February 28, 2006

The Beginning

This should have been titled 'In which I learned to stop crying and love trouble in my life', but what the heck. Anyway, that would not have fit in with my fetish for single word or two to three word titles. But the crux of the matter is that the visitation is over and I have survived it much better than what I thought I would. I do not know if it is that we've lost the appetite for the infamous fights or if all of us had decided to become all grown up at the same time as a welcome coincidence, but we did manage to have a couple of constructive and sane discussions punctuated by a lot of driving up, down and across the city.

Eventually, everybody held their ground without threatening to kill each other (or themselves for that matter) and I was allowed to stick to my 'don't-wanna-get-married' and 'living-life-differently' themes without being asked if I was gay (at least not openly, as far as I know, though I have to debrief all the relations they'd met). But my health has taken a huge beating in the process. I can't remember when was the last weekend that I actually got to spend at home, lazing around and getting some much needed rest and like it is happening with K, the abuse I had earlier wreathed on my body is now coming back at me with a vengeance.

If I can be stupid enough to ignore to the impending physical meltdown, there is a near-clean sheet that awaits me. I have mercilessly slashed and burnt everything that has been close to me, including the incredible hurt I have caused to someone dear just for her only fault that she loved me, and now I stand with pretty much a clear view of the road ahead. Like everything else in the same vein, the anticipation was much greater than the actual event. When it came, it came on a day when all my insides were clogged with a bad sinus and chest infection, at the ITO crossing, with Tiesto's Adagio for Strings blasting from the stereo. Weird, but nothing special.

February 21, 2006

In difference

The problem and the opportunity is that life is a game of possibilities. The same indifference that hurts you the most can be turned around as a positive feature to ward off unsavoury feelings and reactions to many an unpleasant thing. On more than one occasion I have hidden behind my greatest botheration in recent times, the same indifference, to avoid being drawn into conversations and debates that only hold more hurt for me. All those times I end up asking myself if I even care what anyone thinks, if it even matters to me or if I even care what happens to anyone around me.

It is more or less true that I don't really care much anymore, which is different from not feeling about anything. I do feel, but I don't feel that it is of any importance. I feel afloat most of the times, going through the motions and watch life rush by me, not wanting much, not asking for much, just wanting to exist till I have to and then disappear without telling anyone or not letting anyone notice, that I ever did exist or that I even left. Now is a death of sorts actually and I don't mind or fear it much. In fact I might even go to the extent of saying that I do enjoy it a fair bit.

To be lost and to not belong can't be the same thing. I have come to realise, contrary to what I think, that I am not lost at all. The thing is that I just don't belong anywhere. Everyone tries to make me hold on to something, anchor me in something, while I cannot. I just cannot. I keep rolling like tumbleweed, gathering only age and more grey, while love slips gently through my innards every time, even when I want to desperately hold on to it. Now I am tired and I am weary, with no fight left in me, so I am indifferent, for all I can do is to roll and roll forever till when decay and disease will finally consume me.

Now you're no longer talking, And I'm no longer listening
There's nothing left to say, Said it anyway, Said it anyway....

February 20, 2006

Two heads are....


02-20-06_1810
Originally uploaded by codelust.
That is the dual monitor set up I have now at work. Not quite as sexy as the Dell 21" monitors or dual 17" Dells that I've seen so many people brag about, but double the screen width, even on two 15" monitors is quite helpful when you got to keep track of a lot of things at the same time. My preferred set up for now is to have my browser and e-mail client on different screens while the putty consoles reside in the same monitor as the one that houses the e-mail client.

It also helps that I have a corner seat, which allows me to leverage the best from the set up. I've gradually migrated away all my work stuff on to the laptop. The system at home now only has a whole lot of gaming and music stuff on it. The only major use it sees now is to run the occasional DJing run in the night when I want to relax a bit. Now don't even ask me how music that goes thumpity thump can be relaxing, it is a freak thing, you gotta be one to understand it.

Meanwhile the Airtel GPRS connection is finally up and running. Strangely it works well when I hook up the laptop to the phone and dial out from it, but using the phone's browser just keeps returning me to the same error "data server not found". Anybody has any clue why that happens? I can't be assed to call the terrible customer service and find out why. If and when I do I will let you know. And oh, I am getting a max of some 7 Kbps on it. Not really great, but I will live.

What remains to be done is for Airtel (yes, them weird creatures again) to dig up my neighbourhood and send me waltzing into ADSL land. Then to spend another 3.5 k in buying a decent Netgear wireless router and we should be all set to go. But for the time being it is time to say hello to mobile computing. Any guesses for how long this fascination will last?

