Friday, December 17, 2010

List of lost articles

In a few more days will reach the grand old age of 29. A bit of chronicling before that seemed like a good idea.

1.Notebook with transcripts of interviews [requires10 hours of work]

2.Old album with a healthy coating  of dust [requires a time machine and a film camera to remake]

3.A 14 year old diary of crappy poems [result of a mad bout of teenage, lot of acne and the ability to be angry without any logical reasons].

4.Locks of countless keys which pop up from nowhere

5.Memory of evenings which smell of  homemade black forest cake, cheesy songs, bad orchestra and great fun [returns occasionally when G condescends to have a phone conversation and gives out a detailed list of all the people who should never get her latest phone no.]

6. Tears which used to burst open at the slightest pretext.

7.Deep faith in Yash Chopra and unconditional love for Sharukh Khan

8.Wait for a summer when  colours will dance to the music of the wind

9.Well deserved regret for things lost on the way

10.Ability to believe that 30 is a good age to die because everything worth while in life would have happened by then.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Flying Shoes

Moving back to 'your' country could be.. well, very often anticlimatic.

Life is no more nice or not so nice packets of little surprises. There is no need to decode the mood swings of route 21 drivers while figuring out the maze of a new travel system...while talking to a benign old man your jaw doesn't drop thinking how can any one have eyelashes which are kind of red...you can no longer swear at aliens for having telephone booths with no human at the counter to help...the non descript patch of grass on the way no longer bursts into a  flame of flowers in some sudden spring frenzy.

Life sits idly by the doorstep, taking one more drag of mundanity. Nothing moves that fast, swings that wild. Dreams don't get that mad, thoughts don't go that placid. No more can you take a small detour from your grocery shopping and discover unknown landscapes.

But then, there are transparent blue bangles to be bought for ten rupees....glass swans which will turn into liquid by the end of a DTC bus ride...old friends who can talk irony to your gibberish...long walks on the look out for a gurudwara which serves langar at 6pm....
.............

The same old journey drenched in melodrama, deep fried love and fish pickles. The connecting flight decides to land two hours late. The run in the rain, the good natured flight steward giving out sun beams of optimism, shortness of breath at the counter and a belt which is never on good terms with the jeans.

Suddenly an almost missed flight relents, tickets get punched and people swear at the queue jumping. From the rain drenched window of a rag tag airline, everything suddenly becomes better. Phone calls, sighs of relief on making it despite luggage being stuck like a fish bone some where in the air traffic system.

Suddenly no more a head clerk, no more the chronicler of endless senseless lists, no more the author of countless emails which smell like spam

Just the wannabe owner of a pair of flying shoes which will go wherever dream spins its compass at.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Moving to Nowhere

There is a suitcase smell to everyday. And, the city has a glow of after life. The neat curvy highway and the neon street lights-apparitions from another birth in all their finery.

Did I get buried or did the streets and markets and people just woke up from the dust of a few centuries?
 ....
You don't mix tenses and then complain that past just looked through you, as if you didn't exist

.....
Shoes: too muddy
Doorsteps: squeaky clean  and  too sure of their place in the world.
....
The lost will one day build a sail and will move to nowhere.
Carrying the impossibility of coming back as a souvenir- to put a halo of nostalgia on gone by, to brave the grey monotones of strange landscapes

Friday, October 15, 2010

...

Soul is an old dog eared wannabe Buddhist who beeps about transience at regular ad break intervals.
It relishes the way stark colours have ran away from the canvas, leaving it almost bare [save a few charcoal marks hopefully on the way to oblivion by the end, some hopeful end].

Never that bright, never that stark
never never that shocking heart wrenching red.

Good morning pastels,  glad to know you exist. Waft past a bit in the sun shine, roam through leafy shades for a while. And leave it all a bit bare, ready for the possibility of hasty packing and somewhere else

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good bye London



Your assorted collection of people from all over the world, your cold rainy mornings which give an excuse to crib, the kiss of smooth snow on your grumpy old roads, the haughty rail tracks which boast about being your arteries, your toddlers who have a secret religion of waving and smiling at every passing stranger, your manicured leafy parks who put on unconvincing make up to try a hand at idyllic beauty…what am I going to miss most about you?

They were wrong. You weren’t fake, gloomy, cold or soulless; nor were you overflowing with riches and opportunities. You couldn’t afford to give me even the meanest of wages. You were so poor that you had to sell everything at exorbitant prices.

