December 30, 2006

Pigeon Post From London

Shaadi

Just pic abhi. Words after hunnnymoon...

December 23, 2006

Threshold

So I’m 12 hours away from metamorphosis: from Inky-Ji to InkyG. And no smart ones today….just butterflies in my tummy, nose-wiping into my mummy, and a humble request for the blessings and best wises of all who still visit this neglected abode of mine!

See you on the other side of tomorrow!

December 13, 2006

Geek Inviting Other Geeks For Wedding

"Hey, I’m getting married to Inkspill, and here’s the card… I made the card in Adobe Photoshop, and I used a Microsoft product for the header! Expression Graphic Designer, and I imported it in Photoshop! Yeah we got them printed… no we planned solid colors but the printing shop guy’s printer’s configuration (and here I believe it takes off into a language other than English), so there’s this cool gradient that’s come up on its own… and cut and we got envelopes and stuck that “Om” tile on it…I’ll send you the e-card also! It looks a little different on the LCD screen!"

Dear Geek Bhais who got the above-mentioned cards, if you're reading this, don't forget the MAIN message...please come to the shaadi and bless the happy couple. The verse invitation below is not applicable to you...

November 29, 2006

Pappu Pass Ho Gaya!

Got good tidings from London today. I passed my course. Now I have an MA and an MSc. Now thinking of getting an MCom and then an MBA. Is there anything I’m missing out?

LSR aur LSE ke baad ab? LSD?

November 23, 2006

Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai!

Thirty days to go. And here’s the wedding card we would have printed if we had our way:

Dear XYZ/Respected XYZ,

We are soon getting married, but do not get excited.
We like to keep things simple, so you’re not invited.
We saw you at a wedding kicking up a fuss
And we are not having the same done to us
You will “misread the route” and come hours late
And we’ll just wish you had misread the date
You will dress up all fine, and land up at the venue
And criticize the décor, the music and the menu
You will eat till the floor under your feet is shaken
And then clamber onstage and have your picture taken
You will get us a gift that we will never use
So you are not coming. Pliss to excuse!
Our parents, perhaps, if they love you a little more
Will have a box of laddoos delivered at your door.

Regards
Bride and Groom

November 17, 2006

Har Ghadi Badal Rahi Hai...

Ghar ki har ghadi alag waqt bataati hai
Aur kyun nahin?
Waqt kahan sab ke liye ek sa hota hai bhala?

Padhai ke kamre mein din raat baraabar hain
Amma ke kamre mein ek ghanta tez, mere mein ek ghanta dheemi,
Ghadiyon ke hisaab se to hum sabhi sahi waqt par uth lete hain na!
Daftar ke kamre mein hamesha zara tez, bahut kaam hai bhai

Aur rasoi mein?
Wahan to waqt hai beti ki shaadi ka.

Koi ghadi shayad standard time se milti bhi ho,
Par zyadaatar ne apne standard khud banaa liye hain

November 14, 2006

Sanjay

Surely he must curse
His boon as he sings
Of the deaths of sons
Before crippled kings

Paparazzi

Photographers

Amma bhi Razzi.
Looking for Kazzi…
(Sorry!)

Am expecting to spend my life tagging along behind photographers in Lal Bagh. The one on the right is B, who owns the humongous lens that the boy on the left covets…

Taken with the boy’s camera, and therefore not accepting full blame for bad picture quality. That camera does not like me on either side of itself!

November 09, 2006

Yellow Pages

A unique kind of cleaning project is on at home these days. I’m clearing out stuff that I have collected over the years as a kid, a young girl, a not-so-young girl and as an almost elderly woman. These relics, some precious and some trash, need to be examined and kept or thrown away, since I am about to leave the babul ka ghonsla et al…

Mom has already collected all that stuff in a bright blue travel bag ( I’ve been away so long that the charm of bidaai is almost gone) for me to go through. So I’m suddenly faced with years of memories neatly piled up. Yellowing paper to keep or throw as I desire.

First up was a certificate from school saying that I used to study there and that “I bear a good moral character.” This flimsy evidence is essential and sufficient for getting admitted to Delhi University. So I’ve folded and saved my yellowing good character and kept it safely among childhood report cards and hospital documents from when baby Inky was born with the loosies and all else normal…( Was I a loose character at birth then?)

Various bits of prose and poetry written on scraps, printed on A4 sheets, scribbled and doodles in various classrooms down the long road of my formal education…mock prayers in Sanskrit between sheets of chemistry equations (to be learnt, not deduced, and therefore unloved) a ten page essay on the evils of illiteracy in India (very cocksure and pedantic, written at 14 I think) and pages torn from newspapers and magazines where I had the honour of being published…what am I supposed to do with all these except read them, smile or cringe, and throw most of them away? I don’t feel a shred of remorse when disposing of these childish scrawls, not because I think I’m much cooler now, but because documentary evidence seems so redundant when proving to myself that I have always been a freak! To be fair, I have saved some specimens, for mom to beam over till the fragile paper disintegrates into the dust of oblivion and stupidity.

Then there are certificates, for everything from having overcome my neo-natal loosies to having aced exams. They look quite impressive, though, so I’ll keep them in case I need to floor educators or employers at some stage, they’ll need to know about my academic excellence and peristaltic control…

There are class notes from advertising school, which I’m keeping for the time being. That was my first stint away from home, and is an interesting anthropological study. There are also letters I wrote home and letters mom wrote to me (so far back in the Stone Ages, that she actually wrote “It is so nice that we have telephones and can talk once in a while”) Mom and I were reading each other’s letters last night and realized we hadn’t changed as people at all, despite technological advances such as cheap internet, cellphones, and medication for genetic insanity.

I also have autograph books from school “you are shakespear” and college “you have the cutest smile muah” and ad school “maaaaaa!”. I’ve kept these diaries which inevitably say “keep in touch” but I’ve thrown away phone directories with these people’s names and numbers….not only are they in different places, but they’re no longer relevant to me…

I’ll leave behind a much lighter blue bag when I go. Heavy hearts and light bags make for good bidaais, don’t you agree? :-)

P.S. Forgot to add that I have ten thousand attested copies of all the documents needed to apply for a higher education. Keeping them. You never know... :P

November 02, 2006

Pack Maadi

Ok. Almost time to go back home to Dilli. About a month in Bengaluru draws to a close. A month of steaming idlis and piping hot sambhar eaten in various “sagars” and “gardens” in a rush to get to office in more than eager autorickshaws on less than meager roads. A month of office lunches and the too-cold office with the too-hot language flying about…. A month of “Aishwariya ka naya version de na!” and “Sachin ki diary kahan hai?”

A month of long walks to dinner places which more than make up for the calories consumed over the meal….A month of strange languages and familiar smells, a lot of laundry, a lot of fun, and, for some reason, a lot of Bryan Adams’ “Please Forgive Me” (Bengaluru is a uniquely apologetic city: this song plays EVERYWHERE)…. A month of quick and smart wedding shopping (mangalsutra: 30 minutes. Wedding sari: fifteen minutes. Groom’s monkey suit: 15 minutes) and slow and lazy coffee and book browsing sessions…

Delhi has family. And roads. And right now, some good weather and fun melas. Reasons enough to go back: but not for long, eh?

Arrey! London is also ex-home: and to the girlie walking in Mayfair with that angry and dejected face... “aa jao ya bulaa lo”…

Highly recommended read of the day

October 25, 2006

Grrr!

I am verrrrrrrrrrrry angry. I could crack a few skulls.

But hey, I saw this sign outside a doctor's office today: "Health is the remedy for Happiness"
Maybe more of us should fall ill.

October 23, 2006

Debris

Rantypants! Rantypants! What do you say?
Nothing, O Nothing, I threw my pen away
Rantypants! Rantypants! Why don’t you blog?
My ink is all dry, and my mind is a fog

Don is bad. Dor is good. Delhi weather is good. Bangalore weather is good. Delhi airport is good. Bangalore airport is bad. Kingfisher is good. Jet is ok. Delhi sweets are good. Bangalore sweets are ok. Finance is ok. Fiance is good. Bas.

And oh, I have not replied to a single Diwali wish I got by email or sms. Just don’t feel like doing it.

October 17, 2006

Inkyji

Inky

That is all he sees. No wonder...

October 11, 2006

Spill

Had a long and terrifying nightmare about an egg-shaped tumor in my head, and a heartless doctor telling me I had a one percent chance of living if I let her drill a y-shaped bore in my skull and destroy the tumor, after which I’d have to spend 90 days in the hospital. All I wanted was a hand to hold, and that is not a luxury that people who live alone have; even in their dreams.

Ok. Too much sadness. Now for grossness. I woke up from the dream with a faint but familiar bad odour assaulting my nose. I tried to turn over, but the bed…under…my…bum…was…wet.

Ok. I decided not to panic. Maybe I had wet my bed. If people can have heart attacks because of dreams, bed-wetting is minor. Who am I kidding! Eeeeyaargh….I had wet my bed!!!!! I NEVER wet my bed as a baby! And now???

I moved my leg and the whole sheet was wet! Holy Moly! Surely one cannot pee that much and not know!!!! Or can one??? Omigod…I decided to go to a kidney doc and a brain doc as soon as I got up!

Grossed out, I sat up in bed. When I did that, I could not believe what I saw.

The whole room was swimming in two inches of water. The end of my sheet lay there dipped in the room-soup.

Only a dinosaur can have that kind of bladder! I was elated! I had not wet my bed! Capillary action had!

The roof was not leaking. The bathroom taps were firmly turned off. I sloshed out of the room and followed a thin trail of water…which was coming from the guest house kitchen, where a pile of dishes were blocking the sink, into which a tap was silently peeing.

Bleaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

I woke up the attendants. (Good thing I was too tired to change last night). Between the two of them, they shut the unshuttable sink tap. Then I helped them get the water out of my room (left alone, they were unlikely to finish before the polar ice caps melted, and then they’d have to begin all over again…sheesh! I made a global warming joke…very bad). Armed with buckets, mops, and dust pans (for scooping water!), we removed SEVEN big buckets of water from my room in about an hour.

So hey, if you plan to dream about someone boring holes in your head, check the kitchen taps, and wear a diaper or something…

October 09, 2006

Krrrrrrrr KrrKrrKrr

Nothing. Just needed a scratching post.

October 06, 2006

Slice-Of-Life

..Or, “Did that whole previous phase ever really happen?”

The boy took me out for a fancy lunch last weekend. Dessert was ice cream with some Goan specialty called “bibinca”. He assured me it was a million times better than apple pie (which is a big compliment, and even I’ve not been called better than apple pie yet). So coming back to bibinca, it’s apparently made of bread (see comments for details, and google before shooting your mouth off on your blog), and it was basically thin strips of bread-y stuff hesistantly sticking together. One strike of my hungry spoon sent them flying in different directions, their bonds with each other turning out to be not much more than the fact that they were together in being called bibinca, and would not be called so otherwise.

And that’s how it feels with my life right now…there’s so little that holds together London and Bangalore, SE1 and BTM, Regent’s Park and Lal Bagh, Foucault and Sachin Tendulkar…except they’re part of the bibinca called Inky…oye! ……Bibinka!!!!

September 28, 2006

TeeVee!

Have been lying around every evening watching TV, “connecting with my audience” as part of my after-work training-cum-entertainment programme. Must say the activity is much more fun that I remembered it to be. There is a lot to be said about the molten feeling of peeping through sleepy eyelids at the inane TV programme and then having just that bit of wakingness left in you that is needed to switch off the TV (first, unsuccessfully with the cellphone and then successfully with the remote control) and sink into deep sleep.

P.S. The astonishing number of hair oil and banian ads on TV seems surreal. There’s this whole parallel universe where people keep soiling their banians with the excessive oil dripping from their heads.

Unrelated: Am planning office uniform for myself: Oversized kurta (increasingly difficult to procure), contrast churidar, mismatched dupatta, Bata flat sandals, laptop bag (side/back) cellphone and badge maala, flowers in hair and silver earrings. Not bad, eh?

September 26, 2006

Bangalore 101

1. Idlis have the magical property of disappearing from your tummy an hour after you have eaten them. Two idlis do not a breakfast make. Supplement with something.

2. The speed of walking on the rugged terrain of the main road pavement is considerably enhanced by wearing flat shoes instead of heals, so factor this in if you are planning to avoid being the first one in office (loser!)

3. Apparently, if you want to wear jasmine in your hair in the morning, you need to buy it the night before, when people are actually selling it, and not in the morning, when your best shot is yanking some off the head of a lady running to catch a bus.

4. Paying five extra bucks for breakfast to have it sitting down is not a bad deal, since no enthu kid comes and wipes the drop of sambhar off your table seven nanoseconds after you spill it, making you feel guilty for existing. Also, you catch interesting conversation, and do not look odd as the only woman in a herd of men having stand-up breakfast.

5. All the food is vegetarian and cheap. 25 pence each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Awesome!

6. The autorickshaws are not half as mean as the Delhi ones, and it is quite appropriate to stick your tongue out at Bangaloreans who claim that they have terrible traffic jams each morning. They should try being in a vehicle on the Strand, or on Waterloo Bridge!

September 18, 2006

Not Officially Back To Blogging

That menacing electronic contraption they have for attracting and electrocuting flies? I want one for my thoughts.
Fzzzzzzzzzzzzt: Fear
Prrrrrrt Prrrrrrt: Guilt
Phsssssssssst: Anger

P.S.: If they put me in Eden, I’d sit around all day complaining the apples were out of bounds. Ungrateful wretch!

September 05, 2006

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

On September 21 last year, I was driven around Central London (with all my bags and baggage) in a pink and silver taxi by a very talkative Black youngster, who assured me that I would be happy and comfortable in London and would hate to leave when my year here was through. Tomorrow, I shall spend frenzied hours packing, all the while wondering at the magic of Central London, the simultaneous shortness and long-ness of a year, and the uncanny wisdom of Central London cabbies.

(If there are no updates for some time, it will be because I am coming to terms with the fact that my dates are up.)

London Aayi

Londoneye1

Londoneye2

August 30, 2006

Quasi-Heretical Rant

I tried to get into St Paul's Cathedral around three on the afternoon today, and there was a blue ribbon barrier and a poster demanding that I pay up nine pounds if I want to get in. Apparently, taking poor students' money will ensure that Saint Paul's is still standing when future generations come to visit. However nine pounds each time I want to visit God means I shall not have any money to raise future generations of my own. Maybe my little urchins on the street will be rescued by the Saint Paul's charity brigade, now that will be full circle, won't it?

At the entrance, a poster says that photography is not allowed (Chanduppa shuddered in his case in fear when I read it out to him) so as to preserve the sanctity of the place of worship. Some sanctimonious place of worship it is, with Mammon acting as God's gatekeeper. So how does this equation work? I hand my money and then I get two minutes with God? And since I am paying, am I entitled to demand instead of supplicating? Like "Yo God, that dissertation I am about to hand in tomorrow? You better get me a distinction, or else no more moolah from me OR my future generations, geddit?" Now there's an idea. Maybe I can sell it as an advertising campaign to the authorities of the cathedral. For nine pounds.

Had written a poem when I first went to the cathedral. Seems even more relevant now:

On Visiting St Paul’s Cathedral

Heavenly Father, who in Heaven must be:
for in Wren’s cathedral, though I do see
matchless splendour, there’s no divinity.

Those angels hovering in the air
are to my willful eye passing fair.
And it will not shut itself in prayer.

The feast is laid, and the senses will dine

Pardon me, for I must stray awhile
to return that darling cherub’s smile
and to admire old architectural style

At midnight sharp, by St Paul’s clock
I shall sit by the river on the sidewalk
And there, in silence, we shall talk

You in your Heaven, and me in mine

August 28, 2006

In which Chanduppa...

...the baby camera goes berserk among the revellers at the Notting Hill Carnival

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HRH Bollard One

BollardOne

This accidental piece of art was spotted on a trash can along Regent's Canal, where all the millionaires of London park their boats, and the banks of which make the perfect long walk after a hectic day at the Notting Hill Carnival.
Carnival pictures on flickr in a set. Too lazy to link.

August 24, 2006

I'm Lovin' It

There's something profoundly disturbing about ordering a vegetarian meal at an Oxford Street McDonalds at 9:30pm, and waiting for five minutes (letting people go ahead of you in the queue) while your Grilled Veggie Melt (one of the very few to be sold that day) is grilling and melting, and then taking your food (yes, it's still called that, though barely) to the basement (200 extra seats! Caution! Wet Floor!) and choosing a table far in some obscure corner, where the obscurest table is already taken by a self-conscious young man neatly picking at his McFlurry, and then loading the calories without a book in hand (not because you don't have one but because you do not think you'll be there long enough to find the page where you left it, since the bookmark was forgotten at home) with an eye on the waitress who has her eye on the neat man (not for flirting but for rapidly cleaning the table the moment he leaves, and putting up the chair so that no new customer dares to take a seat close to closing time) and another eye on the door of the ladies room (which is right across the hall, and each time it opens it shows two girls engrossed in make-up) wondering if the four pounds you spent on this meal were worth it, and then remembering that you came in because you did not want to cook, not because you had better things to so, but because you had already cooked twice today, and repeated domesticky tasks can kill you, like that waitress, for instance: the cleaning fluid must seep through the cloth in her swift hand, and the chemical must be rotting her skin as she ceaselessly clears the remnants of happy meals from tables.

August 23, 2006

Newton Ki Billi

BritishLibraryEntrance

With Chanduppa, the baby camera, the temptation to just post pictures and not write is becoming too strong.
One anecdote, however, was brought back to my mind at the British Library today, when I took a picture of this sculpture of Newton in the courtyard.
When I was three or four, my grandfather used to tell me stories about Newton and his dedication to his work. I had no clue about who Newton was, and I think I called him Nutren, but I remember that he was a chap who, when his cat ruined a heap of his writing, sighed and put the cat aside and began writing again, without throwing a tantrum. Now the purpose of this story was to instil in me the virtue of patience and the ability to stay cool if my hard work is destroyed, but all I got out of it was this: One day I came home from school crying because someone had bullied me in class, and the teacher had not seen or done anything about it, because "she was busy reading and working like Nutren".
Education, however, has not given up and is still trying to make friends the right way with me. Which is one of the reasons why I was at the library. Nutren was busy as usual.

August 21, 2006

Things Hang On It

WT

"Every little trifle, for some reason, does seem incalculably important today, and when you say of a thing that "nothing hangs on it" it sounds like blasphemy. There's never any knowing - how am I to put it? - which of our actions, which of our idlenesses won't have things hanging on it for ever."

- Where Angels Fear To Tread, E.M. Forster; quoted in White Teeth, Zadie Smith

August 19, 2006

(Inky Heart Wendigo) Heart River

Jootey-Mozey

That just about sums up the last eleven months...

August 18, 2006

What The...

A to Me: "You're marrying such a good looking guy, and you wear such gender-neutral clothing... if you don't expose even a little bit then how will you retain his attention? He will stray for sure. You must go and try that frock."

The REASON I went camera shopping with a GUY was so that I went to a CAMERA shop and not a CLOTHES shop, but something about me screams: "SHE HELPS BUY CLOTHES" and I was quite wet in the rain and down in the dumps by the time I reached Jessops, where I got the world's worst service but a darling little camera !

