I am through and tell me, it is going to be okay. I do ask too much from life, don't I?

August 28, 2002

Quo Vadis?

So where have I been? I have been everywhere but I have been nowhere. The weather is wonderful out here, if the sun is considerate enough to not make an unwelcome appearance for the day's duration. I should be out everywhere but I have gone nowhere.

What have I been saying? I have been talking precious little but I have been saying a lot, only if you had cared to listen. I am calmer, I am cribbing a lot less, I should be talking a lot more, instead conversations with silent words fill the air like polka dots. Yellow, black, black, yellow.......

Ask me who I am? After all these years I should have some idea about that. Between Casper the friendly ghost, the soulless and lost Frankenstein and a dozen other characters I cannot recall right now, I am no one and bits of all them in one.

I am packing my bags, I am going somewhere, where am I headed for? I do not know, in fact I am headed nowhere, still I have to pack for I might have to go, so everyday I make my plans for journeys that have no end and no beginning, I meet my imaginary travellers on an imaginary platform and we chug off an imaginary train through an imaginary mist to an imaginary destination.

August 26, 2002


As yet another bright evening descends on the lovely streets, she embarks on her routine walk down the avenue. For those few moments all life comes to a standstill as she gently floats past the cloth shop, the vile grocer and the newspaper stand. Where she comes from, where she goes, no one knows, only the routine and just the routine stays the same. Anticipation and expectation fills the hours till her arrival, recollection and reminiscing is all what it leaves behind, which fills the air as it floats around glittering in the low evening sun.

Crouched on the pavement the tramp carefully collects the glittering specks and puts them in his little dirty bottle, a lifetime's worth of specks - he grins with his ugly teeth and an unmistakable but misplaced fondness on his face. At nights the specks retain their glitter, emitting a faint and warm glow, but one that is strong enough to keep the heart and body warm even on the coldest winter night, when he has to crouch and contort his body a bit more to fit into the latest refrigerator's cardboard cover.

There is a melancholy in her smile today, the specks are slightly moist and they do not glow, a cloud of eventuality looms over the town, her gait is slightly hesitant. As she reaches the tramp she slows down and pauses for a bit and looks at him. A single shaft of sunlight breaks through the clouds, enclosing them in a illuminated circle, the tramp's bottle glows and her melancholy vanishes. A little heart peeks from behind her dress, and another one does the same from behind his tatters, and they smile at each other. The moment passes, she recovers, walks on and is never seen again, the tramp's bottle falls and breaks. He tries frantically to get the glitters back, a cold wind blows them away, they are lost to him forever and so is his smile.

Many a year has passed, on a cold winter's night an old and frail tramp is struggling to get into his new cardboard home, they are getting smaller and smaller every passing year. He draws on a roll of tobacco, which provides him warmth and grants yet another form of slow death. Between valiant attempts at breathing he tries to keep the embers glowing inside a tin cup and takes refuge in the almost non existent warmth it provides. Alerted by a familiar but weak footsteps he looks up, to see her standing there and smiling at him as she did on the day she disappeared. She was, much aged and frail now, but was smiling without fear or melancholy and he smiles back.

The two hearts peek out again and they smile at each other. They walk away hand in hand from the odd couple. A sudden gust and the air is filled with the same old glitters that the wind had taken away ages back.

The dead body of the tramp was found at the pavement the next morning, from his hand they could not remove the bottle of glitter that would not stop glowing even in pitch darkness. They had to bury him with it. She was found dead in her apartment, nothing much was known about her other than the fact that she had a wonderful smile on her face that even death could not take away.

August 23, 2002

Only if....

If there was one thing about your life that you could go back and change, what would it be? I have sat down with this question for company on many a desolate night when nothing seemed to make sense and till date I have not found an answer. The times when I am happy, I do not want to change a damn thing. It is not perfection but a thought firmly grounded in the feeling that this is as good as it gets, for it does not take a lot for everything to go downhill. It can happen even in the next moment.

The trouble really begins when I am feeling down and out, it can get as bad as hating just being me for making life so difficult for myself. My mere existence then becomes my greatest nightmare. Days like those are underscored with a symphony of stoic silence. Well, the stoic bit is just a front. It is a sign that screams out loud "Leave me alone". Everything looks horrible then. Even the poor traffic policeman at the red light seems to be cooking up some scheme to trap you and further extend the abysmal depths of your suffering. There is a conspiracy around every corner. Watch out. Anything you say can be used against you. The underdog defends valiantly with monosyllables.