And, you weren’t a city which will just be a mild drizzle over wax, leaving every thing the same as before. You do know to leave your mark without colouring it with loud melodrama and tantrums. The split seconds which makes one age as old as the chronicled calendar years, leaving behind the vestiges of teenage carefully wrapped and carried into a decade of adult hood.... the moments which remind that being a traveller means having faith in the kindness of strangers....the warm sun of your autumn and the cool breeze of your summer which reassures that home is a place within one’s heart….
Well, there is much that you have given, beyond the limits of shoddy ‘thank you’ notes

So, good bye from one among the ‘platform’ souls, we who are always waiting for a few wheels to make a journey to somewhere else. Always acquiring only that much which can be left behind.

And, try to be kind to those who come in, saluting yet another flag, mouthing yet another piece of jingoism, swearing allegiance to yet another ‘invincible’ nation, learning yet another ‘great’ language….. so as to call a few feet of land ‘home’.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sailor

-weeps at every port profusely.
At the time of parting, every place puts on the face of home.

-good byes should be done with the precision of Japanese tea ceremonies....so that they wouldn't come back like wavering spirits to haunt you in another birth.

Life is a quick learner.
When time comes, it becomes a collapsible suitcase and fits into neat 30 kilograms of checked in baggage

And the luggage beyond permissible limits becomes moss like memories, gathering ant hills of insignificance around them

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Bye..false start

 The bags are still not packed and I get place-lag once again. Is it a tube in Berlin, a tiny shack of a teashop  in North India or a village near Salem with a picture perfect stream? Well, still let me gather the wits and say a decent good bye.
..................
In a few days, bags will be marked, tickets will be punched and I will be piling up my shoes, belt and any thing which rings metal on a plastic case to make sure that I am no threat  to the idea of home  which the 14 hour journey is supposed to promise
....
Shush shush..Let there be at least an effort for a decent goodbye.
No, this isn't gonna be about London. It is going to be of big mad loud mouthed streets, paan stained walls and the neat array of street lights on the highway which watches the evening melt away with dignity.
..........
Dear Delhi,

I guess you still swear so loud, laugh so wild..
And dress up in tacky glitter on winter nights..

You must be waking up with a huge hangover on dewy mornings
making you cross all day

I know your trick of making happiness a bit more happy and 
grief a bit more sad. But, think before drenching every moment in deep colours.
The vivid greens are fine, but the charcoal scratches never go away even after endless washing.

Keep the odd bit of stars by  the side of rented windows near the rickety pipe line.
But get rid of the ghastly masks which make pigeons fly in and commit suicide on the ceiling fan

Yes, pull out a table, place plastic cups of tea with a few pods of cardamom floating over...
And, I could look at the soot covered tree with missing branches and tell you
that I have never met a city just like you. You could give a slanted smile at first and then
pretend to be uninterested.












Sunday, August 22, 2010

UK motto-Consumer is THE donkey

Well, you would think that as an advanced capitalist consumerist society [bankers can legally eat the rest], consumer rights will be pretty strong in this country. However my experience has been pretty bad. I could get much better service for my rupee in India than with the puffed up pound [with some economic slump down bruises] here. Back in homeland, if you threaten a company that you will take them to court, they will treat you with a bit of respect and will try to fix your problem. Here [well from my limited experience] they will laugh at you and ask you to go and sue them. Since they have enough money to run law suits on my family line from Adam onwards, wouldn't name any. However, here is a small but representative list of how things have been.

1. It starts with the supermarket god which sells you the daily essentials of life. Well, when a particular supermarket chain says that their veggies or hummus will last till say 23rd August, they expect you to subtract a few days from it. I have had carrot bags with rotten bits in it while the tag said it will last for a week more. Another minor supermarket god has a penchant for selling milk cans with seal open [u will realize once you reach home and open the cap.Now do you want to walk in the rain again to exchange a 45p milk can?].

2.Well, the phone company I was using was bought by some one else. The name of the provider is still the same, but I will no longer have my mobile number. From now onwards before buying a sim card will studiously read business pages to scan for the chances of the phone company getting eaten by bigger fish.

3.So went ahead and bought a sim card from the biggest fish in the sea. Since they are kind of uneatable, the cost of daily calls is quite steep. But then, heaved a sigh of relief that at least your phone company won't go bust in the air leaving you with no number. Then, on a rainy Sunday night tried topping up online. After giving them details about everything ranging from my grand father's pet name to all information related to my bank account [so that some minion in the company can have it all when he is in the mood for some little fraud] I was told that 'due to unexpected error' I cannot top up. After complaining got an automated reply from the company saying that they will reply to me after 48 hours.

And, unlike in India, you cannot call the call centre for free and scream at some poor devil "connect me to
your supervisor #####". Calling the call centre means you will  be charged premium so that the company can make more money out of any complaints you might have about them.