Sharp Edge

I finally succumbed to the pressure and became the quite clumsy owner of a Moto Razr v3i last week. When I went to the shop, I wanted to buy a Nokia with the usual bells and whistles (GPRS, E-mail client, Java, Sync, camera and the works), but all the models looked like packets of butter, lumpy, unwieldy and heavy. I have a bad habit of dropping my phone at least once a day and it really did not look like any of the Nokia models would have survived such torture at my incapable hands.

Not that the Razr looks keen on being dropped thrice a day, but it does feel quite robust and most importantly it is quite compact and light. I can live with the fact that the camera is only some 1.23344444444 megapixels (who in their right mind would want a digicam without a flash for doing serious photography anyway?). The iTunes player is no great shakes and syncing it is the usual pain that is the case with the iPods and I really don't want to bother with the pain of syncing music for driving. I'd rather suffer the delightful and predictable tedium of the old car stereo for such eventualities.

The only sour point, as Russell noted earlier, is the eye candy-rich interface which does not allow for too much customisation and you end up with a feeling that you are missing on some option somewhere. I've not managed to get the GPRS working, even after some four calls to Airtel, guess it would take another round of screaming before they manage it. Even if it is half decent, I can probably get my ass off the lousy Spectrasmart connection at home even if the GPRS gives me only 14 Kbps, which is the maximum I get on Spectrasmart.

Relate

The one feeling that is overwhelming me now is exhaustion. It has been three days since I have been far removed from a life and a routine that I am used to and one that I love to live. The bright side is that I am neither running nor picking a fight at every possible juncture, but the hard thing about living with a past that is anything but forgettable is that, even in a situation where there is not a single act of intentional provocation, every word said and every moment spent drains you out, physically and emotionally.

But one thing I am certain about is that I love my other routine life, even if it does not end up making the people whom I am supposed to love and care for happy. I guess, with all the whining that I do, I don’t sound thankful enough for it, but I am eternally grateful for it, especially when you consider that I was a total and possibly unrecoverable wreck by the time I had just hit my twenties. It has indeed been a long journey from there, most don’t even recognize me from that time, but that’s okay, I can live with that.

Over the past three days I have heard everything about almost everyone I’ve known back home. It has been a veritable nostalgia trip. I have felt curious at the best, indifferent at the most, with helpings of angst filling up the blanks in between. Sometimes I do wonder what they, if they do at all, remember me as. I do wonder how can I feel so distant and unattached to the places and people I have spent twenty plus years of my life with. Am I just deluding myself, or has the umbilical cord actually been severed? I just don’t know.

There are a lot of expectations from me for a lot of people. The folks and the relatives want me to get married before the end of the year because I am “ripe” for the picking. Now, which fruit would I’d rather be, jackfruit, mango or, if you take into account my skin colour, an apricot? And oh, it is “perfectly okay” to fuck around till you get married and then settle down with a perfectly “virgin and cultured girl” who has “excellent values”. Apparently, everyone does these things these days and it is no great secret either.

Maybe I should make use of the rare opportunity and ask for anatomical specifics. I could even start a new trend that way, create history and make a name for myself! But I won’t. This is just a temporary interlude or a brief digression for me. Meanwhile, the expectations are there from my friends too. In the past six months I have changed a fair bit and most of the changes are not good ones according to them. I’d rather not call them good, bad or anything else. I am just learning, teaching myself to figure out what is important for me and how to stand my ground. In today’s world nobody’s going to do that for you. Either you do it for yourself or it just won’t get done.

By the way, I am not saying that I won’t ever get married. I am only saying that I will get married only to the person whom I am THAT comfortable with, in a manner that is in accordance with my viewpoint of how such a special occasion should be celebrated. With my exceptionally high expectations, there is a fairly good chance that such a turn of events just might not happen, but I don’t really care much for lineage and legacy. It is a fuckall world we live in these days and last thing I want is to knowingly be with someone and be unhappy about it. It is just not fair on anyone in that case.

Of course, there have been plenty of queries: “don’t you miss home? Don’t you miss your family? Even people who go abroad come back a year or two later to visit their homeland, you don’t feel anything?” Actually, I don’t miss it much. I am curious as to what changes might have happened there, but other than that I do dread seeing people who are too caught up in making their lives and lives of other people miserable for no good reason at all. And it is not like I am absolutely happy here either. But at least I am trying to see what my heart is asking me to do and that is no simple feat in itself.

Even though I’ve managed to cross many a shaky bridge, I still do have differing degrees of self-doubt in different things in my life. At times I do wonder if I really know anything at all about what I am talking about, brining forth the earlier mentioned “being on to something” feeling, which I don’t quite know if it is real or if it is something that my mind is tricking me into feeling. But there is something resembling a path that I can see through the thicket, with time and I luck I should be able to hack through it.

