Wednesday 20 February 2013

Correspondence


First I said - 
"I will be prowling jnu-ish territory tomorrow... should i deliver your stuff to you?"

To which she inquired - 
"jnu-ish, late-ish? Coz i'll probably be less than human till about four thirty, five when the office closes and all hope for humanity disappears till the next day."

To which i rejoindered - 
"late-ish not likely-ish... need to be at munirka by 10am and will be done by 11am.
am a little iffy about traveling given the bandh tomorrow (yes P, there is a bandh tomorrow)

day after? or day-day after? or day after-after? or day-day after-after...

(this went on for a while)

To which she respondered - 
"any of them sound good, provided I regain my humanity. Bandh? All I know right now is how hilarious early christianity was - it really is like they showed it in life of brian. By the way, after jesus died, his disciples saw him 'eating grilled fish'. It says so in the bible. He also told someone, 'let the dead bury their own dead.' 

Thursday evening or friday or saturday I'm all yours. In fact, I might need to plan an excape 22 and 24th - they're having 'nights' here!

ps. What did st. stephen do? he got stoned. It's pretty much what he's remembered for.

And then I said
"first... stop studying. it appears to be having ugly side-effects.
second... excape... fastly... and into my arms. we'll go for a walk to Mughal Gardens, maybe pluck some flowers... that kind of thing. Had I been a man I would have threatened to piss in the President's premises, but woe is me... I cannot aim my pee.

and stay for as long as you need. I have to go for this wedding thing on Sunday - 
He's Bengali, she's Punjabi and they're BOTH from Delhi. 
I foresee a massive dearth of bearable company and multiple conversational black-holes. Be my plus-one?

third... so he got a bunch of rocks thrown at him? great. i can feel the pressure to amount to something in this life-time disintegrate... slowly.

love. 
true love, not just the kind that ends e-mails."

*

To P - stay close, you make me feel normal. Hug.

*

Real hug. Not just the kind that ends e-mails.

Friday 23 November 2012

Inside the Lines – How life pulled a fast one on me



"they love to tell you… stay inside the lines…
But something’s waiting… on the other side…”
John Mayer, No Such thing 

If my childhood were a person, a real-live human being like me, with arms and legs and dandruff… I don’t think we’d be on very good terms. We’d hide our contempt behind superficiality and polite smiles while secretly harboring the urge to sabotage every small chance of happiness in each others’ lives.

At most, I guess, we’d be face-book friends. But that’s about it.

Why? Because my childhood has sabotaged every small chance of happiness in my life.
(This is where the Americans dramatically say – “Period!”)

My childhood won a lot of 1st prizes. But it’s the 2nd prizes that can really change you.

One such 2nd prize was awarded for colouring. You know the standard colouring competition – they give you an outline of some trees and hills and kids with kites and you have to fill in the shapes with colour. Easy enough right? Even a child can do it right? Wrong!
(This is where Americans insert the annoying buzzer sound)

The reason I won 2nd and not 1st was because in my enthusiasm, I’d strayed outside the lines (tsk tsk…). I’d then gone ahead and done the unforgivable - make new outlines around the careless scrawling to make it seem like that’s the shape things were meant to be in the first place (tsk tsk tsk…).

So my trees were thicker and greener, my mountains were rockier and browner and the kites were wild and enormous. Unwittingly, I’d given the picture some character. Wrong! Wrong!! Oh so wrong!!!

If only I’d stuck to the script, that damned 1st prize would have been mine. 
This is how 2nd prizes change your life.  

So I proceeded to follow the script and as expected - the 1st prizes followed. Whenever the crayon threatened to breach the sacrosanct boundaries the prospect of a 1st prize was like a Starship Enterprise type tractor beam pulling it back in.

But you know the funny thing about tractor beams? You get used to being reigned in. And even when they’re switched off you rarely go outside the lines.

And there’s a funny thing about lines. You forget what to do when there aren’t any. So you just make them up.