4.It meant spending all my possible savings for quite a bit of my life time. So now has a fancy computer from one of the venerated techno gods whose name need to be taken with a prefix of worshipful. Then found that the techno god has sold keyboad and mouse which requires battery. Well, when you buy a desktop what you require is 'wirless' keyboard  and mouse [so that you can taken them out for a walk while your desktop sits on the table like a sitting duck?], so goes the wisdom of the techno god. After doing quite a bit of Indian classical dance at the store, they agreed to give me stuff with proper wires. However, once I reached home, realised that they changed the keyboard and not the mouse. Since self didn't want to do a repeat version of the classical dance, decided to live with the mouse which regularly cries for costly batteries.

5.Profession demands that self must have a hard drive. So, gave whatever remains of self's runined bank account to the corporate giants with the most flashy ads and deeper  pockets. In return for my hundred and whatever pounds, was given metal scrap which screeches like a mouse on a cat's mouth every time you plug it to a computer. The 'customer service' told me that my wiring, my computer or my head might me responsible for the fault. And, if I didn't believe them and wanted to send the product back to them under the warranty scheme, I will have to bear the shipping charges. Once more, I had to go to the store which sold me the crap to do more classical dance. After I manged to scare away one or two customers, the scrap metal was taken from me. It was replaced after a month and more at no additional cost. Well, I was harddriveless for a long time but then, you can't be complaining all the time.

Well, there are more stories, but one shouldn't be such a whiner. So, self has decided to be positive and keeps on googling for lawyers who will take up these cases for free in return for the fat sum they could extract  from the multinational gods. But I guess, most of the lawyers are working for the gods.So, the only other option is to be good on the environment and try to buy as little as possible. With the size of my pocket after all  the expeditions it wouldn't be such a tough motto to follow

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Excess Baggage

Well, it is officially the bad poetry time.
Still short of several thousand words to reach the pinnacles of academic boredom with due respects paid in attribution to all those who managed to reach the peak earlier.  The laptop has started screeching like a mouse which is being eaten by the cat around  the corner. But, while its breath lasts, the internet pathways should be defaced with a few more lines

......

A bit of white rimmed grey clouds, handful of indifference
A packet of cool air, little box of unmemory
A purse full of  good will to temper the choler of the rude alleys
A bit of snow for the scorching heat, a shaft of sunshine for the chilling cold
A cube of recollected nostalgia to sweeten the plastic cups of tea.
An album of flying and falling and learning to land without mourning the bruises
------Far beyond the checked in baggage allowance
Waiting for a suitable shipping option.



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aisha-Don't be Stupid

It is 'that' time of the year. When you drop by the college hall kitchen at 00:00 am  you encounter all your erstwhile partying and club hopping neighbors cracking their Foucault and cursing Homi Bhabha for writing really worthy stuff which nobody understands.The requirement to come up with 6000 [sigh!!!] words of holy academic crap with some amount of originality invariably drives self to nuts.

So, instead of trying to slowly and steadily win the race, self logs on to facebook to find the status of latest Hindi movies. Ever since self has moved 2 alien shores, fb is the trusted source to get a quick glance of what is happening in homeland. And, you do get a filtered version of News Hour without running the risk of Arnab Goswami yelling at you. And, every thing comes with highly useful editorial inputs. If your hyper enthu 20 year old acquaintance talks about a 'kewl' movie, it means that you should steer clear of it.

However, if you watch a movie even before such helpful inputs are out, you are treading through tricky territories. But then,  writer's block [some thing which happens to self even before typing a single word of the stipulated 6000] is always an excellent excuse. So, watching Aisha without logging in to find its 'kewl' quotient seemed like a  good idea. What harm can a wannabe romantic movie which uses Jane Austen as a pretext do? When you type words like that you are insinuating the power of cinema to touch the pits [I mean really low pits].
They should have changed the tag line to "don't be stupid [and watch this]'. While there are many Bollywood films with story lines which let you know that the writer was under the influence of crack or heavy booze while penning it, Aisha touches new heights. The writer [or writers] must have been excruciatingly sober to come up with such absolute crap. And, the good thing about being a star kid is that your dad can get you films which are as air headed as you must be and the rags with Toilet Paper of India in the lead can never really be  nasty with you.

