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!


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!

Just cut it yaar!

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

Update: menaredogs menaredogs

April 15, 2006


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


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.