These days, maybe for the first time I am wishing in my life that I could change something that I did a while back. Normally, I do not give a damn for the things that are past, no point in gloating over them. If I could have done things better at that time and if I had the faculty to think straight then I guess I would done them anyways. And as I am fond of saying at the drop of a hat, hindsight comes with a holier-than-thou attitude.

But what if your actions affect another person's life and you possessed all the faculties to realise what was happening? Can you really say we all are responsible adults, to hell with it and walk away? What wins over ultimately - the responsibility towards the act or the responsibility towards the person? I really do not know and am living the answer in a way and the answer like myself is confused and ambiguous.

August 20, 2002


Every ten steps I take, I carry the weight of the ten that I took before and after a lifetime of trudging through these marshlands my legs cannot take the strain anymore, my knees are weakening, I cannot go much further ahead. I need to stop. Period.

Standing where I am right now, I cannot really make out between marsh and the ground. I am waist deep in mud and sinking further. It is hard to make out now who did who wrong, what went wrong and even why is it wrong. Just one disaster follows another and in the trail of destruction left behind bits of myself too lies shattered, now what does it matter whether it was you who went wrong or was it me.

Sometimes I feel it must be language. I am telling you something, you are reading something else. Other times I feel I must be frozen in time that everyone expects me to forget and change and I just cannot. Sometimes everything comes back at you in droves, people, time, place and everything else overlapping each other like a stampeding herd.

I am trying to say something elegant here, trying to smuggle out a few emotions out of my mind cloaked under this ever so false elegance to afford it the luxury of getting to know how it is to exist in this world unhindered

I am walking upright in the broad daylight while crouching and scampering along in the shadows. Being the most respectable citizen I am also the city's greatest crook.

In this game I drop the bread crumbs and I also follow my own trail, set the trap and walk into it too, I script every surprise, every moment of unabashed joy, with all my anger I kick the dog on the street and then share its pain, for I have nothing better to do, everything is just a subtle time pass, I am quietly entertaining myself, killing time, time just kills.

August 18, 2002

Blow by blow

Self-protect mode
lock out, bite it in
you will live
even if barely enough
congrats, just pulled off yet another farce

August 15, 2002

Stages of evolution

First there was Apple

Then came MSN

Better late than never, Rediff too evolves

Who is next is anyone's guess.

August 13, 2002


Wonderful early morning ride on rain soaked roads through a constant light drizzle. The stretch to CP via Janpath in such conditions at that time is as sinful as lust, not to mention as satisfying. Four hours of patient waiting at the railway station for a train that has its mind set on not arriving at all follows suit.

Not that I mind. Late city edition of ToI is chewed through and spat at in less than 20 minutes. An uneasy calm sets in, driven more by pure exhaustion than resolution. Sardonic voice announces yet again that the train is delayed further, I am not complaining. To be very frank do not want to go anywhere, home, work or wherever else, just want to sit there and watch the rain fall, trains arriving and leaving, cleaners and rag pickers moving about.

Numbed mind, numbed thoughts. There is quarter of a mile vacuum between me and the rest of the world. Just want life to gently pass me by while I sit and watch. What I like about this whole set up is that, there is no one to impress here, I do not have to really justify my existence to anyone, I do not have to make a statement, or take any one else's statement. More waves of uneasy calm hit me coupled with more exhaustion.

Couple of porters come and sit in the chairs near mine, the air is filled with the smell of raw tobacco and burning beedis, I retaliate with my hot cuppa coffee from the nearby stall, they do not give a damn, I am just an eyesore in their world and I too am pretty happy with the idea. For once I am no one, nothing is expected out of me, I am just zero, I am contended.

Frantic exchange of gossip with the friend in the approaching train over SMS. Oh hell, they have managed to clear a platform for the long delayed train. Could have spent the whole day there.

There is a buch of painful questions and a general lack of enthusiasm towards life waiting patiently for my return like an obedient dog waiting for its master.

The relapse is over. Back to the world of understanding misunderstandings and more restlessness. Good morning life. I could almost say I hate you, if it were not for the fact that I am stuck with you till the end. Have to keep up appearances, you see.