So, the viewer has the bad fortune of spending precious two and a few some thing hours of her/his life watching women get out of bed, shop, gym, go to the hairdresser etc and go back to sleep. Ooops, yes!!there are a few highlights when they go for a picnic, party .... The men also have a similar way of existence, but in a few odd shots they get to wear suits and sit in office like spaces [with a hot woman by the side] pretending to be investment bankers ['eat the bankers' variety]. And, of course the man gets to remind the woman of the meaningless of her existence which she bears like a badge throughout the film. After all the pot reminding the pan of its soot bits, the film ends with the worst romantic scene with a balcony involved. The bard must be turning in his grave at the lowly plight to which the balcony has fallen ever since 'Romeo and Juliet'.
..........

Hopefully, they will soon come with a statutory warning for bad films. Till then, it serves to have a quick look at  status tags before declaring "how bad can a movie be"...It is better to steer clear from such knowledge

Monday, May 31, 2010

Non fiction-2

Dear Film,

I feel like a parent who has borrowed to pay for her child's college degree in gambling.
You are wayward and unpredictable. That shouldn't prevent you from getting some costly sound post production and colour grading.

When you are out in the world, you shouldn't have to be ashamed because I was a lowly no budget filmmaker.

You have had most of my waking hours, every last bit of my non existent pennies.

I know you are flawed in many places. I did pass all my incompetencies on to you. But, I have tried almost my best, though even that was inadequate
....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

....

Soon the days and nights which are stretched beyond their elasticity will end.
And, film- you will be out of my hands, out in the world, on your own.
But, you will always have me to blame for all your inadequacies.

As for me, I might retain faint memories. The shortness of breath and dizziness.
How you literally drove me up against the wall. And, the faint reassurance of the medic.
"There is nothing wrong with you, just a bit run down"

The long hours spend staring at the edit machine while you tried to play all your audacious games. Refusing to be really moulded into anything. Almost every one who passed by said "you have all the right material. There is some thing wrong with the shaping"

Make be I should take a bow and accept the inadequacies.

..........

Time moves like a dull lizard. Beginning the same journey every day and ending at the beginning every time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hp

Soon time will span out of control. Work is just waiting, all set to tumble over. Will have to pull head out from the ostrich hole to have a look.Soon every moment will be priceless. Films generally demand sweat, blood, tears and muscle pain-in that order. They are like children-they might turn out to be deformed or wayward. It doesn't mean you have to put any less effort into them.


Then, there is the continental trip with dasht-e-tanhai [some elevated kind of solitude or similar crap]. All the paper eating regulatory gods want to know everything-including in which schengen terrories you plan to pee on etc.  The continental train systems are also pretty difficult to figure out since they  make u hop in and out of the train [to take a break by walking or catching a bus for the 'connecting train' in what they call as 'one journey']. The fast running Euro star has a pricing policy which must have prince charles in mind.So, will probably be getting lost a couple of times and will be talking to many people in sign language. Of course as R says, that is thankless gripe because is going to get to see the continent.


G came up with one more pearl of wisdom in her secret code of acronyms
""it's only hp that mks ppl lk u & m srvv. sigh! hps abt thinner waistlns, hps abt continental sentry, trvlg hbs...:-)"hp=hope.


Hmmm.... may be should remember to carry hp too. But,at times hp and self do get tired of each other. Some times hp looks awful in the filmy costumes self gets for it. The gawdy coloured cellophanes, so unreal and bizarre.
....Wouldn't know of any other smart way of carrying hp. Well, so will pop hp too into the luggage, knowing well mostly it will only serve the purpose of adding to the weight 



Friday, April 30, 2010

Places


Places know us by name.
We who embark on pilgrimages...to forget, to remember, to know, to unlearn, to move away, to come back.
They know that we have paid our way to their doorsteps after saving up all the emptiness of our sorrows..
They know that they can be audacious and wear their superficial veneers
And we will wait patiently at their door..till the time they feel gracious enough to give......
...the blue mountain's gift of a drop of zen... the stream's boon of never losing the mud within...
the brash highways' blessing of a mist which will cloud insides...

.................

Today met a place far beyond my years.... to be forgotten and to lose all that binds.....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meeting Racism

Well, had the first brush with racism, officially.
Was wondering where it was, lurking within the multicultural sea.
It didn't come with chains and swear words or tattoo marks.
Nor was it brash or young.

It was in the shape of a feeble old man, in a route 21 bus.
Self was travelling with the usual donkey's baggage of camera and its relatives.There was a seat next to the old man. So asked him mildly, "could you please move a bit?". [He can move his legs a bit and self can get in.].  He got up with some difficulty and left the seat altogether, mumbling beneath his breath in the most mild whispering manner

"...coming here and making people move from their seats...young foreigners...they should go back to where they came from...[contd]..."

Was appalled, agitated and couldn't believe my ears for a while. And, the mumbling was going on  at the same monotone. And, it was coming from a feeble old otherwise 'respectable' mouth, while the hand held a cane and the head had a  nondescript cap.