And obviously, I do not have money for a skimpy frock now, so I will risk the straying, I guess. :)

August 17, 2006

Alter Ego

Khaali





Expect News Of Retail Therapy

August 14, 2006

August 10, 2006

Lessee If Fortune Favours The Brave!

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss…"
(Kipling)

Am a certified NRI-type now. I went and saw the preview show of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.

Which also means I get to write a review before I read any.

All I'm gonna say (and all anyone who writes about it before most people have seen it should say) is that go watch it before people tell you the story (never mind the email forwards and crap) and judge it for yourself. Sometimes, the story is all-important. Like now. it's tough to swallow the fact that Shibani Fanaa Bathija came anywhere close to this film's script. Maybe I'll stop sticking pins in her voodoo doll.

The worst job, and the one with the most responsibility right now, is of those whose work forces them to write a review of this movie for mass circulation. I'm looking forward to reading as many as I can lay my hands on! One year of media studies has skewed my perspective after all!

P.S. I like watching Shah Rukh Khan movies with wendigo. She calls him all sorts of bodily orifice names! So this song is dedicated to her:

Tumko bhi hai khabar
Mujhko bhi hai pata
Ho raha hai judaa
Dono ka raasta
Duur jaake bhi mujhse
Tum meri yaadon mein rehna
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna…


P.P.S. This is a must-watch movie for anyone planning to get married soon. Better still, it is a must-force-future-spouse-(who-will-try-to-avoid-it)-and-give-advanced-warning-of-neuroses movie.

P.P.P.S. As for the history of formula hits Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, I guess Karan Johar needed to erect a platform and collect some junta before he cleared his throat and began to speak?

P.P.P.P.S. That's a lot of peas before one ass. Or is that an abbreviation for pearls before swine?(OK stop)

August 08, 2006

:-)

And thereby comes to an end the best year of my life so far.
Twenty-seven sounds like just the right time to grow up.
Maybe I will, maybe I won't. We'll just have to wait another year to see.
Meanwhile, London is. And I am happy.

Miss you Ma.

August 07, 2006

This Her Tation

I am in full study-mode these days and the dissertation is taking up all of my time and attention (hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! who'll buy THAT?) Ok. Every morning at about nine-thirty (I know!) I plonk out of bed and the tiny-tude of my new room ensures I land in the chair in front of my laptop. With bio-breaks, and brush-breaks, chat-breaks and tea-breaks, all the furious typing for the day happens in semi-awake condition. By the time it is twelve, I am done, and I have a bath, something to eat, and plan a half day of well-earned (hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! hyuk!) fun with wendigo, promising to meet her at three. I promptly fall asleep and then meet her at seven. By twelve, I have irritated her enough with my panicking about the dark for her to see me off at a bus stop. And then I surf idly till I fall asleep at two.
Now this is what you'd call a complete, whole, and healthy plan. Except for the minor detail that I am living here to write my dissertation, and that is getting the teeniest portion of my attention. The bursts of writing are a diarrhoea of simplistic sentences conveying the ideas of a host of people who have had no role in my course of study for the whole year. In fact, I cannot remember most of what I studied all year, if I ever did study. I'm handing in a ten thousand word gossip column to my department and hoping they have flexi-bendy rules regarding the intellectual value of work, and the sense of humor to give me a passing mark. Or maybe I'm going to stop being a lazy bum and start taking this dissertation stuff seriously. (hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! who'll buy THAT?)

August 06, 2006

O Pihu Re, Na Jaiyyo Na

A song is lazily whirling and twirling and swirling like a tea bag in the cup of hot water called me. The music and the voices and the words are seeping into every corner and colouring it and flavouring it and making me heady in a way that is very non-conducive to academic writing.

O, saathi re
Din doobe na
Aa chal din ko rokein
Dhoop ke peechhe daudein
Chhaon chhue na, O saathi re
(Gulzar in Omkara)

August 04, 2006

Barry Happy!

Got my first birdie present of the year today: a collection of Dave Barry articles sent by The Boyfriend. It's awfully nice to open the pigeonhole at the hostel reception and find something addressed to you in it. Something other than National Westminster Bank telling you that you have sixteen pounds and thirty four pence in your account. (At this stage MSN informed me that I have received a mail from vegas@home) Been giggling on buses and in shops as I dragged myself around town to help wendigo buy clothes (a whole another blogpost, I assure you!)

I could not help but remember the time I was introduced to Dave Barry. It was by the first and only person in the world to have a crush on me. He was a beer-and-dance bar owner, who was also a bodybuilder with a shaved head, and was known universally as Shetty. How this character came to develop a soft corner for me is a long story. For now, it is enough to say that I was a wide-eyed benevolent spirit who set out to make friends with ALL my classmates in advertising school, and in the case of this person, I was the only one to have made this gesture. Before long, it was clear that I had started something strange, but I put a stop to it in my own militant and brutal fashion.

One day, Shetty came into the classroom where I was typing a letter out to my mom, and told me he was going to give me a gift. Having recently been threatened with a tubelight being smashed on his head, I wondered why he even wanted to talk to me. He gave me the URL to Dave Barry's column, and told me it was a precious gift that he had not shared with anyone, and I was not supposed to share it with all and sundry either. It was a really kind gesture, and I not only thoroughly enjoyed the articles, but was quite discriminating in choosing candidates to pass the good word on to.

Poor Shetty was feared even by the teacher, and he liked me and I threatened to kill him….

It's horrid and evil to let a gift from your boyfriend set off a chain of recollections about a guy who liked you, so instead of stopping I'm gonna add that he too was a photographer, and he too hated Delhi! :P

July 30, 2006

Sabse Badey Ladaiyya Indeed

Na ghilaaf, na lihaaf
Thandi hawa bhi khilaaf
Sasurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrri

Gulzar is the new item number king!

Thumbs up to Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara. Must take swearing classes just to be able to understand half the words! The irritating English subtitles were no help there…

Up next from Bhardwaj:
Hemlata, I say!!!

Now tell me, won't that be cool? Hemlata (Konkona?) with Zamindar father (Naseeruddin Shah?) and evil stepmother (Kirrrron Kher?) and ghost mom (Raakhee Raakhee) steady friend Harsha (Raima Sen?) and loose-limbed and weak loverboy (Zayed Khan-ish) in a village in Bengal and … ok ok…the rest is silence.

Weekend of fun is over! Back to ishtudy.

O ri rani, gudiya
Jag Ja!

July 26, 2006

Taxing Times

Almost 27 years, and I still haven't figured out which side is left and which is right. However, that is only because I spend my time and energy on greater things. Like the British tax system. Here's how it works. Each year, they pick a number between 4000 and 5000. The only condition is that the number has to be higher than the previous year's. So last year's was 4890. This is where the fun begins.

  • Everyone in this free country is free to work freely and earn freely up to 4890 pounds a year.

  • If you earn one pound more than that, the taxman comes knocking. On an income of 4891 pounds, you pay a ten percent tax, so they take away 489.1 pounds. Had you earned one pound less, you would have 488 more pounds in your hands.

Ten percent is the lowest tax rung. If you earn much more, you pay a higher percentage. So if they keep taking away bigger chunks than they're handing out, here is what happens:

  • At 10,000 a year salary, they not only take all your money but also take away your car.

  • At 20,000 a year, they take away all the cars in your neighborhood.

  • At 50,000 a year, they allocate you to a soup kitchen van, where you can get slop twice a day.

  • At 150,000 a year, which some of our professors reportedly earn, they allow you to have marathons held to raise tax-free money to keep your body and soul together.

Prince Charles, Lakshmi Mittal, Tony Blair and all those solvent people you see in this country make 4890 a year. Either that, or HM Revenue and Customs owes me an explanation!

See how much simpler this is than left and right. It's right when nothing's left. Now the job's gone too!



Update: Umm. Apparently it does not work that way. It works the normal human being-y way. Well, it never hurts to let out the spleen I say... :P

July 24, 2006

Fricken Fricker

Looking forward to going back home, where people don't hurl abuses at me for being Indian.
Only for being a woman.

July 23, 2006

Book Bazaar

Under Waterloo Bridge: yes, the same
that was built by women in the War
(It's left to women: the building of bridges)
there is a book market of modest fame.
It draws a decent crowd most days; for
not everyone would rather spend at Selfridges.

Undaunted by tourists and skateboarders, the books
are laid out in rows on makeshift tables of wood.
No doubt some "customers" are thieving crooks,
but all said, done and pilfered, business is good.

An imaginative and unlabelled arrangement ensures
that "Les Miserables" is next to "Let's Manicure".

To be fair, though, a cardboard box is reserved
for "Poetry": home to half a dozen paperbacks.
"One Pound Or Less": and those hardly deserved.
(As much as the nearby café's coconut flapjacks)

I have passed by the book market many a day
(the women's bridge often cries tears of rain)
and when I have time for more than a peek
I imagine my tuppence book next to "Fourplay!"
and wonder if publishing is worth the pain.
I hear Selfridges has slashed its prices this week.

Accidental Photographic Genius (Or So I Am Told)

IceCream


"A Digital Camera Of One's Own": my upcoming book

July 21, 2006

IScream!!!!!

Against the wall of my residence hall a young mother stood her four year old daughter and three year old son last evening and spanked them soundly. They yelped like puppies as she alternately spanked them with practised art. In their grubby hands, the kids clutched ice-cream sticks; no doubt they had just finished a treat before fury was let loose upon them.