Then, if you’re lucky, you’ll get really really fucked in the head (tsk tsk tsk tsk… chhee). Because you realize that there are no lines and no tractor beams and the only reason they exist is because you ‘made them up’. Tragically, if you’re like me, you’ll just be angry and resentful and fail to see the beauty of how your life is composed entirely of tractor beams and lines and boundaries – that don’t exist. You’ll fail to appreciate the magical abilities of your own mind in having created this world of illusions.
You’ll take the immature approach… and blame your parents… or something like that.

If the angry and resentful me met the littler version of me I bet I’d say –

“listen - at first things will be really bad, but you won’t know it – you’ll wet your pants in kindergarten and pretend like it never happened and congratulate yourself for being a grown-up, you’ll reign in the crayons and paints and colour the picture the way you were given it and congratulate yourself for winning everyone’s approval, you’ll do the right things ask the right questions and make the right choices and feel good about being right. And those who are wrong don’t matter. Because they’re wrong”

“then things will stay just as bad, only it actually starts to feel bad, because you know just how bad things are – you’ll see the questions you didn’t ask because you didn’t think they were relevant, the times you didn’t ask for help because you didn’t want to be an inconvenience or worse, seem weak. You see the chances you didn’t take because – who invites uncertainty right? The rewards you didn’t win because you didn’t think you deserved them. And then you start to get uncomfortable… really really uncomfortable… and wonder why.”

If that is in fact what I end up saying, I really hope this is how I end –

“but eventually, you run out of ‘whys’ and things get a little better… or at least stop getting worse. Because you KNOW and strangely, simply knowing can help.”

*

To my good friends – anger and resentment. I’m glad they came. Between the three of us, I’m sure we’ll locate the whereabouts of the button that turns the tractor beam off. And enough erasers to wipe out the lines.

*

"I just found out there's no such thing as the real world...
Just a lie you've got to rise above"
John Mayer, No Such thing 

Wednesday 26 September 2012

The thing about scrambled eggs...

"There are roughly two kinds of people who like scrambled eggs...

...the first kind, who actually like scrambled eggs...
... the second, who pretend they wanted the eggs scrambled all along."

*

Don't look at me. I didn't mess with no eggs today.
I made dal. And it tasted surprisingly like dal.
(pats back)

*

SUK and I have decided to get married. Not to each other (sadly).
So we figure in order to get married a few years down the line (which is as of yet a vague, mysterious, nebulous number we haven't really put much thought into) we should start the groundwork with immediate effect.
As per our hypothesis, in order to find a suitable marriage partner we would need to budget time for meeting people, rejecting people, getting rejected by people, getting rejected by prospective parents in law (hey it happens)... getting to know people, several rounds of discussion on likes and dislikes, interests and dis-interests, lifestyle choices... months of hemming and hawing and procrastination... months of parental nagging...

Also said marriage partner should be rich. Really really rich.

Keeping in mind the statistics (another set of vague, mysterious, nebulous numbers we chose to just come up with) and our extreme lack of urgency to resolve the matter, this process of selection, elimination, exploration can at best be covered in - 7 years.

*

7 more years of spinsterhood (ugly word alert!). My mom's not going to like this.

If at the close of these 7 years, SUK and I should find ourselves unmarried and also find that our un-married-ness is mutual we have decided to absolutely NOT marry each other. In fact, if the thought so much as crosses our minds we have promised to shoot each other in the foot.

*

I love my married friends. They have homes, real grown up homes. With clean curtains and clean towels and clean hand towels and clean sheets... and stocked fridges... and geysers.
They are also sufficiently bored of each other to lavish most of their attention on me. Its like being married to them. Muahahaha...
They also glow.

*

Dedicated to L and M and the happy domesticity we all secretly aspire for.

Thanks for letting me enjoy a piece of it. I think you should adopt me. I'll make a great (pick from one of several equally attractive options):
1. live-in maid - I can make scrambled eggs AND dal
2. babysitter - For when the babies come. It doesn't hurt to be prepared.
3. first child - I'm super responsible, I do my homework on time and get straight As
4. sponge - Person who generates no resources or useful services whatsoever for the household
5. poet/ writer/ artist seeking inspiration - see definition of 'sponge'
6. invalid - before your parents get there. It doesn't hurt to be prepared. We could all use a dry-run right?