A mumbling whisper, not loud, not angry-just calm placid tone,but perfectly audible to me.

Felt like shouting and then for some strange reason crying. Both would be pointless and even ludicrous. How do you shout at a man as old as death, hardly able to move? And how do you let a horrid old man with  pungent hate in his tongue make you burst into tears in a route 21 bus?

It isn't the first time that anyone asked /requested me to go back to where I came from. In Bombay, amidst haggling about the fare, an autorickshaw driver lost his temper and shouted similar words. However, self was in no way appalled or agitated. The idea that Bombay should be only for people from Bombay [whoever they were] was a bit too comical to digest. How will it be, when no one, but 'the original inhabitants' of a city can enter it? The little republic of Bombay, cleaned of all 'other kinds of Indians'.
.....
Carried the feeble old man's horrid little words through the maze of tube lines and ticket points.
May be, should have blurted out 'facts'. Is paying  2 times more  than what the native students pay. Came in after all the paper eating regulatory Gods were satisfied. Is contributing to the recovery of English economy by  renting an obscenely priced shoe box room and eating exorbitantly expensive [mostly] bad food. And, the old man's 'relatives' have come into 'my' parts of the world with zero papers and gun powder not too long ago.

But, how do you deal with some thing as intangible as hate with facts?
A land for one kind of people. 'Clean' the streets of every body else. Send back whoever came from wherever.
First.. .........Africans, Indians, Chinese.......
Then............Poles, Australians, Canadians ....
....................Normans, whoever else........
....................Celts.....

The day ended on a good note , after eating a perfectly made soul uplifting chicken biriyani [horribly priced of course] in a Bangladeshi eatery. Remembered the lines from an anti hate story.
"If 'we' all go away, what will 'they' eat?"
Probably, potatoes cooked in different ways.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Random

I know, it is a beautiful spring afternoon in England with lots of sun.
And, I am cooped in my shoe box room, trying to create some thing productive out of my marriage with the computer.I guess if you go through the statistics I would have spent more time looking at the face of the laptop[conversing , loitering, arguing, occasionally slapping]. Have never ever spent that much time staring into the face of any living being.

Some how, the nice spring sun which irritates the tropical being in me [we like shades] brings back time spent at mom's house in a quaint little village in South India during summer holidays. The way the sun brings in the lethargy ..it sets the ideal backdrop to read Elizabethan or Victorian English literature stacked away in shelves. While cow chews its cud  and the sea roars in a distance and the coconut leaves continue their drunken sleepy whispers in the wind, you go to the English meadows, and walk with Elizabeth Bennett in a rainy English afternoon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

United Colours of Rainbow

In Rome, you should dress like Romans.
Well, easier said than done. Every place has its own idea of 'proper' clothes. In Delhi, if you wear the clothes that are proper in home town,  you will be treated like a country bumpkin.

But in hometown,  if you wear what is 'cool' in Delhi, you will be taken for a hooker. Similarly, Delhi's idea of 'traditional party wear' can make you the perfect drag queen in the wrong parts of London. And, London's fish net stocking look will be  'the hot call girl look' in certain areas of Bombay.

Normal human beings generally adapt to the clothing conditions of whichever place they are in. Probably, it is a bit like getting used to the weather, traffic rules and other idiosyncrasies  of the new place. But, if you are  a clothe sense challenged individual like self, things will be a bit more complicated. PS:  Do not use the word 'fashion'. It is like saying 'mac beef burger' to a die hard vegetarian.

Today, managed to make a Tesco [one of the reigning supermarket deities of England] cashier laugh. Violet sweater, red kurta, grey thermals, shocking blue socks, brown shoes, green scarf and a call centre like headphone with a microphone [all worn in the most sloppy and dishevelled possible way]. That is what it took. The cashier soon said some thing polite and asked if self was talking [to some imaginary friend?] in skype while rummaging through the aisles for daily dose of bread etc.

Self heroically took that as a compliment in the interest of all the clothe sense challenged people of the world. Generally winter wear offers more opportunities to achieve perfect clothing dyslexia. How do you ever sit and colour co ordinate the 10 different pieces of clothing which are required to protect you from the  perils of chilly weather? One can only wish for a socially acceptable body armour which includes all the layers of sweater and tiny irritants like cap, muffler, gloves etc.

Back in the cruelly fashion conscious Delhi, self tried the trick of buying everything in one colour to avoid looking like a rainbow art installation gone wrong. However dear friend and flat mate R put her put down. The decree of "You are not going to bring one more maroon coloured wretched piece of clothing into this house" was passed and the variety of colours returned to self's wardrobe with their immense clowning possibilities.