The ice cream sticks reminded me of an incident a week ago at Brighton, where a woman was wheeling a perambulator that contained her two year old darling boy. He had just been bought an ice cream cone, and was in the process of enjoying it, when suddenly, the cone slipped a bit and some ice cream smudged onto his right hand. I am sure it felt nice and cold, and the little fellow's reaction to the accident was most amusing. He decided to investigate the matter of the dirty right hand, and to lick it clean. For this purpose, he carefully set down his ice cream cone on his left thigh, the ice cream dribbling all over his pants, while he held his right hand  in his left and licked it clean. The mother did not notice this activity. Reminded me of the problem solving methods of my erstwhile corporate life.

Another ice cream incident that it bought to mind is from my childhood, when we saw a man bring his little daughter to the grocery store and buy her an orange bar. She was tiny, and unable to manoeuvre the thing correctly (I know many grown-ups who still cannot). In about two minutes, the orange bar fell to the ground. The man slapped her soundly in public and dragged her away. My Dad murmured something about cruelty, and the shopkeeper replied that the man did so every day! Some training that little girl was receiving.

And the last child-and-ice-cream story of all: when I was young enough to forget most details of my life beyond the preceding three months or so, I once said in righteous indignation to my bemused father: "Yesterday I did not have an ice cream and none today either?" He replied that it was not compulsory to have an ice cream everyday. My poor little heart could not take the shock! He actually implied that my existence did not automatically qualify me for an ice cream every day! How unfair is that!!!!!

Ok enough nonsense. Now everyone dig your nose into a tub of Ben and Jerry's. Dublin Mudslide for me please!

July 20, 2006

:-)

And it so happened that today at a bus stop near home, I saw a Black gentleman with a considerable potbelly, in a cream suit with black stripes, and a mauve shirt, wooden bead necklace, jooti-shaped faux crocodile skin cream shoes, and a cream straw hat, leaning against the bus post and whistling. Just that. At five on a hot July evening, a cool breeze appeared from nowhere and I felt what wendigo calls inner peace, and mom-in-law calls sukoon.

I am going to bawl like a baby when I have to leave London and the kind old Sikh uncles and aunties who work at Heathrow Terminal Four are going to have a tough time with me.

July 18, 2006

Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki?

I remember playing House with childhood friends. We'd have little dolls and a house for them, and each of us used to hold one doll and take up its part. With one friend, I took up Mamma doll, while she took up Papa doll. Early on in the game, it became evident that Papa doll was going to yell a lot and hit Mamma doll at every slight provocation. I was quite shocked, because neither my Mamma nor my Mamma doll would take a beating quietly. The game was clearly going nowhere and was abandoned.
I remember wondering then, as I wonder now, if her placid and almost painted-on-the-wall Dad hit her effervescent Mom. Perhaps one cannot judge, no matter how close you are to a family, what goes on behind closed doors. I know the family still, and I still wonder about the beating…

July 16, 2006

Parting Words

"Don't Miss Me, Be Mrs. Me!"

P.S. Back Soon

July 02, 2006

The Matricide

Today I was buying detergent after a long long time, and I browsed through the choices leisurely. Suddenly, I remembered a little incident.

When I was about five or six, and every new titbit of knowledge was laden with excitement, some girl in school confided in us: "If you want to kill your mummy, just feed her a little detergent."
This home remedy did not go down well with the group. "Hawjee! What a bad girl. How can she talk about killing her mother?" was the content of the buzz that went around instantly.
My first thought was: "My mother isn't stupid enough to be fooled into eating detergent! It tastes odd!"

The head. It is screwed on wrong.

June 29, 2006

A Moving Entry (Or A Moving Exit? Argh!)

Next to the house of God flows a river. The brown water is silt-y, not filthy, they insist. Across the river stretch the vertebrae of a metallic Gigantosaurus. Treading on them noisily, you reach the other side, where you see an erstwhile power station, which is now an art museum: the chimney meant to bellow out smoke now wearing a purple tiara, unless it is, as I have come to believe, a gigantic middle finger that Modern Art sticks out at its Seventeenth Century counterpart across the muddy waters. God-art and Machine-art attract Nikons/Canons with equal gusto, and make for good places to sell ice cream by.
Behind the art museum is a dumpy brown building that looks ashamed to be standing on the prime property it occupies, since its job description is not grandiose like its neighbours'. On the third floor, there is a room that is designed oddly, like the bit of cake left on the silver circle of cardboard when the candles have been blown out and everyone has been given a slice, and some people have even had second helpings, and nobody wants any more. The room has nine walls instead of the usual four, and the shower room attached to it has seven.
Outside the window is a building that has been under construction for over a year, and is still not quite done, although it is now abundantly clear that the glass monstrosity that is being built will look old the day it is inaugurated. That, and a patch of grass, and if you really, really lean to your left, a section of a railway bridge, completes the view.
This room I have called home for the last few months, and it is here that I am scraping Blu-Tac off the walls today, as I remove the posters (Van Gogh and an Archies Ganesha) that made the room mine. Bags of various sizes lie with their mouths agape, waiting to be filled with clothes, books, CDs, talcum powder, half-used packets of rice, and Septillin bottles full of spices, resourcefully packed into empty Pringles tubes.
I'll be in another, smaller place nearby, where nothing is as grand. The elephant close to it is not a patch on the gigantic art museum, and the castle is nothing compared to the house of God. The river that flows there is black, a sea of Black faces, and the black stroke of the Northern Line. It is a big step down from this place I've grown used to calling home (me and a bunch of students and a handful of millionaires). However, all is not lost… there is the furniture!
Nobody believes me when I tell them I came to London to see the furniture in the residence halls. A friend of mine got into the school the year before last, and told me the furniture was great. I thought that detail merited an application to a Masters programme. In case you're planning to study, you should apply here. The furniture rocks. No, actually it's quite stable.

Wendigo, you're right. My jokes suck. I'm going to cry by the riverside and flood London.

June 27, 2006

Guest Post Warning: Sound And Fury Ahead

This blog is very friendly and The Intended posts only photu-related stuff on his. Therefore, the following post is a guest entry: I take no responsibility for any damage, permanent or temporary, sustained by readers. (Not a very friendly gesture that.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

We live in an era of 160-letter-SMS-attention spans, so stylistic similarities to Hugo is the easiest way to non-readability.

On a lazy Sunday evening, a funny thought crossed my mind. What would be the result if we were to juxtapose the terseness of Shakespeare (sort of, for he wrote in verse – one could argue that so did Homer but let us be granted that verse is usually terse for the sake of argument) with verbosity of Hugo? Over two hundred years separate the two authors, and so we should not expect the authors themselves to have undertaken such an enterprise jointly. But since providence and printing press have connived to erase the eras that separate the two, by putting both their works in my hands, let me attempt it.

The plot for the following text was supplied by Shakespeare on which Hugo erects his grandiose edifice (we use the word plot here a little too literally for comfort).

Without much ado,
I present to you,
Monsieur Hugo’s Macbeth

We introduce Enjloras into the story a little abruptly, and in that he may be considered a digression, but the reader would pardon us for this parenthesis, which, as shall be seen, has a good reason for it. We have in our possession a letter that he addressed to Marquis de Champtercier; wealthy and avaricious old man, who contrived to be, at one and the same time, an ultra-royalist and an ultra-Voltairian, whose contents give us a startling insight into the ocular and oracular practices prevalent in the Paris of 1800s.

Enjolras that evening was restless; on what account, we do not know but we can guess with a reasonable degree of certainty, that nor did he. Such are the inner workings of the mind of a twenty year old. It takes little to upset the order, balance, poise, equilibrium of intellect at that dreamy age. The author, being long past that age, can offer no more conjectures. It occurred to Enjolras at that moment, that perhaps a quick walk would help him regain his composure. He put on his coat, tied a cravat about his neck, took his hat, and went out.

Once out of the house, he went to the Rue de Petit Banquier.

He had almost reached the middle of this street, near a very low wall which a man can easily step over at certain points, and which abuts on a waste space, and was walking slowly, in consequence of his preoccupied condition, and the snow deadened the sound of his steps; all at once he heard voices talking very close by. He turned his head, the street was deserted, there was not a soul in it, it was broad daylight, and yet he distinctly heard voices.

It occurred to him to glance over the wall which he was skirting.


There, in fact, sat three personages, flat on the snow, with their backs against the wall, talking together in subdued tones. What followed next is known to us through the account presented by Enjloras in the aforementioned letter. The first thing that he learned from their voices, although he hadn’t yet picked a single word that he could distinctly comprehend, was that those personages were in fact women. They were clothed in black, with a guimpe, which, in accordance with the prevalent norms of certain orders in the Parisian society at that time, mounted to the chin. A robe of serge with large sleeves, a large woollen veil, the guimpe which mounted to the chin cut square on the breast, the band which descends over their brow to their eyes,--this was their dress.

We know now, from this very vivid sketch his words drew in the letter that these women were a lot more. They were witches of the dark order of Orephia.

They spoke argot.

Argot is the language of the dark. Thought is moved in its most sombre depths, social philosophy is bidden to its most poignant meditations, in the presence of that enigmatic dialect at once so blighted and rebellious. Therein lies chastisement made visible. Every syllable has an air of being marked. The words of the vulgar tongue appear therein wrinkled and shrivelled, as it were, beneath the hot iron of the executioner. Some seem to be still smoking. Such and such a phrase produces upon you the effect of the shoulder of a thief branded with the fleur-de-lys, which has suddenly been laid bare. Ideas almost refuse to be expressed in these substantives which are fugitives from justice. Metaphor is sometimes so shameless, that one feels that it has worn the iron neck-fetter.

That it was Enjloras who stood there at this moment, we owe to providence. For Enjloras, though not adroit with argot, knew enough of the patois of Orephia, for him to divine snatches of the conversation that transpired between the trinity of crones.

The women were at that point discussing a propitious moment for their next rendezvous. Enjloras gathered they had a strange predilection for tumultuous weather phenomenon – for he clearly heard these words pronounced in that dark tongue - mirlababi*, surlababo, mirlition. The first witch, who spoke these words, said them with such a measure of confidence that Enjloras wondered if she was capable of summoning a storm at will.


