July 07, 2003

The Walk - Part Deux: Massacre of the Slugs

Having spent most of the weekend working out the terms of a tentative truce with an overwhelming attack of exhaustion I could not resist the urge to test the waters again in the morning with a few relaxed and slow rounds in the park. Since I was up from around three in the morning, I set out a bit early and into a world that was still slowly and unwillingly being drawn out of its slumber. I am so reminded of my first day at the day care, so does my mother's saree, I have been told.

The killer argument for the 6 AM walks are solitary sounds, which is a beautiful pleasure unlike the state of affairs an hour before when there are almost no sounds at all, or an hour later when there is just too much of it. It is a sound recordist's dream. A flock of pigeons take to the air startling you with the sudden surge of life and as it dies down the gentle creaking of the newspaper boy's bicycle makes an impromptu appearance at the end of the lane.

And into the main road, which bears no audible resemblance to the veritable cacophony that two schools adjacent to each other conspire to concoct later in the day, where the sounds of a hurried bath taken by the ubiquitous taxiwallah (behind his sad excuse for a bathroom) fills the air. From another by lane an empty school bus stops by letting out a deep air braked sigh, before it turns into the road and I clumsily negotiate the mini-maze of an entry into the park.

Where geriatric men in funny looking khaki shorts, that can barely contain the glee of their considerable potbellies, make even more funnier sounds and swear to defend their faith, among other things. A few yards on, twenty to thirty odd middle aged women and men, mostly barrel-shaped, are bringing their routine yoga session to a close with a prayer on their lips. All this while an odd "squish" or two fills the air every every now and then as one of the joggers runs over yet another unlucky slug.

Meanwhile, the NYT ponders over the question: Are we addicted to information? I sure am more than addicted. When I look back from September 2001 till date the maximum time I have spent without being on the net would be a couple of 24-hour periods. My routine reading includes an average of 4000 - 6000 words at least, that is not counting the 60 - 70 odd news stories that I have to go through every day as a part of my work.

For me this has brought about peculiar kind of reading, reading without actually reading what I am reading. It is just a process where I scan the text for grammatical and formatting errors and be almost totally detached emotionally to what I am reading. While this does allow for fast reading, it is quite mechanical and is nothing more than well practiced pattern matching than actual cognition and assimilation.

Surreal is the word that I would have to use for Maksim Mrvica, the prodigal Croatian classical piano player. It was so mind blowing to listen to his rendition of The flight of the bumblebee from his latest album, The Piano Player, that I dropped whatever I was doing then and just sat and listened. Sad part is that the CD is not available here yet, the happy bit is that he is being pushed by EMI a lot. Hope is lighter than air!