Probably, as long as thou give mirth to fellow human beings, all should be well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Non fiction

Statutory Warning.

This is going to be a very self indulgent rambling of a certain kind of gripe.

.............

It is such a lonely process. Once the camera is put down and the sheer physicality of it ends. The sweat and pain now sits neatly on the computer, as different kinds of talking heads. The bits where the light was bad, the bits where you forgot to zoom in, places where it was out of focus or shaky.They all sit together and grin at you. With a glint in the eye, challenging you to try to edit them together into any thing worth while.

You know the filmed material has become a wayward child, quite teenagish, determined to go in the complete opposite direction that you have chosen for it.
.........

And, no one will drop in with a 2rupee tea in a plastic cup and ask you to try to remove a few frames from every bit to see how it looks.
...........

And, you feel responsible. As if you have passed your inadequacies on to the film, which had the potential to be some thing wonderful, if not for your blundering.

Friday, April 9, 2010

London Letters-5

Your spring-that occasional burst of flowers, a little bit of fine sun. One of your rare moods when you don't feel like pouring over, turning every thing into a bleak dampness.

Your river side- full of worn out people in black in a funeral procession of going home from work.
Amidst all the classy and unclassy concrete which raises from all sides [some one called it 'architecture of high capitalism'], your water tries hard to  not be some sort of fancy industrial liquid to awe the passers by. Bereft of the plains and hills and rockside, it is amazing, how it clings on to being water.

It must be hard being you. I should some times shut out the din of work and sit by your side, to listen to your story. It might do both of us some good. I am just a passer by, with no kind of ownership over you. It will be like talking to an absolute stranger. The days when I yearn for more than "what are you having for lunch" for a conversation, may be I should come and sit by your side.

I just have vague ideas about your ageless past. We are plain stupid, trying to pass our mortality onto the agelessness of  land and sea by our attempts at writing 'history'. I know you have seen as much plunder, blood, disease and death as any other city . That is in the lineage of big cities, right? A concoction of blood and despair which brings in a new load of people with their colours of happiness and sorrow, to drench the city in one more colour.

The pale skinned men who sailed off from your ports to far off lands like mine...bringing plunder and murder in varying  degrees..till the malaria and dysentery or some other gift from the tropics took them. You must have watched those journeys with the stoicism of immortality-knowing well that our human games of greed and hate and murder   too will have to end, and we too will have to bow away from the surface of earth with as much dignity as we can manage.
.........

I know, all your stories wouldn't smell of blood and despair. Like every city, you too pave your streets with flowers in spring, every bloom a sort of return gift for the kindness and love and laughter and music which fill your streets. The man who walks up to the woman in the bus stop and says with dignity that he needs to have a coffee and the respect with which the woman gives a few pounds, as if she was sharing one of the countless free newspapers in your streets. The man in the restaurant who gives out a dessert for  free to a not so well off  customer. The smile on the face of the old man who tries his best to find the way for a direction challenged new comer....

The love and hate, the despair and hope, the destitution and richness...all that which you keep inside. May be one day I should sit by your side and listen to your story

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Apologies to Mahmoud Darwish

"I want from love only the beginning"

Came across this line by Mahmoud Darwish
It was such a lovely line that had to forward it to good friends who will find it in their inboxes at the crack of dawn.

Couldn't help vandalizing the idea around a bit. Would love to have a response if anyone stumbles upon and actually reads this post. Since the line has many dimensions had to vandalize it in many levels.

I want from love only the illusions.
........
One day would like to meet love the way it is.
Without the ghastly costumes they make it wear in the films, making it a sort of chrismas tree.
Have believed all the lies they told about it.
Love was a tooth fairy, a plastic Christmas tree bowing down with inconsequential plastic gifts.
Invariably it will have to go to the dust bin when the season ends.

Outside a novel, without magical realism to spell out the times of cholera, how will it look like?

Do you ever encounter it without an instruction manual of how to proceed? Almost everyone knows the procedure. Boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy meets boy, girl meets girl. Then they are supposed to drive through the stars for some spilt seconds and then  drive through gutters for some really long time before calling it quits or entering into a charity show of "all is well". Have never managed to open the instruction manual and an instruction manual about how to use the instruction manual wouldn't be a bad idea.

If you leave the product description out in the barbie stores, how will it look like?
A one eyed old woman who has gone senile?
A hunchbacked  old man slipping into dementia, with a clear memory of some fictitious youthful times?
The discolored old shells the storm washed in with the corpses and the dirt?