February 18, 2006

Knotted, twice over

I don't think it is such a good idea to make a decision in the fear of something you want to avoid. After two hours of a conversation, where the other side was trying to convince me why I should get married as soon as possible, I have emerged more or less unscathed and even more convinced that marriage is just not the route for me. How long can we really live in fear that we will all grow old some day, that we'll catch some horrible disease and be immobilized for the rest of our lives and make all our decisions based on things that might or might not happen some time in the future?

Let us be honest, with the lifestyles that we have these days, there is a fairly good chance that most of us would have at least one major ailment even before we pass the midlife crisis milestone. All you probably are going to get is some 10 - 12 prime years of your life where you should put in the best you can and if you are going to blow all of that up making decisions based on your fears, you really won't get anywhere. And no, I don't hold anything against the people who don't follow the same lonely, tortuous route as mine. It is just that this is my route, my choice and my only way.

This is a particularly difficult time for me, not as much in terms of emotional turmoil as it is in terms of the decisions I am making, even in cases where I could afford to put them off for a while. I'm making changes that will have a long-term impact on my life and possibly in the lives of people around me. But I've really had enough of being apologetic about what I am and hiding behind the shadows about my feelings. Even if I have just a couple more years to live, I don't want it to go to waste doing the done thing. I want all of it to be the best (at least for me) and nothing less will do.

Have you ever had this sneaky feeling, in the back of your mind, no matter how hard you try to deny it, that you are on to something?

February 16, 2006

Loud & Unclear

Other than the obvious disadvantage of not being able to hear what anyone else is saying, there is no better joy than listening to your favourite music, at full blast via padded headphones, in an office that is worse than a fish market when it comes to ambient noise. Meanwhile, I've been more adequately compensated, accidentally though, for being issued a crappy Celeron M lappy by the office, when I discovered it could do dual displays and I've now hooked up the 15" monitor of the old Dell desktop which has not yet been taken away from me. The forecast for the next ten days is quite stormy, the folks are in town from today evening and that should see my already convoluted persona and psyche getting even more wonkier.

February 14, 2006

Trial

I won’t pretend to submit to any compulsions in terms of form or matter in writing this. In any case this is not a multi million page view hot destination sort of blog. This is my tiny little 24 visitors a day (if I am lucky, that is) blog and other than the unlucky souls who come here searching for nude photographs of Deepa Sahi, only to return cursing the logarithmically driven binary creatures who sent them here in the first place, the others I presume are the loyal few who keep returning to consume the same drivel that I dish out every time. So, shall we throw the fancy clothing of norm and propriety out of the window and settle down to the regular business, stark naked, outrightly jaded and indulge in the same old repetitiveness?

Lament is a powerful concept. It enables you to cover up for so many things. Add a dash of pathos and a mild flavouring of poetic largess to it and you can serve up a gourmet meal that can satiate a fair number of unsuspecting souls who want to identify, sympathise and be a party to help get you overcome your still-unknown predicament. If there was ever such a thing, I would have filed long ago under the aegis of Chapter 11 for moral and cultural bankruptcy. On either count, I have long run out of any standing to sustain my operating costs or dream of any justifiable expansion, or even continue normal operations as most normal people would deem fit under normal circumstances. But such is the lure of pathos and the chorus of support it brings forth that the tune in itself takes a life of its own. Yes, I am being mildly insulting, but only at myself.

When I started writing this I wanted to wonder about the dichotomy between what dreams are made of, both during the growing up years and the initial years of adulthood, and what we really end up chasing after. But the pertinent point is that if we really did want it, we would have chased it down with all our might. Instead, we run for the better part of the day after all the petty and minor things and come evening, and later night, we console ourselves by the warmth of the fireplace of pathos, ruminating about how it all slipped away. The thing is, such things never slip away. We can always have it if we want it badly enough. Did it ever occur to any of us that we spend more time mourning the loss of something we have never had than spend an additional minute every day in chasing it down? Of course, I will clarify that writing about it does not count in bankruptcy proceedings. Bring the charges on.

February 11, 2006

Ominous

It feels like someone has flicked a switch and turned my life off from the way it used to be. I cannot quite recognize the person I have become in the past couple of months. You can call me insensitive, wayward and inconsiderate and I would admit to all of those without batting an eyelid. Mind you, it is not like I am doing all this with an intent to piss off everyone around me. They are more like, to use an uncharitable phrase, collateral damage, there is little you can do to help me, the best you can probably do is to stay out of my way.