*Thunder
Lightening
Rain




Of course this would then be followed by a long and winding prose on:

When the hurly-burly’s done
When the battle’s lost and won

And since the couplet concerns a battle, inadvertently, we’ll be taken to the Plateau of Mont Saint Jean, to witness that grand struggle between Bonaparte and Wellington.

-- written sometime in 2006 by an Indian inspired by an original work of an English bard in English and a classic English translation of a French author’s French novel by an English knowing friend of his.

p.s. certain sentences in the above text (in blue) were copied verbatim from Isabel F. Hapgood’s translation of Les Misérables (which can be downloaded from project Gutenberg), a few words come from a translation by Charles E Wilbour, the remainder we owe to the Indian author’s fecund imagination. If you are feeling inclined to reading Les Misérables, and your knowledge of French precludes you from venturing anywhere near the original, I highly recommend Charles E Wilbour’s classic (and somewhat tedious) English translation of the text. The gentleman was a friend of Hugo, and managed to publish his translation in the same year as the original was published in France. Available in a beautifully bound edition in Everyman’s Library, this is as close as you can get to the real thing.

June 25, 2006

A Prayer (And The Unbearable Weight Of Memory)

Aye maalik tere bande hum, aise hon hamaare karam
neki par chalein, aaur badi se talein, taaki hanste hue nikale dum

ye andheraa ghanaa chhaa rahaa, teraa insaan ghabaraa rahaa
ho rahaa bekhabar, kuchh naa aataa nazar, sukh kaa sooraj chhoopaa jaa rahaa
hai teree roshanee mein jo dam, tu amaawas ko kar de poonam
neki par chalein, aaur badi se talein, taaki hanste hue nikale dum

badaa kamazor hain aadamee, abhee laakhon hain is mein kamee
par tu jo khadaa, hai dayaaloo badaa, teree kirpaa se dharatee thamee
diyaa toone humein jab janam, tu hi jhelegaa hum sab ke gham
neki par chalein, aaur badi se talein, taaki hanste hue nikale dum

jab zulmon kaa ho saamanaa, tab tu hi humein thaamanaa
wo buraee kare, hum bhalaaee bhare, nahin badale kee ho kaamanaa
badh uthhe pyaar kaa har kadam aaur mite bair kaa ye bharam
neki par chalein, aaur badi se talein, taaki hanste hue nikale dum

June 23, 2006

Determined To Give Up Saintliness

Me: So now I'll go make dinner. Boil my three color pasta in one pan, and in the other, stir fry onions and capsicum and carrots and broccoli, add salt and cook, and add pasta sauce, a little cheese, pepper, the pasta, and oregano.
She: Ok.
Me: Ok? OK? Are you not drooling?
She: No. Such food does not make me drool.
Me: What makes you drool? Moong and Masoor Daal?
She: Yes.
Me (to myself): That is the reason I left home.

My mom is not impressed that I am cooking and eating healthy things. So I'm just becoming a drunk punk; let me have some fun at least.

P.S. Healthy food can be tasty. There are some leftovers in the fridge. Once I'm a drunk punk, I'm not gonna need them. Kitchen 4, Third floor. Help yourself.

June 21, 2006

The darkness of the music of the night

Close your eyes for your eyes will only tell the truth
And the truth isn't what you want to see.
In the dark it is easy to pretend
That the truth is what it ought to be.

- Charles Hart(?) for Lloyd Webber

June 18, 2006

Melted Brainhood

And in about twelve hours I will click my pen shut and vigorously tap it against the table in the examination hall with the pitpitpitpitpitpitpit sound that the bubbles in the coke can on my table are making, beating against aluminium walls in their impatience to be free from high-pressure captivity and dissolve into thin air. If some monster dare swallow me on my way out, I will emerge as a burp, but I will have my freedom!

June 17, 2006

London: The School Of Economics

"Nahin yaar, maine usey kal ke liye nahin bulaya hai, uske parents paise nahin dete use. 10 pound to entry hai, kabhi kabhi use 5 pound de dete hain McDonalds ke liye, 20 ki hoon kehti hai saali 17 ki hai, and it is not even like I have banged her yet….koi sense nahin banti yaar itna paisa uspe waste karney mein…"

Overheard by the riverside today.

June 16, 2006

View As Slideshow

My parents captured my childhood in a camera, and got slides made, because the clicking was plentiful (firstborn etc.) and prints were prohibitively expensive. The slides were stored in cute little paper or plastic boxes, their ends labeled with multicolor insulation tape by my parents to signify which set of pictures each slide belonged to. Dad had a slide projector and a projection screen (which had rust marks all along its back because of the two metallic ends). Every once in a while, a slide show used to be organized where the whole family sat in the living room, the screen was brought out and put up (for a longish time the rolled screen held like a stick was about as tall as me), all lights were switched off, and the magic began. Dad inserted a slide into the projector (which let out heat and light from its top) and a huge picture of a grinning baby overwhelmed the audience, which made cutesy noises, and if the audience happened to be my mother, squished me into a ball in her overzealous cuddle.

Meanwhile, Dad held the next slide against the light coming out of the top of the projector, to check which way the next slide needed to be inserted (for all their passion for all things photographic, Mahatta Studios did not always label "Insert this side" correctly). I am sure that in the two seconds before he began work on the next slide, Dad looked up and beamed at the picture; at least half his love lay in seeing the pictures and not playing with the technology (Who said something about women falling for who are like their father? Woe! Woe! Woe!)

Phhhhhhbbbbbt! We were talking about images overwhelming the audience. It was amazing. Much better than going through a picture album together. Each picture usually has a story attached to it, and its repetition at each viewing concretizes a history of one's early life for oneself. All the hugging that happens is also phenomenal for bringing the family close together. Baby sis had her set of slides as well, and I have to confess she looks way beyond adorable: she looks edible.

The whirring of the projector and the funny smell of the slides return to me as I type this. The projector bulb went kaput many years ago, and the slides were relegated to a cupboard somewhere. Once every few years, they were held up against the light to see a miniscule version of what they were intended to represent.
And then one fine day the nice people back home got a CD made! Hooray! The big TV is a decent replacement for the projector screen, and the magic of community awwwwwing is back! Am dying to return home and see all the pictures with everyone.

The slide-turned-digital image here reminds me of a doting grandmother I only faintly remember, a house that I remember all wrong factually, a cross dressing phase that I have completely forgotten, a domestication that I have mixed feelings about, and cheeks (and a chubby forehead!) that I ought to have lost on my journey to adulthood.

June 15, 2006

Off For The Painultimate Time

And then this morning I saw a dream where the Director of the Gender Institute was trying to inoculate me against exam stress by jabbing a needle into my bum, except at the end of the needle was smouldering  jadi-booti!
They're telling me the madness will subside when the exams are over. For now, my best hope is to believe them.

June 13, 2006

2006: A Love/Hate Story

It was about seven years ago that I first met him. I was a bright-eyed teenager and he was this mysterious stranger who spoke in riddles and bid me close my eyes and believe in things that I could never have imagined to be true. Who was I to keep such company, when I did not know my nose from my toes? My awkward attempts at an interaction were half-hearted and futile, and were soon given up.

I had forgotten all about him till I landed in London, where I was introduced to him again. He's more often in London than he's in India, probably because his home in France is just across the channel. I blushed to remember the gawky teenager who'd dared to strike up a conversation many years ago, and vowed to steer clear of him. He still talked in riddles, it is not for the French to talk straight in any case, and he is not quite straight himself. I was deft of foot, and turned a corner or merged into the background when I saw him coming. But he was smarter. He showed up everywhere I went. Soon, there was no place I could hide. When I feigned indifference, he got me through my friend. He sent me messages through wendigo, and, after a while, I started responding to them. Why would this mysterious man want me, I wondered. What good is one half-baked soul to a man who has wooed and wedded many, much nobler ones? But he continued.

Today was the day of reckoning for this uneasy relationship. I thought about him for the last few days on the sly, pretending all the while I was doing something else. And when I met three of his friends today (no friends of mine, these, I assure you), all I could do was blabber incoherently about how besotted I was with him.

I am disciplined and punished. Foucault got me in the end.

Aside: We had three hours to write three essays in today's exam. Pretty lenient for Delhi University examination monkeys like me. But my Norwegian classmate is used to answering one question based on everything she's studied through the whole course in an 8-hour exam! Anybody wanting to be funding a PhD on international examination systems?

June 11, 2006

Quite the Exammed Out Moron

Last night when I seen
The prettiest moon that ever was
I wonderful happy been
For no other reason, just because

The sun he shine so bright today
He take that pretty moon away
But I ain't taking no big fright
There will be another moon tonight

Title Courtesy: Wendigo

June 06, 2006

Feedback

Received feedback on one of my Easter break essays today. Had got the marks earlier, and they were pretty good: "this candidate is capable of undertaking PhD work" grade, and frankly, if there were a handful of marks more, I cannot say I wouldn't be tempted to.

The feedback, however is a completely different story. There are two words of appreciation, and a systematic dismantling of everything I had thought, said, or deduced since the day I was born. My analysis was well presented, but it was well presented tripe. Well presented cowdung. Well presented horsepiss. My lame assumptions, uneducated analyses and trivial conclusions were all well presented. But they threw a great many marks at me. After all, presentation is everything.

I checked up the anonymous list of scores, and I am pretty high up on it. Which makes me wonder. How about people who got ten percent less than I did? Would they have missed out on the presentation? What must their feedback be? "Your analysis of hyperventialtive Foucauldian power in a post-post-post-capitalist patheticocracy opens up new paradigms of thought for a generation of intellectuals and dismantles everything the academia has held sacred so far, but shouldn't you pay attention to adding subheadings for clarity and following the essay skeleton laid out in the guidelines? I mean, C'mon, presentation is everything!"