Friday, April 2, 2010

London Letters-4

Dear London,

I like you for letting me be.
Without draining, without possessing.
To just letting me exist in a very inconsequential way.

Your streets and lights and highways are so new for me-untainted by any memory.
I wouldn't know of beginnings. But you are perfect for attempts at non memory.
Your corners don't smell of old bits of mouldy conversations.
Your pathways are not guilty of the memory of things which never happened.

You smell of nothingness. Only a place which isn't or can't be home, would ever be able to be some thing like you.



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Please say please#***

Witnessed this fight between two women in Sainsbury [a chain of supermarkets. The new church of England is the supermarket.You have to go there and burn your money in the altar in return for life's essentials and inessentials, whether you like it or not.]

Now the fight was over some thing very serious.
Woman 1 [bellowing in her full volume]: "You said excuse me and didn't say thank you."
Woman 2 [in an ever higher pitch]: "I said thank you dammit. I said excuse me and thank you. If you didn't hear it, I can't do anything"
Thankfully they didn't roll over in the ground and do a wrestling match about the 'thank you'.

The English [and whoever else inhabit the kingdom currently] are pretty serious about 'please' and 'thank you'. If you are loaded into the shores of the island recently they will do their best to make you aware about the necessity of both the phrases. Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and other east asian students in my college routinely get a free lecture from the cafeteria lady when they say "can I have a small cappuccino". The lady will remind them that what they said was very rude and they should add a 'please'. Self has not faced any problems in that direction because have been training to say "please" as acidly as the English.The  woman does look up from the counter at the hostile tone. But, since the mandatory 'please' was added, she can't complain.

Another  duty the earlier residents of the island have taken upon themselves is the task of correcting the new comer's English. They can easily give you a few tips on grammar while servicing your computer. One reason for coming here was to improve your English, right? Since self comes from a colonized country where the mastery of the sacred language was very important, you would think things will be fine. But no, self and the canadian/welsh/irish/english person stare at each other in total incomprehension over 'accents' [on both sides]. Many friends from other countries find the multiple varieties of 'English language' pulsing through this small island too much to take. As for self, these days there is a small satisfaction when some one says "pardon, can you come again?". Just like self can't get what they are talking, they too can't understand self!!!That is what is called equality of the opportunity of the language or whatever.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pretty Woman

Being a pretty woman is a full time profession.No, I don't mean the model/actress variety. But, the every day variety who makes men go weak on their knees or somewhere else and who make women wonder which plastic surgery or life jeopardising slimming pill she is taking.

Pretty much most women can enter the profession of looking beautiful. You need detailed food intake plans [oranges are good for skin, avacado for hair and no pastries or any thing tasty etc etc], bone ache inducing exercising plans and a small fortune to spend in beauty parlours where they uproot your body hair and subject you to similar torture methods in return for a fat some of money. In addition, you can spend every waking hour worrying about whether your hair is out of place or the large glass of water which you just had makes your tummy bulge in that skin tight suit[ Of course shopping for the right skin tight suit is as difficult as looking for the gold which your great grandma hid in the garden for future generations]. Do not forget to smile through the whole process and make it look like it is all very normal.

It takes guts to be a woman like that. Not to mention having a good career in banking/media or wherever in addition to the excruciating profession of looking beautiful. Most women do not feel that they are superhuman enough to put out the show on an everyday basis. So we reserve it for special occasions like a friends' wedding or a date or when nothing in life seem to go right. The longest it can last is when you have  found new love till it turns sour like every other pickle in the market.

Shows like 'Sex and the City' sometimes scare the hell out of me. One would think that by the time you hit 40-s or 50-s you can take semi retirement from the business of looking beautiful. But, hell NOOO. You are supposed to look sexy and have a trim figure and a flawless skin [pray hard to the botox god]. If not, how will you attract a man. Isn't that the end of every female enterprise? How much ever insane it might seem to attract the predator species even in such an advanced age. Growing old is no longer a calmer span where you are more sure of yourself and give a fuck for the world, let alone a man. That was how the women of my granny's age went old [at least in the part of the world I come from]. But, such luxuries are no more there for us. The price of liberation which was bestowed by benevolent multinational gods.

So, the way ahead lies in tweezing, scrubbing and breaking your bones in exercise machines and surviving on a the diet of a famine hit person. You could one day be rewarded with beauty

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oh!!Lamb curry..


Can a perfectly made lamb curry bring tears to your eyes? Well, yes.After eating the rubbish cooked by own hands day in and day out, decided to go in for a well made lamb curry without looking at the price tag. The right amount of spices and the cholesterol inducing creamy gravy was like an answer to a prayer.

