April 27, 2006

Real Illusion

Inside Out
Originally uploaded by codelust.
Is being too busy a good enough excuse for anything at all? I guess not. So I won't dish out the same thing here as the reason why I have not blogged in a while. But it has been a good break from the normal proceedings of all gloom and dullness here and strangely, I have not missed laying it all out here much. It is good, sometimes, to have your handful of secrets.

Actually, contrary to blogular perception, I am not a manic depressive, by a long stretch. I do manage to smile, be happy about things around me and other people. If there are any problems, it is with the fact that I don't tend to gloss over problems, mistakes etc and I do have this irritating knack to over-analyse.

The wise one, in the comments, had asked me post five entries on why I like my life. Five would be way too much, so I think I will make do with a couple of lines. I love the independence I have in it. I could actually pack my bags tomorrow and head out wherever I want to. It is another thing that I've never managed to do that. But the option is there, probably as a last-ditched roll of the dice.

The people I have loved, I have loved with all my heart, be it in my own weird ways. I have had the fortune of knowing more than a couple of people really up close and felt better for it. I love the fact that I have managed to make something of my life, even when I have always considered myself less than smart or talented enough to do whatever I do these days and also dream about better things for tomorrow.

Coming from a strictly middle class Indian family, with little or no academic aptitude in me, it is a wonder that I have gotten this far. In fact, quite a lot of the times I do feel that I am in place that is way out of my league, but I am not complaining and feel quite happy about it. I tend to forgive very easily, which makes my life a little bit easier on the complications side, while I do find it hard to forget, which instantly negates it.

I love the fact that even after making more mistakes, made mostly by me, than what I can count, I have managed to cling on to hope in my life. I love it that even in pitch darkness at times I have managed to come out to the other end, that I do feel life can be better and happier, even during the best or the worst times. And with that I think I should shut up and try to find my way home.

April 18, 2006

The View

The Perch
Originally uploaded by codelust.
Yes, I am showing off my new perch. I like it much better here, nestled in a corner far away from the noisy edit bays and the travel/administration bunch. I get a view that is pretty neat by the generally arid and dull Noida standards and it shows too. I had put in a longish day yesterday, having another crack at getting a subversion repository up and running here, and was back in office before 10 AM today, which is a record of sorts for me. In any case, on Monday, I started with the umpteenth attempt to clean up my act. It is working in parts – I’ve stopped smoking at home and started going to bed early and eating a wee bit better too. There is a lot to be done, but at least this is some start.

Otherwise, the withdrawal from practically everything continues. It occurred to me last night that I can’t even remember when I last felt some passion in anything that I do. A couple of years ago, it used to be different. I used to passionately love and care about the ones I felt close to. I used to work passionately, regardless of the outcome. Now there is just a dull detachment. I do make a pretty good effort, but the crucial, final 1% is missing. It makes things easier to walk away from and be mostly unaffected by negative developments. But it also feels like deadwood, making it hard to conjure up even a smile, or that odd peal of genuine laughter or even a couple of heartfelt tears.

And it is not just the private sphere; the public half also has gone AWOL. Even when I have not been one for blog meets and the whole ‘community’ thing, I used to participate, at least on a handful of blogs. Now that too has gone, helped in good measure by numerous flamewars and whatnot. I do read most of them, but even when I don’t, I feel that I have not missed much. Is it the bane of predictability or is a case of high expectations? I do not know and I don’t care much either.

In real life, the surprising change has been that I’ve fell off the partying wagon just like that. The dark, smoke-filled, crowded places have been a magnetic escape for me in the past four years. It all started at the famous Turquoise Cottage (also known as TCs to most of the Delhi crowd) in 2001, if I remember right. That time, working with the IE, I was this wide-eyed-wonderer, caught between the amazement of having a place in Delhi where they played the kind of music that I liked and the long straight hair of a female colleague who used fondly call me “the villager”.