But there is an underlying desire to be the worst I can be and see how many can stand or survive that. To quote the now deceased Bill, “I'd like to believe that you're aware enough even now to know that there's nothing sadistic in my actions. At this moment, this is me at my most masochistic”. There is no other agenda at play other than pure self preservation. In a lot of ways, it is an act of desperation, a final gambit to go all in with what you are and see if the gamble pays off. If it does not, well, it is not quite worth struggling on in this manner anyway. There is only so much that emotional duct tape can do to hold yourself together. Eventually we all have to fall in one way or the other. I guess it is finally my time to do the same.

In the process I am hurting a lot of people around me, people, to whom I have been anything but cruel and inconsiderate before. But this progression is not about them, it is about me. It is a journey that I have to make for myself. It is a process whose logical end I must seek out by myself. I do not expect any mercy or sympathy. I’d love to say that I don’t care about such things. The fact is that I do, but at this juncture I don’t have the time or patience for those things. The simplest way of putting it across being, don’t come any closer unless you want to attract a lot of unwanted trouble your way. And if you do, please don’t complain later or tell me that I did not warn you.

February 08, 2006

Talk To Me

Google now has a new feature which allows you to save the Google Talk conversations. If you enable it, all of the chat transcripts end up in a new label called 'chats' in Gmail. It is a mighty useful feature, especially for the lot of us who are prone to chatting under the influence every now and then. Unless, of course, you happen to be in China or some or some other snoopy place.

The feature also allows you to chat within the Gmail interface with your contacts. I have not tried that one out yet since nobody I know seem to be up at one in the morning. This, though, is nothing new though. It was earlier attempted, minus the Ajax wizardry, by a company which is not synonymous with the word 'innovative'. Brings back some old memories about conversations regarding where they could have been.

To wind up the marginally geeky post, if by some chance any of you are trying to compile and run Squid as transparent proxy, or as a reverse proxy in my case, please do not forget to run the command ./squid -z (the flag used to be the uppercase 'Z' earlier) before you attempt to run the executable. Trust me, this can save you a lot of tears and heartache, as I found out rather painfully.

February 06, 2006

Special

What is life without a little bit of drama, a sprinkling of emotion and the smell of elation -- of things we have lost, things we have gained and the years we have lived? In the short years that we will get to live, if we can’t find at least five minutes of every day to stand back and look at the scale of everything around us and feel special and insignificant at the same time about everything we have done -- that we have done so much and even then it amounts to nothing, what is there really to live for?

You know, the thing I feel constantly about my life is the inevitability, of the end, of the lack of time that lingers in the air like stale cigarette smoke, of the truths we search so hard to find and the truths we try so hard to run away from. In the midst of all of this, the only saving grace are the rare moments when you feel special. It is that feeling you get when you are blessed by an act of kindness by a stranger that came out of turn or for no good reason, when you know you deserved none of it and still it happened to you.

It is the feeling that I get when I hit the wide open road after being stuck in some thirty minutes of awful and maddening traffic, when the world opens up in front and on both flanks. In a matter of a couple of seconds the horizon on either side, obscured in a veil of mild mist, shapes somewhere in the distance and the road snakes on endlessly into the distance. It is so much like life then. There is so much to discover on either side. The promise it holds ahead is tantalizing. It is so very special and uncertain at the same time.

And once in a while you get touched, more in your soul than in your body, like some sinful music that affects your entire being, where you are understood even without even having to speak a single word. For that short while you sway, you sing and you dissolve in it. Soon enough, the deafening noises come back, but for those five minutes you are the luckiest human being alive. You feel special, you feel blessed. The music ends, but the melody lingers on forever, to live and die along with you some day. Is it wrong to want to feel that special every living day or to spend each of those days, wastefully, looking, yearning and desiring that feeling, be it even in vain?

February 02, 2006

Maxed Out

Yes, I am very much here, but time is a resource whose availability is very much scarcer than what is required or desired. In addition to my regular responsibilities that crisscross the lines of technology, journalism and borderline business development and alliancing, I have been admining the babies that keep the showpiece up and running. So it has been a week spent in the dark realms of PHP, Apache, Postgresql, Centos and plenty of MRTG graphs. If someone had told me a couple of years ago that I'd be fine tuning Apache for maximum performance and redoing web application architectures to make a living, I would have laughed my heart off. But it is not so funny when it actually happens, apparently.

On the other hand, there is a degree of lucidity and peace that has come visiting me after a very long time. It is not like I have acquired awesome degrees of purpose and meaning to my life overnight. It is just that I have decided to let go of a lot of things. If all these years of extreme and near-obsessive thinking has not brought those about, there is a fairly good chance that many more years of the same won't do much to achieve it. That being the case, I might as well enjoy the good things that I have in life and dump the things I can't fix and not kill myself in trying to fix them. So, really, I don't have much to crib about and I won't work hard to try and find something on those lines. Even with nothing, I can be happy. Really.