August 11, 2002

Rain Drops

Rain drops make for wonderful time pass when they drip slowly off the eaves. Makes you want to stick your neck out and let it fall on your nose and let it gently run down to the lips and then welcome them into the mouth softly with the tip of the tongue. They fall one at a time or in a constant stream when it rains too hard gently caressing your face with the wild spray.

Each a pearl drop of sadness or of joy intermingled with each other.... like moments of passing life they fall and they fall.... not waiting for anyone... in a mad but gentle rush to break into so many of the same and to then reunite to become the one same.. splitter splatter.....ripples echo the distant voice of the mother warning the child not to go out into the rain... more of them fall and they keep falling... I want to be washed in it...... I want to hear all the voices.... voices that I have not heard.. voices from a dreamy land... voices that asked for a bit more, which later went silent..

I want more... the singular drop is sinful anathema in this land. I want to submit to the urges of the dark one, drench and drown in sin and hope that it will take me in its arms, drown me in the voices.. shower me with everything that fall from the great whiteness that stretches as far as my eyes can see.... I hope I dissolve in it, consumed by the richness of all that could have been in this barren land marked by the distant and deep scars of many a past harsh summer... I want to do a joyous dance garlanded in my out spilled gut in celebration of the sinful drops...the innards washed clean..... finally I am pure.... be it even in sin.....

Why are they falling like this? They should not fall like this. I want to stop them doing this mad suicidal lemming act... in vain I try to hold them back from shattering on the dry earth... from joining the countless other millions.... I am urging the singular to go against the norm.. to break a path.. to feed my faith... to help me survive.. to stay on my arms... to plead my case.... to cleanse... to sin... to repent.... the millions join other millions.... the whole become little parts and the little parts become the whole again.... I am caught in the middle begging, pleading, crying.... infiltrating the pure millions with my own salty pearls.... more of them fall and they keep falling... the sheer numbers restore the purity.. .. my defeat is absolute.... I am being ground into the muddy puddles... the end is near, the end is complete..

The last of the drops are hanging off the eaves. Reluctantly they let go of each other to land on the puddle with a final plop, the ripples distort the angelic look on my face to form a contorted truth... I stretch my neck out for one last time to urge a drop to fall on my nose tip and then to my lips again.... it falls on to my eyes.. mingles with a salty pearl... sin and goodness now indistinguishable... where dream starts, where reality ends, i do not know.... through the kaleidoscope of a pearl hanging from my eyelash a million images flash by..... so many yesterdays..... and the passing today.... I can see my own life passing by.....I want to ask it to stop, take a look at itself.. but it is unreachable and untouchable... I have no voice or form... I stand helpless and imprisoned in my own untouchablity...

The last daubs of face paint carefully removes any remaining pearly traces.... I paint a wonderful smile on the face.... the clown is ready for one final act.. prepare to smile, prepare to laugh, prepare to be entertained.... the paintbrush lies abandoned in the puddle and the last of the drops fall from the eaves...... plop.

August 10, 2002

Winter catalogue

Good afternoon Ma'am, I am here to sell you a wonderful product. Would you please spare some time for it? I can assure you it is worth the effort. And it is the best selling product of late. Am sure you would also be tempted to buy one for yourself, only if you allow me the use of a few of your precious moments.

Okay, let us get down to business then. Could you please tell me the model you are using ma'am? Oh, that is too old ma'am, way too old, let me tell you the virtues of the latest state of the art model our firm is selling. It is not available in stores I can tell you reliably, in fact you are one of the very lucky chosen few.

See, this model comes with a warranty that you will never run out of things to run after, it never runs out on optimism and as far as we know there are no pessimistic bugs in the system, all our customers are happy, there has not been a single life that we sold that has been returned to us.

Yes, we do offer complete after sales service, free for the first three years and an additional bit of your soul for each annual routine service thereafter. Are we not a generous company ma'am?

Oh, you do not have the soul to pay for it ma'am? That is fine, we will extract a bit of it from somewhere in you, I am sure there is a tiny bit left in you somewhere, that will do fine for us, we can work on it and make it worth something.

Why am I not using one ma'am? Oh that is company policy, they do not let us use the products that we make. You see too much of optimism can ruin the sales our market research surveys have shown us.

Yes, ma'am a cheque will do just fine. We will extract bits of your soul over the years that you live till you die a totally happy and contended person. Hope you have a wonderful experience with Life™ from here on. Thank you.