Since then I’ve done most of the joints here and enjoyed it to the hilt, even doing unbelievably crazy stuff like riding on the rickety motorcycle, well past midnight, with the then girlfriend behind me in a short skirt and thigh-high boots, from Chanakyapuri to home at Saket. And the last two years were the peak of the craziness -- working till late in the evening, a splash-and-dash at home, then more alcohol, dancing and revelry and then coming back not earlier than 3 AM. I miss the dancing part, though. Not that I could twirl anyone or do the Salsa, but I guess I’ve managed enough to not be given weird looks and even be given once a wee bit of space of our own in the non-existent floor at TC.

Falling off this wagon was not a planned course of action. I guess the indifference has been there for a while now. In the past year I’ve felt out of place everywhere – be it TC or be it Elevate and everything in-between. When you have to coax yourself to try and fit in with the bouncing masses even as the heart has opted out before you even got in, it is a fairly good sign that something’s gotta give; and soon. 2006 has been a disaster for me at TC. It started with a horrible set of circumstances, which left me feeling angry at myself for things that had not a lot to do with myself. Two more visits followed that have now become part of my infamous and numbskulled attempt at trying to settle down – in love and married – crashing and burning one of the rare good friend I had left with me. Then there were two other instances where the babysitter me was in his full glory. Not that I mind taking care of people, but too much of it is not fun either.

When you have only the past to keep you company, more than the present, anywhere, that is really time’s tide gently lapping at your feet asking you to move on ahead or step back to move in a different direction. That’s what I feel about Delhi these days. I have fond memories, conversations and some beautiful times associated with most of the places. Beyond that, in the present, there is nothing. All I see are people, like the ones I see coming in and out of the compound below – total strangers who are of no interest to me, with whom I want to have nothing to do with.

April 14, 2006


Would you rather be aware and possibly entertain a situation that offers no solutions, or be willfully unaware and terminate the same probable conclusion even before it can manifest itself? Or to make the question even simpler, is self awareness and making an effort with regards to it an overrated concept?

If we assume that happiness is the touchstone of all actions regarding humanity, can we also assume that it also stands independent of the rightness, wrongness or the degree of selfishness of ones actions, making at least a hypothetical state of perfection, creating an ideal world that is selfish to the core?

April 10, 2006


It has not been a spectacular Sunday. How can it ever be that when it is so swelteringly hot as it is these days. But it was one of the better ones. I woke up feeling unlike the usual congested self. Still, I coaxed myself into inhaling some steam spiked with Karvol Plus that still kicks like the wildest of mares on the first few inhalations. Then I finally managed the energy to kick start and move the motorcycle from the position of rest it had assumed many months ago. And after having watched What A Girl Wants, for reasons still unclear to me (okay, I'll admit, the girl is pretty in a weird sort of way), I set out on a walk that ended up being quite long, in excess of five kilometres, bought some fish and cooked it, stuffed my face, watched Desperate Housewives and Lost and here I am.

See, the funny thing is that I do like being alone and doing things for myself. I like the space and the freedom it gives me and the concept of catching up with yourself after a terrible week of surviving your own very fucked up state of, physical and emotional, affairs and actually just relax, give up and not do much to a set plan. But I do miss having someone around -- not to pick up my dishes, not to cook for me, not to give me a shoulder to cry on -- but just the physical presence, of being able to hug, hold and generally feel wanted. No, I am not talking about sex here, even though that is also a bona fide need, but this is different and hard to explain. You know, just silly stupid things like sitting together, having coffee and not doing much else. Is that weird?

I do not know if everyone feels so emotionally raw most of the time or if it is just me. Probably I should not be asking these questions since I have been making a conscious effort of late to stop the obsessive analysis of everything. And it is nice to close your eyes and not have the cacophony of thoughts swell up in front of you. Strangely, I can't bring myself to write anything more beyond this. Funny, is it not, how the verbal juices dry up totally when there is nothing sad or terrible to write about? But I am hauling up eyelids and with a great deal of effort looking beyond the immediate arid landscape. If miracles are truly possible, this is your chance. Please do appear in whatever form or shape you can afford to do that. I shall only be too welcome to have you in my life.