Never ever believe when they say that you can learn cooking. It is as much rubbish as anyone saying that you can learn to be a poet or an artist. You are either a good cook or some one incapable of cooking.Self belongs to the second category.Have tried and tried. Not because of some great desire to learn the art, but out of sheer greed for good food. Some how, the dishes which result out of these trials look fine. But then, if only you could eat fine looks.And may be it does take a lot of effort to turn a perfectly respectable looking egg plant into some thing monstrous. But then, it doesn't guarantee that the fine looks will be palatable. Invariably the egg plant and its cousins end up in dust bin. And, self goes in and orders one more sandwich with all the guilt of an over spending student.

And, the thing with sandwiches is that they make you feel like some sort of a robot. As if you are swallowing batteries.They have no real taste or any real character of their own. But, you can't escape them if you are young[well, we still call us that] and cheap and student in London .

So, amidst such culinary deserthood comes the lamb curry, like the beautiful summer showers of Delhi. And, it does result in well deserved teary eyes.

PS:- Summer showers of Delhi were free and did not cost 6 pounds

Monday, January 11, 2010

'us' and 'them'

My idea for 'the' film got kicked right, left and centre. Still, feel strangely happy. Have walked through the known roads quite a while, so the brickbats for being at the wrong traffic intersection is some thing positive I guess. Hopefully some thing more than the smugness of 'look I'm at the unright road' will emerge out of it.

"Identity..what is the big deal about it?"

I guess there is nothing big anywhere there. Unless you are a young black man who doesn't exactly smell of wads of cash. People could move away from your way.And, you know they are avoiding a mugging scene in their head.

Identity is of course bullshit. Unless you are a woman and the only way you could have reached where you are is by sleeping through the ladder. Unless you are a Muslim male and should be careful that the stubble on your chin doesn't grow big enough to create a link to Osama. Unless you are a lesbian in a catholic country in need of exorcism from the forces of evil.

So, let us tell the same old stories. That we are so used to hearing. The tooth paste like 'news' manufactured for our morning moods. Available in labour, conservative,liberal, democrat, republican and right wing colours.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snow..!!!!!

Snow is the best parenthesis ever.

Beautiful than the freshly bathed rain drenched palm trees of home town.

A bit of white descends from the skies to pardon the concrete and cars and roadways off their sins. Against the moon and the light and the few lone trees, the first snow of your life.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

?



Saw this snap in the morning paper [errr..online]. For those of you who isn't familiar with the goose's face [male] , it is David Cameroon, Britain's would be Prime Minister. The lady who is looking at this demi God is his own wife [whose name hasn't hit the newly in Britain me as yet].

Now what kind of put some jelly in the morning mood was the look in the woman's face. It reminded me of the adoring look of female devotees before the Indian god Krishna. Here is a sample.

This prompted the mind into the following train of thoughts. While growing up, most girls will certify that boys are mostly dumb bullies or crybabies with adjustment problems. On the whole, girls are way more smarter. After all, they do start speaking earlier and ends up living longer. During the mating season in youth, women realize that asking for a man who is intelligent, sensitive, good looking, artistic and caring is basically asking for a product which is not available in the market unless you are asking for a gay man.

Then, why is it that when you come to middle age, you realise that the people ruling the country by basically bombing other countries are mostly men. Where are the women who were way more smarter? The majority of women in the power circles are 'first wives' in the category of Mrs.Cameroon who has the privilege to decide what is on the menu for the official dinner [provided the security agencies and PR agents and similar bamboozles clears it. Since self has had no experience in the power circles, the details about the PR agencies may be wrong.]. Well, yes there will be a odd woman here or there, but they are indeed a miniscule minority [check out the pictures of the 'heads of state' in a UN assembly.]

Can some one please tell what happened to all the women in the way. And, yes, I know that Margaret Thatcher was awful


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Just like that

Once upon a time which wasn't not so looong ago [if you discount the geography and concentrate on
just the calendar] a very good friend said, "cut your losses and run". Apparently it is an American expression which modifies the "never give up"motto a little. There comes a point, after you have given your absolute every thing to some thing, that you should call it quits. If you persist any longer, you will just be a jack ass digging own grave or doom etc.

Once in a while, we need to cut our losses and run. Running, even around continents can be good idea, at least for your jack ass of a mind which persists on moving immovable objects with its imaginary spoon bending powers.

Then again heard this in a crappy hollywood movie. "Human beings are born with a hole in the heart which nothing can fill". That sure was some fault in an entire production line, centuries after centuries, born with such an inadequacy which no dent job can rectify.
.........

Well, now that I look at it, the words just come in. Why can't they go in and fill my deadline which is in need of 4000 words