*

The last one was in slightly poor taste.

*

Dedicated to L and M for loving me for my bad taste and only occasional good taste.
And for the eggs. I really did want them scrambled :)

Thursday 20 September 2012


So… today… before I slip into a cheesy spaghetti carbonara induced stupor… I’ll write…

(And… with that… I have exhausted the statutory upper limit on number of ellipses one can use in a blog-post…)

(… screw that …)

(…)

I chose today to shake things up at blimblop because - 

… I just re-read some things I’d written a long time ago and realized that they weren’t half bad.

… writing is the least unpleasant task on my long list of ‘things to do’. Yes, I do acknowledge the criticality of washing underwear. Also of not exceeding work deadlines by more than two days. But a few more hours can’t hurt… right? Right?

… not one… not two… but yeah actually just two people asked me to resume writing. One of these people is known to me so bribery cannot be ruled out entirely, don’t worry P – you will continue to receive unnecessary gifts from me for as long as I know you.
The other is a stranger.
This of course is in startling contrast to prevailing trends. Every other stranger who comments on my blog is usually asking me to -  
  1. purchase xanax/ valium/ sports shoes/ Viagra… OR
  2. invest in penis enlargement… OR
  3. become a nurse/ pilot… OR
  4. engage in some rather… erm… questionable… erm… ‘activities’… OR
  5. watch other people (specifically Scandinavian women) engage in some rather… erm… questionable… erm… 'activities'
Now that’s a lot of unsolicited advice for just one me to process. I’m just going to listen to the stranger who asked me to stop being a bum and write more often.

*
So a lot has transpired twixt (which is just a fancy, 14th century word for ‘between’) my last post and this one. I shall now proceed to provide a brief recap -

Shortly after my last post I was diagnosed (wrongly) of being pregnant. It’s a funny story, really -  15 of the most horrible minutes of my life: extremely blog-worthy. The last time I narrated this story I had the audience rolling in the aisles. Watch this space.

Shortly after that I was made an offer of marriage by a reasonably eligible man (which was in no way connected to the possibility of a bastard child). Despite the oh-so-tempting investment banker-ness of the proposer (he was tall too) I promptly refused. In doing so I confirmed my mother’s worst nightmare – that I would willfully condemn myself to a few more years to husband-less-ness, child-less-ness and suffering in general.  

Shortly after that I moved to Rajgarh, a small town in Rajasthan (which was in no way connected to me escaping all possibilities of receiving marriage proposals or producing bastard children). I spent most of July at war with my colleagues - 22 bratty kids who were to, over the course of the next year, become my family. 

August saw me at my Florence Nightingale best - frequent trips to hospitals in Jaipur and way more drama than a human being is programmed to cope with. It rained and rained and rained and things continued to get more inconvenient.

Sometime in September, I wore a sari to work. It created quite a stir.

Sometime in September SUK, PR, SP and I booked a room in a hotel, drank ourselves silly and went for a swim. Even in Jhunjhunu (which is not a word of my invention, it really is the name of a district in Rajasthan) little miracles can happen.

In Rajgarh, there are no Coffee Shops and no multiplexes. With not much else other than work to focus my time and attention to, I did what seemed natural – work some more, in most mule-like fashion. But small town life did have its perks. I managed to meet a history-sheeter, buy over-priced furniture from a local politician, make a speech at a Republic day function in a village school, attend an inter-district daf-pratiyogita. Eat lots of khand, drink lots of chhaas and tear a few kurtas along the way.

On a brief solo-trip to Kerala for friend's wedding I danced in a tea-garden. I really did dance, like in the movies. Just thought I should mention that. Lots of wedding guests suffered debilitating bouts of food-poisoning. I went for second helpings and third helpings and escaped without a scratch. I guess Punjabi stomachs are just sturdier than their Mallu counterparts.

