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

Glitter

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

Morass

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
disconnect
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

Relapse

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.

August 07, 2002

Tinderbox

I want to hum a merry tune and drown out all the noises in my head
I want to tell a thousand more lies so the truth might finally dissolve
I want to rub hard at my face, erase it and paint a happy picture there
I want to chop my hurting arm off, so that it won't hurt no more
I want to rip and throw away my mind and heart into the drains
I want to be deaf, dumb, unfeeling and mute -- a lump of frozen meat
I want to be happy

August 02, 2002

Conversation

Twine and entwine, like you and me
Interlaced in symmetric lines
Life a tangled noose hanging from the skies
-------

It is time again to talk to the stars........ hope it is not cloudy tonight ....

August 01, 2002

Ooops!

Wowowow! Someone happened to deface a page among one of the numerous accounts I have on them dime a dozen free sites.

Man I was popular enough to be defaced and I did not know? Sad sad sad.

Oh great, just when my pride was swelling up like the great waves at the beaches in Hawaii I notice this ‹meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0"› on the defaced page. Oh well...... looks like some script kiddie and not some 3L33T hacker. Sigh!

Anyways it was not even my box and might have even been a mass defacement. Do I give a damn? No. Neither should you!