How about people who flunked? I suspect theirs read: "Your dog, who undoubtedly wrote this piece, ate half the guidelines book, and this lack is evident in the sudden disappearance of structure from your essay. The points about woof woof woof are relevant, but the analysis of Hamerbas needs barking…er… breaking up into subsections. We are terribly sorry but you shall have to submit this essay again. This time, ask your cat to write it."

And how about the people whose marks shot through the roof and condemned them to a PhD? "Piggy poo matrix with a cherry on top! Wanna teach?"

Ok. Enough. Back to studying.

P.S. All of London is topless.

June 04, 2006

Signifying Everything

A latter day player of tragedies: Macbeth and his lady incorporate in one body, I carelessly dangle the dagger before mine eyes. Glamis I am, and Cawdor, but wasn't that decreed before the witches cackled? With one clean wound, I shall be what I am promised, but the face of the trusting sleeper doth too much resemble my father's, and rightly so. Shall I make the multitudinous seas incardine incarnadine because of the drunken crone's prophesy? Or shall I stay and let fate fulfill itself? 'Tis to no avail that I have learnt this day to pay little heed to hags, for whoever wields the dagger, the sleeper is doomed, and witches do not prophesy to the dead.

June 02, 2006

June 3, 2005 to June 3, 2006

THE ANNIVERSARY.
by John Donne

ALL kings, and all their favourites,
All glory of honours, beauties, wits,
The sun it self, which makes time, as they pass,
Is elder by a year now than it was
When thou and I first one another saw.
All other things to their destruction draw,
Only our love hath no decay ;
This no to-morrow hath, nor yesterday ;
Running it never runs from us away,
But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day.

Two graves must hide thine and my corse ;
If one might, death were no divorce.
Alas ! as well as other princes, we
—Who prince enough in one another be—
Must leave at last in death these eyes and ears,
Oft fed with true oaths, and with sweet salt tears ;
But souls where nothing dwells but love
—All other thoughts being inmates—then shall prove
This or a love increasèd there above,
When bodies to their graves, souls from their graves remove.

And then we shall be throughly blest ;
But now no more than all the rest.
Here upon earth we're kings, and none but we
Can be such kings, nor of such subjects be.
Who is so safe as we? where none can do
Treason to us, except one of us two.
True and false fears let us refrain,
Let us love nobly, and live, and add again
Years and years unto years, till we attain
To write threescore ; this is the second of our reign.

(Some people's prince charming type characters ride into their lives on white steeds, mine came by taxi - airplane - taxi - autorickshaw - autorickshaw - autorickshaw, quite melted and befuddled, on a horrible summer day in June.)

May 31, 2006

The One Where Bill Kills Everyone

Off to see Titus Andronicus in a fit of rage that has made me murderous all day, and the object of my mis-affection safe in only being hundreds of miles away.

By S. Clarke Hulse's count, Titus Andronicus is a play with "14 killings, 9 of them on stage, 6 severed members, 1 rape (or 2 or 3, depending on how you count), 1 live burial, 1 case of insanity and 1 of cannibalism--an average of 5.2 atrocities per act, or one for every 97 lines." Reviewer Mike Gene Wallace adds, "This is a great play. We're talking fourteen dead bodies, kung-fu, sword-fu, spear-fu, dagger-fu, arrow-fu, pie-fu, animal screams on the soundtrack, heads roll, hands roll, tongues roll, nine and a half quarts of blood, and a record-breaking 94 on the vomit meter." Really, there's not much more to say; that is the essence of the play. Titus Andronicus is a non-stop potboiler catalog of abominations (with the poetry itself counted as a crime by many critics). Source

If Aristotle was right, this should lead to catharsis. Or else, a life is in grave danger.

Study Leave Checklist

1. Woke up late despite not having studied at night, only walking along the river: Check
2. Ate big breakfast to ensure I remain sleepy all day: Check
3. Spent the morning closely reading two mails, one from Dad and one from the Guardian News Service: Check
4. Personally checked if any of the blogs I have ever read have been updated: Check
5. Bunked study group meeting and did not make presentation, thereby making sure everyone in my class hates me: Check
6. Punished the feeonsay severely for being who he is: Check (and then some)
7. Had long hot water shower with half my hair going down the drain: Check
8. Shed two tears, one of which was for hair: Check
9. Dawdled between two books unable to choose which one to read: Check
10. Fantasized about Veggie sandwich for lunch: Check
11: Realized how pathetic it was to fantasize about Veggie sandwiches: Check
12: Confirmed that no other blogs updated in the meantime: Check
13: Decided to update mine: Check

May 26, 2006

Review By Telegram

ARE YOU GOING FOR FANAA STOP  

May 25, 2006

Overheard in the Elevator

Cojoined Conjoined Laila Majnu. Laila sifting through jhola looking for something.
Laila: Oh my God this is so not cool……..Oh, it is cool. It is cool……..Oh NO! NOT COOL…….Wait. it's cool. Yeah. Cool. (Triumphantly pulls out room keys)
Majnu: Is it cool?
Laila: Yeah. It's cool. It's cool.

May 24, 2006

Cannot Ishtudy

Words are dancing all over the pages
But not because I am like… drunk
And deep in sleep lie the personages
Thoughts of whom are being thunk





May 21, 2006

Up, Up, and Away

Last night in my dream, I saw a trampoline
Tramp Tramp Trampoline
Trampoline Trampoline
Tramp Tramp Trampoline
Trampo Trampoline

(If you don't know CBeeBies, you're free to think I'm suicidal)

May 18, 2006

Newsflash

London came under terrorist attack this morning. Three hundred and sixty five Indians aboard a flight from Delhi decided to bombard Central London with a strange substance that caused the city dwellers to cough, sneeze, rub their eyes raw, and wish they had never been born. Samples were collected and the MI6 has found that the lethal weapon was a traditional Indian sweet packed by Haldiram's, and commonly referred to as Soan Papdi. In the mouth, it tastes like ghee and besan needles, but in the eyes, nose, and throat, its flakes can cause damage such as inability to see the traffic signal while crossing the road, sneezing fits on first dates, and coughing up breakfast and lunch. Also, women who lovingly washed their hair in the morning were aghast to find the weapons of mass destruction entangled in their hair on returning to their rooms.

The three hundred and sixty five Indians, who demanded to be named but whose names could not be spelt, have said that they are innocent and their mandatory Soan Papdi packets are intact in their VIP suitcases. They accused the British authorities of insanity, saying that anyone who has no hope of going to India soon would never throw away his or her precious Soan Papdi, even if it would kill of half the Londoners and make queues at "Marks and Spencer Simply Food" shorter.

In unrelated developments, the plane tree that beautified winter London with its nakedness is now unleashing cute little furry brown darts that are flying all over the city and settling on every potential surface to make cushions for people whose sneezing fits make them fall down.

Revision

I'm preparing for my exams these days. Here are the preparations so far:

1. Have regularized my sleep pattern. This is the key to concentration. I have concentrated my waking hours to about two and a half in the day time and three in the night time. Nineteen and a half hours are for recharging my batteries and dreaming about question papers with paper flowers stuck on them (drama in real life).
2. Have designed and circulated a calculator that shall allow me and my classmates to decide how much to study for the exam to pass the course, given that our essay scores contribute to the overall score. Since other people are ambitious, the calculator also tells them how much they need to study for a merit and a distinction.
3. Have covered all the topics that were taught throughout the year. They are either on last week's list of "Potential topics for exam revision" or on yesterday's, or on today's. No topic can claim to have not been considered and rejected.
4. Have bought sachets of Double Chocolate Mocha. Have tested one and it is good before bedtime for long and deep sleep.
5. Have been a silent witness to group study sessions, thereby ascertaining that my classmates are so far ahead of me that I might as well give up the beaten track of study-and-write, and think of creative approaches to tackle the paper. Sticking paper flowers is not beyond me.

May 13, 2006

Cross Border Firing

So the Bangladeshi lady across the paper boards that the Brits call indoor walls occasionally plays Kumar Sanu songs full volume. Nothing about those songs is recognizable - movie, music director, cast - except the buffalo-cious bellowing of the Bong bullfrog (patented). Sometimes (usually) I am in bed and all I need to do is to wrap my pillow around my ears and go back to sleep. Some other times, I am pissed enough to retaliate by putting on some better music (Sardari Begum/Swades/Arth/Yuva mostly) at an even louder volume to make my point. The firing either stops or turns to angrezi rap music which gives me indigestion on any given day. The biggest revenge I have taken so far is leave "Andey ka Fundaa" on loop and gone and cooked, eaten and washed up after dinner, knowing full well she was in her room all along.

There was her "Kabhi Kabhi and Silsila phase, which was ok for a bit, but she took to looping (most original!) and that got on my nerves. I countered her love ballads with Mughal-e-Azam's qawwali "Teri mehfil mein qismat aazmaa kar hum bhi dekhenge" and that was an ace which sent her scurrying for good songs. Some attempts later, she was back to Silisla, and I let her work off that phase.

These days she's been on the phone perpetually, and laughing her hyena laugh, and not listening to so much music. But as I type this, "teri mehfil" is playing on her comp! Finally! I win!

Which brings me to the other thing:

"Teri mehfil mein qismat aazmaa kar hum bhi dekhenge
ghadi bhar ko tere nazdeeq aakar hum bhi dekhenge."

"Teri mehfil mein qismat aazmaa kar hum bhi dekhenge
Tere qadmon mein sar apna jhukaa kar hum bhi dekhenge."

Which one fits your definition of love? Or is there a third you wanna write?