Sometime in November, back in Rajasthan, I addressed a group of 50 government school headmasters to give them a lecture on ‘leadership’. To this day, I have no idea why they listened so closely. I wasn’t even wearing the sari.

Through all of this, I regularly lost my temper a whole lot and received a disproportionate amount of love and respect in return. I became the reluctant matriarch of our charmingly dysfunctional family. I got two cakes on my birth day. One of them was obscenely large and creamy. It came all the way from Hissar.

I learnt to not hate people and actually like children. On the subject of camels - I am still ambivalent.

I visited schools and re-experienced the tyranny of the classroom, the struggle of the student. The malaise of discrimination. I felt awful. I learnt that after years of being detached, I was capable of feeling awful. I didn’t know what to do with the feeling. Years of being detached can do that to you.

Bike rides across the deserted terrain, hitch-hiking on a tractor and a giant wheel ride in Pilani that made me only slightly queezy. I walked… and walked… and walked some more. 

(Am yet to dance on top of a train. But I'm optimistic.)

Skip ahead to March of this year, I escaped from Rajgarh, in true filmy ishtyle, with not much more than the clothes on my back (okay so I carried my laptop too). Something bad happened. So let’s just leave it at that.

Over the course of the next few months I proceeded to spend as little time as possible in one location. Delhi first, then home, then Dharamasala, then Kullu, then home, then Delhi, back to Rajasthan. Somewhere in the middle I attended a meditation course (which is a really good excuse to not speak to anyone for at least 10 days), made a really good friend in Mcleodganj followed by days of long walks and nights of restful sleep in Kullu.

I attempted making conversation with the water-fall at Jaana and rapids along the Beas. Both proved less than charitable. I stumbled and fell, several times and returned home with dirty pants, drenched socks and a sheepish grin.

I read a heart-breaking book by a gentleman called Hoshang Merchant, I found out who Anais Nin is. Some people write so well, it is almost unfair.

Work took me to Udaipur, Churu, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur. Exhaustion took me to Bangalore and prevented me from going any further. 

The events of the past year could cover several chapters of a book, or maybe even one whole episode of the ‘Bold and the Beautiful’. And you know the best part - I’m not making any of this up.

So… yeah… you can see why I had no time to write. Apparently I am capable of leading a far more interesting life than I had ever imagined. Just not very good at writing it all down.

It’ll all tumble out in good time I suppose… sooner or later. At least the fun, juicy parts. Brace yourselves.

*

In June, I settled on Delhi. At first she was at her inhospitable best and tried to spit me out.

Yet here I am, back in the capital, trying, rather unsuccessfully, to live like a grown-up. Attempting to infiltrate it's vicious social circles. Writing painfully long blog-posts, gorging on cheesy spaghetti carbonara and paying someone to tell me that I am experiencing mild existential depression.

Its good to be home :)

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Holy Compatibility Batman!

B moved in sometime in December. And it would seem that 3 is indeed company. Even people as fiercely territorial as M and myself were done in by B’s charms on first contact.

I knew we’d hit pay-dirt somewhere in the midst of my first conversation with B. She asked if it were okay if she let a friend (and boyfriend of said friend) use her room for the purposes of – “Ahem, ahem” (a.k.a “Cough, cough”, a.a.k.a. sexual intercourse).

She said she thought it was okay.

M said he thought it was cool as long as they didn’t “cough” too loudly.

I said I thought it was great because… well… someone might as well be having sex. The closest anyone one in our house was getting to physical intimacy was being frisked at the metro station.

(I then launched into a slightly lengthy {and some claim plagiarized} monologue on how there really weren’t as many people “Ahem, ahem”-ing as there should be. If there were, there would be no war… Duh…

Of course to explain this hypothesis in its entirety and do justice to its various nuances I would need to write another post altogether. I’ll save that for another day.)

There it was – congruency.