April 06, 2006


I must have spent at least an hour last night, knowingly dreaming through the house and the colony I'd grown up back home, before I finally slipped off to sleep. It was not just the old chest infection-turned fever that caused the delirious trip, somehow I was quite enjoying it and I wanted to do it. I guess you could call it an exquisite work of the imagination, but it was nice all the same, to go through all of that experiencing extremes of joy, anger and sometimes sadness during various times.

It started off at the main road, from where I walked down, remembering each and every house on both sides and the people who lived in them and my memories associated with them. I could also even imagine the picture of a younger me climbing over walls and running around, the cricket and football games we've played on the streets. I could have sworn that I almost heard my own voice, even though it is something that I hate listening to.

It was not a painful experience, though the chasm between that life and my life now was a bit disturbing. I can positively identify with both and yet they are such extremes that I cannot understand how can that be possible. Maybe, as a dear friend recently told me, the chasm exists only in my mind and perception, which is probably true since I don't think you can't change much of what is at your core.

April 03, 2006


I don’t have a picture to go with this one. Maybe I do, but I don’t want to bother looking for one. When I started writing this one on Sunday I had typed in a few lines about how last week has been an extension of the week before in hell and how I was getting used to it. There were also things said about how I was having imagined conversations, with people I know and myself, in my head, while outwardly I had withdrawn into my shell and stopped speaking to almost anyone. Then, I just could not write anymore. I just gave up and tried to see if there was something else I could do.

Afterwards, on a longish and relaxed drive, I realized how stressed out I was and that my mind was working overtime, bordering on the neurotic, even when it did not have to do that. It really felt like my own internal cacophony was building up to a crescendo, with endless iterations of self-analysis and analysis of every minor thing that was happening around me. It is a pleasure of the most masochistic type to make yourself a test buggy and note down every single action/reaction cycle you through, as a study of your own nature. At the same time it is obsessive and massively self-destructive too.

Emotionally, I felt clogged from the inside like someone with a chronic case of sinusitis. It has been building up for a while now, not helped in the least bit by recent events. Gradually, your ability to breathe diminishes to the point where you almost choke yourself with your emotions. Then comes the numbness - of being not able to smell, breathe, taste or even feel anything. Then you wonder about what went wrong and look desperately for a rope, even the tattered ends of a straw, if there are any available, to grasp on to. It is in those moments that even more mistakes follow, the kinds that long term problems never get fixed by.

What snapped me out was the meeting with a friend on Sunday. It has been one of those weird friendships where there is a connection made even when there are no common grounds or even major similarities in personalities. It just felt different, comfortable and it felt like I was walking out of my own clogged up, rotting skin. It felt nice to be able to breathe again, to find that there was still warmth left somewhere in the cold confines of your own soul and that you could be liked, without having to project an image of invulnerability and strength as a year-round project, even when you are just being yourself.

Later, I called up an old friend, talked to her for a bit. I thanked my lucky stars that I could actually trace in me a little bit of the fondness that I have always felt for her. My home, empty and dark, awaited my return and I hate when the dread of going back to an empty home comes back to haunt me. But there is only that much you can run away from your demons and they really don’t feel so funny when you come across them anywhere other than Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. Bree’s (rare?) histrionics and Jack’s past provide an adequate distraction. Sleep, attempted later, is one lousy client that almost never turns up.

When Monday morning eventually arrives, I welcome it with all my heart. Anything that provides a purpose to my hours and keeps me busy is a welcome visitor. Of course, with inflexible caveats added in for good measure. I have already walked away from one confrontation; I don’t need any more of them for a while now. The road back is very long and difficult. The spirit’s been close to being broken for a while and alarmingly the body too is following suit now. Before long, at this rate, the situation would become unrecoverable. I guess I don’t have that level of masochism within me. The small mercies one has to be thankful about in life.