May 09, 2006

In Which I Jeopardize My Impending Marriage

Being in a relationship with me is very simple. I need to be woken up with a phone call every morning, where I will mumble something about having slept really late and not expect to be understood, much less replied to. Once during the day, I need talking to, where I will nicely (or not-so-nicely depending on various factors) listen to anything that is told to me, and ask a hundred questions (which are of no significance and are repeated day after day, so in a week one can answer them without reading the whole sentence). Also, I will crib about something in the near or distant future that is worrying me (it's just my way of keeping happiness at arm's length). For this, a macro can be written, and pressing Ctrl+Q will type out the reply "Kyun chinta kartey ho? Live for the present. We will worry about tomorrow, tomorrow." That is also the best way of getting rid of me, because after a round of verbal and physical abuse, I shall grant permission to leave. Not that it is needed, because I can be trained to be ok with being two-timed, three-timed, zillion-timed with any other activities that need the attention of busy and important people. At night, one more template SMS about sweet dreams and world peace will temporarily placate my anger, and I shall go to bed sooner or later.

Being me, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. How the hell would I live from day to day if I did not worry about everything in the world? Being happy ain't enuff, dude!

May 04, 2006

Vacation Log

Escaped from the tourist deluge for a bit and where else should I go but the Lake District, and specially to Ullswater, where Will Wordy spotted his precious daffydills. Can't really blame the man for his verbal diarrhoea anymore: he must have been constantly doped without opium (unlike his friend Sammy) just because of the sheer beauty of the place. Himalayan goats like us can never be overawed by firangi mountains, but Delhi-ites like us go into raptures at the sight of water bodies. And the English ability to not only maintain pristine beauty but to heavily capitalize on it makes the experience truly post-cardy.

Did not have a camera, so no pics. Was nice in a way, after multiple instances of shutter-crazy travel company. Am sure there's a middle path that the world is missing out completely.

Have also spent lotsa time with my baby niece, and have appropriated her chocolates and toys and brought them back with me. Have phantoms of nursery songs floating in my head, and the indelible picture of a three year old in pink pajamas doing wee-wee in the living room on her little blue throne, playing the guitar on a plastic racquet and singing "ay ay yippe yippe ay" in a cherubic voice. How adorable children are! And how grateful I am they are nowhere near me!

April 29, 2006

The Deluge

Living in London, though it has totally burst the Wordsworth bubble, has made me realize that Eliot was right. April is the cruelest month. Up until the end of March, most things are alright, everyone in his or her proper place, but come April, everyone in the world packs a bag (or ten) and decides to come to London. People who have been trotting the globe have covered everything else in other months, but left London for April. People who have not gotten up from their beds for ten months (and have chips and cookie bits and tea cups from December in the vicinity of the locus of their laziness) have arisen, dusted off the chip and cookie bits, stepped on a teacup and crushed it, sworn, and come to London.

The media is keeping track of this activity. From "Trains dump toilet waste on the tracks" (that's news?) to "No Tourist in Souvenir Shop for Fifteen Minutes: Blair Launches Enquiry", the grubby hands of journos are on the pulse of the city.

It's supposed to be the city's "spring/summer collection". One chap spots a three-square inch patch of sunlight in Central London, writes about it to his friends, and set off a reaction that might be labeled nuclear. Net result: London is full. It might be useful for researchers who want to get their research right by asking their question to "every human being alive on April 29, 2006 AD" to stand near the London Eye queue from morning 11:59am to night 3:00pm (the Eye's operating hours) and ask everyone personally. For residents like us though, all the more territorial because we are temporary squatters and refuse to acknowledge it, it is a royal pain in arse (you have not lived if you haven't had the pleasure of hearing a Brit say that aloud, but if you are alive, you're probably in London right now, and that Brit there is totally thinking this about you, even if he's not saying it out of politeness).

My question is, where are these people living? Is every other building sheltering innumerable map bearers in funny blue, red and white hats? My other question is, what are these millions of cameras clicking? "And here's from this April's trip to London: That person behind those Japanese tourist is my wife Joan. That thing behind the Indian family is the Globe theatre. Cool angle, huh? I took it before I got up from the ground when that Spanish group knocked me down!" Though nobody's answering, my other question is: why with children? We have no food for them that is healthy! And really, the wheels of that perambulator make a terrible noise on the Millennium Bridge! And the final question: Can you see anyone, absolutely anyone, who is NOT wearing a funny hat and is eating those roadside caramelled peanuts? Do you understand the significance? Are you supposed to eat them? Good.

We central Londoners (note how absence of megabucks in the bank make this statement farcical) can forget about peace and quiet and sunny picnics in the parks. Looking around, I notice there are no other Central Londoners complaining! Where are they? Off to Australia to hug the cold? Or selling caramelled peanuts in some other corner of the city?

Tomorrow's headline: "Heathrow Terminal 400 Open. World Finally Ready For More Kids."

April 27, 2006

Daffydils Are Not The Only Flower

Stupid daffodils live for exactly 15 days!. They look like de-odorized narcissi that ate too much junk food, and got fat and wobbly, and died prematurely. I am as disappointed in them as I have always been in the verbose man who loved them, and forced them down our throats since we were kids. Never trust a man who writes a prelude to an epic and then realises the prelude is an epic in itself. Here’s my double revenge against Will Wordy and his stupid yellow friends:

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
(All the while blabbering aloud)
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
(And, like me, with precipitation kills)
When all at once I saw a crowd,
(Their protest against me was loud)
A host, of golden daffodils;
(En-jaundicing fields and window sills)
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
(Like me, causing universal unease)
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
(Bringing the audience to its knees)
Continuous as the stars that shine
(Invoking much exasperation Divine)
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
(Speaking so much with nothing to say)
They stretch'd in never-ending line
(Much like the poetry I call mine)
Along the margin of a bay:
(Killing a hundred students everyday)
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
(Not one of them has the slightest chance)
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
(And writing suicide notes in advance)
The waves beside them danced; but they
(Are loud enough to drown my lay)
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
(At having successfully ignored me)
A poet could not but be gay,
(And write an epic from March to May)
In such a jocund company:
(Here even rhyme forsaketh me)
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
(And hence my verse is ill-begot)
What wealth the show to me had brought:
(And chiefly of verbal diarrhoea wrought)
For oft, when on my couch I lie
(And dream of paper molested by dye)
In vacant or in pensive mood,
(One that never did anyone good)
They flash upon that inward eye
(The blind one that nothing doth espy)
Which is the bliss of solitude;
(And, may I add, annoyingly rude)
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
(And from these pages the ink then spills)
And dances with the daffodils.
(And murders people against their wills)

- Begun 1804. Completely Finished 2006.

April 25, 2006

A life in the day of wendigo and me

11 something am. Both of us have cornflakes boxes in our rooms. The communal yogurt and honey are in my fridge and room respectively. My bowl is in wendigo's room. Four floors above mine.

She: Come up with dahi and honey.
Me: come down with bowl.
She: I am studying, come up.
Me: I am e-dating, come down!
She: Ok. You win. Coming down.
(They do not move.)
She: I made a map of maps! Come see! Get honey and dahi!
Me: I am working at naukri. Come down with bowl.
She: Ok. You win. Coming down.
(They do not move.)
She: My parents are interrogating me about my future
Me: you win. Coming up with dahi, honey, and all my love!
(They do not move)
She: Astrologer says I won’t find a guy before October 2007
Me: Coming. Now!
(I move)

April 21, 2006

Chastisement For A Proud And Flawed Pink Zinnia

Careless smudge of Heavenly hand
You blot of pink on canvas green
By all but one passer by unseen
Yet now the beloved of the land

You smile brightly, but you mistook
Chance for a more deserved fate
Who would ever think you great
Had one not stopped by to look?

Law of Economics

Being where I am, it was sure to happen one day. I have become an economic policymaker. It's just oozing out of the crevices in the walls and puddling up on the floor, so I must've stepped into it. Here's my share of economic genius. In Hindi:

Jo mann chaahe khareedo. Bas dhyan rakho ki woh kulhaadi-pateela-chhanni nahin hai.

In English:

Buy what you want, just take care it's not axe-pan-sieve.

For details of the theory, buy my soon-to-be-published work: Bheekonomics


April 20, 2006

The Stone Collector

Went to Dover yesterday and found the smooth rounded pebbles on the shore most fascinating. They were patterned most exquisitely. Wendigo was maha-amused at my obsession and took this pic. Centered my giddy spiral of a head quite nicely, methinks. My first photo as a grown up (?) on this blog!

TheStoneCollector

P.S. The red bit is not my coat's kinky lining. It's my jhola. Pic of one pebble here.

April 18, 2006

Picnic in Dover Tomorrow

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

April 16, 2006

A A B A D C#'

Mere saajan hain us paar
Main mann maar
Hoon is paar
Woe mere maajhi!

Atyaachaar
Just cut it yaar!

In other news, I need one shrink (I also need to shrink, hehe)


Update: menaredogs menaredogs

April 15, 2006

And...Show

When they say they did it "for your own good", on being confronted with charges of years of lies and deceit, what they really mean is that they did it "for their own good." Someone making you believe certain things does not lead you to become happy and confident, for it often seems too far fetched anyways. However, it keeps your conduct in line. Once the false gospel has been preached, you had better be converted, and show all outward signs of having believed. It makes life much easier for them, having swept your suffering under a carpet which they never lift, but which suffocates you to death invisibly.
And then one day the game is up and when they show you their cards, you realize that all your childhood, you have brought up happy and well balanced parents.  

April 14, 2006

To Be Or Not To Be?

I have written an essay about disability for my end-of-term submission, and I've repeatedly come across versions of this statement in the reference literature:

"To decide to terminate a pregnancy if you find out the foetus is likely to be disabled is to tell the disabled people of the world that you wish they did not exist."