Thereafter, the little doubt that remained on B’s suitability for flat-mate-dom was put to rest when B revealed talents of the following nature –

1. 1. The ability to turn pink when inebriated i.e. to be immensely entertaining.

2. 2, The ability to lose her hearing when inebriated i.e. additional entertainment

3. 3. The achieve the above mentioned state of inebriation after consuming remarkably small amounts of alcohol, making the entertainment extremely cost effective

M and I can scarcely believe how perfectly she has managed to blend into our version of happy domesticity (or lack thereof… seriously, we need an intervention. Our home is barely habitable. An army of moms would need to work around the clock for a week at a stretch to set right all the things that are wrong with our house).

As for M, being outnumbered by women seems to suit him just fine. I try to make him feel less left out by consistently keeping my room as messy and disorganized as I possibly can so as to accentuate the bachelor pad-ishness of the place. For his part M is more than meeting us half way. He patiently indulges our (read my) diatribes against men. He has been known to display great courage when confronted by women’s underwear strewn carelessly all over the place (again mine, an old habit I just can’t seem to shake off). Word on the street is he is now trying to grow a uterus.

Dear M,

Please don’t grow a uterus. We love you just the way you are.

XOXO

Tuesday 25 January 2011

poem

I came across a poem by one Mr. Edward Robins Richardson as quoted in my latest favourite book in the world: Me Cheeta, An Autobiography (written by one Mr. James Lever, what a guy). What a book and what a poem. I wish I'd written them both... or at least one... or at least something that compares... Eh... Bleh...

So here goes -

Let us with zest drink deep the draught
Of life, and care not if the wine
Is neither nectar nor divine
Elixir, for we have loved and laughed

Amid our tears. If we should fall
In reaching for the big brass ring,
Or if, like Ic'rus, we take wing
Too near the sun... well, then we fall.

At least we flew! At least we chose
To burn! And when our heydey cools
And we're near dust, if we were fools
To hell with it. To hell with those

Who feared to rush dream-drunk, headlong
Into th'dance! Say this, when we set
Out for the realm unconuer'd yet:
Say, They Lived. Judge us right or wrong

We drained our cups.

*

Its the most wonderful time of the year. Just the right amount of cold. I'm working from home... from our balcony to be more precise. In a t-shirt, my arms finally get to see the light of day. To breathe. Its been far too long.

And suddenly I don't hate Delhi as much as I did not so long ago. And Delhi seems to have accepted me too. Like former lovers who reunite and grudgingly admit how incomplete they were without each other. That home was closer than they could have ever imagined.

*

We drained our cups... and made our peace.

Monday 13 December 2010

In Transit

Bus, Margao to Bengaluru, Scheduled Departure Time: 6:15pm

Status @ 5:45pm

“Bus will be coming at 6:40, you can report by 6:30”

Status @ 6:45pm

“Bus is coming. Just coming”

Status @ 7:00pm

“Actually what happen is they divert the bus. It is coming by long route”

“It is coming, half an hour delay”

Status @ 7:15pm

“Bus is coming. Just coming”

Status @ 7:30pm

“Actually what is happen is bus has broken down. It is gone to garage for fixing”

“It is coming, not later than 8:30”

Status @ 8:15pm

“Actually it is only 15km away. In Verna. They are changing the bus. Transferring passengers.”

“Bus is coming. Just coming.”

Status @ 8:45pm

“What can I do madam? They are there and I am here. I’m also waiting no?”

“I am calling and calling, they are not pick up-ing”

“Madame once bus was delayed by 7 hours. I still remember, Dec 29-30th type date. 7 hours madam, this is nothing”

Status @ 9:00pm

"*Deep sigh*"

(Roughly translated – “Earth please swallow me whole”)

*

The bus finally arrived at 9:15pm. Only 3 hours delay madam. This is nothing.

The journey will cost us a couple of hours in travel time. We will reach Bangalore 5 hours later than schedule. Only 5 hours madam. This is nothing.

*

*Deep sigh*

*

To a most vague and nebulous entity - Indian Standard Time...