To be able to grasp this statement in its entirety, one first needs to wade through the abortion debate. If one agrees that abortion is a right that should be awarded to willing candidates, one needs to think what criteria should determine when abortion is ok. Who decides whether it is better not to carry a particular pregnancy to full term? When does "the gift of life" become the "curse of life" for the child or the mother, and who is to determine the fine line between a gift and a curse?

A parallel question is: what is disability? Is there a sharp line between the disabled and the able, or is it a continuum, for example from the school football star to the kid who needs to rest after half an hour of exercise, to the kid who is excused from sports because of a weak heart, to the kid with polio in one leg, to the kid in a wheelchair?

If one passes through these discussions, the next question is: does aborting a disabled foetus mean you are not sympathetic to the disabled and you do not admire their positive attitude to life? I am not sure this is quite true. On the other hand, if I hear someone say "I'd rather die than be fat", it hurts me immensely as a fat person. Further along the continuum of disability, the earnest desire of people to be unlike you definitely causes more severe psychological damage.

Some would say this is not an issue to be discussed theoretically. I would say "What would YOU do if you discovered that your unborn child was likely to be disabled, however you choose to define that term?"

Anonymous comments are enabled for this post, in case you'd like to remain unnamed. Please do not waste your time ranting against me: if you read carefully, I have not taken any stance. Thanks for your time.

April 13, 2006

Still Nothing

And then at Gloucester Road station, four chatty young women got on to the Circle Line tube, all friends, every one different, and each the heroine of a different genre of fiction.

This headache will yank my left eye out. I wonder if it's possible. Maybe I've been watching too many cartoons.

April 12, 2006

Nothings

Delhi looked like it had stopped still waiting for me to come back; nothing was new except the arrival of Costa Coffee, in a move to woo me back, I suspect. London did not even notice I was away for a bit: it is overrun with daffodils, and new food places dot my daily route, and it is daylight for like forever, and all this in a very little while. Lesson: Missing people, putting life on hold for them, and trying to change yourself into what they like ain't no good, for they don't value it after all.

***
The Bangladeshi kid from Wales across the paper thin walls that divide our rooms should either explain to me why she feels compelled to laugh like a hyena, or should stop doing so. Nothing in the world can justify laughing like a hyena, even for hyenas. There are a million ways to be happy without making your neighbours across paper walls type furiously while green smoke emerges from their ears.

***
Touchdown at Indira Gandhi International airport felt like coming home in a teary-eyed sort of way. Touchdown at Heathrow felt like coming home in an idiotic grin kind of way. I have either many homes or none. Does a nine-hour flight after a life-altering fortnight qualify for jet lag-type concessions to oneself? My shoulders are throbbing in pain, and my cheeks are climbing up my face to shut my eyes.
I'm very, very tired. I think I'll rest awhile.


April 05, 2006

Quite Grateful, I Assure You

Such a clear signal from outer space, all those green one-eyed people have the same thing to say:
"We Hope You Know What An Exceptionally Wonderful Thing You Have Here And How Likely You Are To Screw It Up By Being Yourself."
Beginning to scrape the cement out of my former accommodation on floor 2.5 (completely coincidental, wendigo, I assure you) with my little finger (the one with the fast-growing nail), and planning to kneel there to thank Heaven for what I have: the one or two people who do not think I am the world's luckiest dog.

Correction: It is floor 1.5 (before the child who remembers everything wakes up and corrects me). Haven't been to that building in a while, forgive my fading memory.

April 01, 2006

Biographical Mushy Casual

So this evening I was lying in bed listening to the buzz in the living room. My dad was fiddling with his brand new digital camera bought with the approval of a boy who was showing off his favorite computer game to my sister, while my mother hovered about him asking what snack she should cook for him.

Nobody knew I was missing, and I smiled to myself, knowing I was home, and, having provided a (much better) replacement for myself, was completely redundant in a most amazing way. The throne of spoilt pampered kid in this house has been usurped.

Two days later, the band around my finger feels like it's been there forever, and I've had to use my word-of-the-month about once:

Fee-on-say: Noun (Proper. Not Common). The Lord of the Ring.
Used in a sentence: The fee-on-say hates Delhi.

March 28, 2006

Split Wide Open

Can't remember London except as a vague dream. The smell of sweat and roasting jeera and the sound of horns blaring are the package called Delhi. London will never know the adrenalin rush of speeding through a yellow light at a busy intersection. And Delhi will never know why in God's name the yellow signal actually exists.

Changing cities is changing lives. And, in Delhi, crossing the road without looking just because there's a zebra crossing is changing life for death.

March 22, 2006

Kya Bataoon Maa Kahaan Hoon Main...

...yahan udne ko mere liye
Khula aasmaan hai
Tere kisson jaisa bhola
Salona jahaan hai yahan sapnon waala

Mommy

Me flying home to Mummy for the vacations tomorrow. Too sleep deprived to post these days, with Lent term essays and Cambridge et al. Will be back to blogging soon.

March 19, 2006

:-)

...Love, we are in God’s hand.
How strange now, looks the life he makes us lead;
So free we seem, so fettered fast we are!
I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie!

Robert Browning in Andrea Del Sarto

March 16, 2006

As You Like It

And the following draw to a close:

- The Royal Shakespeare Company's London Season (Super!)
- The best part of my entertainment budget (12 plays! woohoo!)
- Six months of my stay in the UK (I want my Mummy!)
- The final taught term of my course (Whatever)
- My patience with the winters (Brrrrrruddy Hell!)

March 14, 2006

Dyer Consequences

The school newspaper comes out every Tuesday, and prides itself on its tabloid-itude. Student union elections were held last week, and the paper carried a sarcastic report today. Many candidates had, as part of their election promises, vowed to have more drinking water facilities on campus (I know of one water fountain and I've been here six months.) So a scathing snippet in the paper said that with so many people wanting drinking water facilities, the school had decided to dig some wells and let students harvest their own drinking water from them. The text was accompanied by the picture of an Indian girl who had contested the elections.

The girl was shown standing in a well.

Now the paper routinely pisses me off with its sexism and occasional racism. But this time, it hit a very raw nerve. Any Indian looking at the picture of a woman in a well is carrying far too much historical baggage to be able to smile and turn the page. The Jalianwalah Bagh incident, for me, repeatedly evokes not just anger at the cold blooded murder that happened on one day in history, but provokes the rage at centuries of culture that consider the forceful ravishment of a woman as fate deserving of her death. Having seen Khamosh Pani at a Pakistan Society screening recently, the anger was much closer to the surface.

The woman in the well is an icon of a world engulfed in conflict where neither party values women's lives. If I write all this in a letter to the editor, it might just get read, and get published in a parody form next week. I don't expect people who refer to "sheesha bars with Arabian girls and shit" to understand my problem. I'm most welcome to carry my chipped shoulder back home where I belong, where I could be expected to jump in the well to avoid being raped tomorrow.

Well, if it's threatening to rip your soul apart, blog it. And then just hope you've got it out of your system.

March 13, 2006

Bad Day

I could not concentrate on my book on the tube today, because the teenaged boy and girl in the seat opposite were all but tearing each other's clothes off, and I wanted to throw my book down, walk across to them, and tell them to be very careful, because one day she will have a job, and one day (before she gets the job, if I don't intervene) he will get her pregnant, and then her boss will say that women with children are not good enough to work.

Sheesh man! I would spit today out of my life if I could.

P.S.: Completely forgot it is Aamir Khan's birthday today! Fust time in 16 years, I forgot! Hurray! Harnaam Singh will be happy to know this!

March 10, 2006

A common greyness silvers everything

Death is invisible in Central London. Death happens in a dignified, behind-the-curtain way somewhere else. There is no sound of weeping or dying. Death is not to be seen while walking on the roads. I thought I saw a dead something on the road today, but it turned out to be soil.
There are pigeons everywhere, but nobody knows where they go to die. Nobody knows where they nest either, just as nobody knows where the black and grey camouflage coats who walk the road bring up their young.
Maybe I need to get out of Central London, or maybe the sun just needs to break through the clouds from time to time.

March 09, 2006

Just Another Day

As the IT man (always a man) fixed the computer in a classroom, a pair of red plastic handcuffs (with hearts printed on them, and the message “Prisoner of Love” emblazoned in white) fell of the desk. He saw them and said to the lecturer “Ma’am, you dropped your handcuffs. I’m not asking what they’re doing here.” Thirty female students, who were examining a sticky-jelly-boy-bits souvenir, burst out in laughter. As the computer phut-phutted to life, a headless bikini model lit up the projector screen.

We are the Gender Institute. We exist to amuse mankind. Or so it must seem to the IT department.

P.S.: If you’re getting all excited about what goes on in our classroom, you’re not allowed to even think about it till you have read Foucault. Then, if you’re alive, we’ll tell you how we use handcuffs and jelly genitalia to deconstruct homosocially-negotiated-heterosexuality. By then, you’ll surely be dead.

March 07, 2006

Some More Please!

twist

Just paid 1.55 pounds for half a slice of pizza at the hostel cafeteria. I suspect the person in the kitchen slicing the pizza is the lovable chap who serves breakfast on most days, and counts the number of potato wedges he puts on our plates. Whenever he’s around, we either avoid taking anything that’s not of a pre-determined size, or clear our throats and shamefacedly ask for more, not always successfully. We steal little pats of butter sometimes, but that just makes the situation even more pathetic. Being the powerless little creatures we are, we take heart in abusing him:

Bedardi hai who nigoda
Khaana deta thoda thoda
Lekar ghar jaayega saara
Bhooka marta pet hamaara
Usko toh chaain kabhi na

Kar de mushkil jeena
Roz woh kameena

March 06, 2006

No More!

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