“That is too cheesy a line for you to be a writer.”
“And that is a dialogue copied from Sex And The City.”
“And how do you know that? Boys really don't watch it, do they?”
“It has its quirks, and I have a thing for Miranda.”
Despite all my misgivings, I’d decided to help Sameer out in his quest to write a mystery – romance – thriller – tragic – yet – comic novel for his ladylove. Not that I was a novelist par excellence, I simply happened to have a better hang of grammar and the basic language better than he did. He needed it, considering he was in love with the English topper of the school. With great patience and gradual prodding, I convinced him to shorten it to a romantic dark humoured novel, which was undoubtedly easier on the sanctity of the reader’s mind. Sameer was determined to be her prince in shining grammar and to say that he fell short of that was like saying that Hitler was a bit pissed with the Jews.
“With great power comes great responsibility, he was determined to live up to the ones entrusted to him.”
“And don't forget to quote Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spiderman on that one.”
“Gawd, Avantika. Will you for once stop raining on my creative parade?”
“It seems more like a one man walk at the moment”
“Fine, fine. Lets get on with the novel shall we? How ‘bout, we add a strange sharpshooter in the fray?”
“Because we have nothing better to do?”
Today was the last day we had to complete this god-forsaken project. Tomorrow we would print it out and give it to Urvashi. I felt sorry for Urvashi, on more than one occasion. She was an intelligent and pretty girl, simply ignored by both girls and boys on account of her good friendships with boys and her marvellous command over languages. Boys tend to get intimidated you see, by girlfriends who can speak five languages. But Sameer was different. In spite of the painfully obvious fact that he knew all of his English from re-runs of old American serials and the latest men’s magazines, he was ready to make an absolute linguistic fool of himself in front of her. He’d become convinced that becoming a writer was the only way he could win her heart and nothing could stop him. Except maybe, his English. In a flash of what I'm sure was intelligence blinding inspiration, he decided to enlist my help and followed me everywhere with a wounded puppy look. I had to give in.
“Avantika. WHATEVER. Just Help Me.”
“Right. Back to the story. We have two main characters, a reason for them to fall in love and a problematic situation that says no-no to love. All we need now is to get rid of the situation.”
“Let’s kill it off.”
“Brilliant. Let’s enlist the sharpshooter to track down and kill the 2000 km distance between them because they need to attend their final year of college.”
“The girl and the boy represent me and Urvashi right? So, let’s remove all the college and blah blah blah and write Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. They get together. Will you be my girlfriend?”
I just blinked at him.
“Uh huh. Amazement crashing over you like waves on a bedrock, right?”
“Crashing yes. Amazement, not so sure about that.”
“Avantika, I don't care. This was a stupid idea to start with.”
And then I saw angels coming down on our heads and singing Hallelujah. He’d finally realized what a waste of time this was.
“I’ll write her a poem.”
“Yea. You know, the roses are red, something is blue sorts and say it out loud to her.”
“That’ll be one helluva declaration of love.”
“I got it.
Roses are red,
Converses are blue,
I say these lines because,
My love for you is true.”
More blinking at open-mouthed gaping followed.
“So I should go with it?”
“Why not? There’s nothing worse that can happen.”
“Cool. Awesome. Urvashi, here I come!”
And all I could think of was, “and there you go, thrown out of the window!”… Next day, I found Sameer waiting for me, apparently in dire need of some blessings. He was sweating like a pig and was about to start crying for mommy when he saw Urvashi. It seemed like the heavens knew of our plan today, considering Urvashi hadmade an extra effort to look pretty today. Actually, they did. Urvashi and I had been friends for the past six years and when Sameer came to me for help, I couldn’t help but tell her about the whole plan. She had fallen for Sameer at that very moment and was looking forward to the story, choosing to ignore how possibly silly it could be. The idea of a poem, made her even more excited. Finally, she would be able to hear it.
“Hey Sameer, how’re you?”
“Urvashi, I have something to say. You see, I kind of like you. And I like writing poems but I cant even write a decent poem because the one I wrote for you sucks. So, I was hoping that you’d help me fix it a bit.”
“Sure. Can I hear it?”
“Roses are Red, Converses are Blue, I say these lines because my love for you is true.”
I swear I saw people standing around them roll their eyes.
“Sameer, that was possibly one of the sweetest things anybody has ever said to me. I’d love to help you fix up the poem.”
I almost laughed. Sameer almost fainted. People did stare. And then Sameer came to thank me and swore that their first kid would be named after me. I told him to shoo away and caught sight of Urvashi standing behind him, giving me a conspiratorial wink and two thumbs up. Well, what Sameer didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him, I thought, sending him off with Urvashi.
Har lamha yeh pyaar ka afsana hoga,
Dil kahe toh jaan humari jurmaana hoga,
In baaton mein jaadoo kab kar diya tumne,
Jawaab milna iss sawal ka dastoor naa hoga.
Socha tha ki niyaati se mil chuke the hum saalon pehle,
Pyaar iss dil ne mehsoos kiya, toh bas thoda hi tha,
Ek nasiyat di thi logon ne mujhe, pyaar na karna,
Tumaari muskuraahat ne usse bhi ek chutki mein bhula diya.
What could be more perfect in life than that? A loophole that every student dreams of in their most beautiful dreams and scathing nightmares.
The gentle swaying of the train didn’t do much for her mood. The plain greens outside the window reminded her of his shirt. The shirt that was neatly folded in her arms, reminding her of the last two days. Her mind churned over the past seven years, the on and off meetings, the love, the security. He was always there for her, a phone call away.
She switched off her phone, settled down comfortably and plugged in her CD player. She put “Big Yellow Taxi” on repeat, falling into a deep sleep. She saw dreams of him, standing next to his taxi, waiting for her to come out of the platform. The same conversation would follow every time.
“Hello princess, did you have a good journey?”
“Yeah, I did. I missed you more this time, though. They don't make men like you anywhere.”
“I'm there for you, always. Chalo, lets drop you home.”
“No lunch today? Did Kaka’s Dhaba shut down?”
“No, silly. I have work. It’s an important day for me. I must reach the Temple before 2.”
Despite our promise of not asking more than required, I felt curious. When I looked back at him, his eyes were twinkling. He was daring me to ask. He started whistling. That was a signal. I knew it. We both shared this trait, whistling when we wanted to spill a secret. But I still didn’t ask. I couldn’t risk it. Men, they get offended more easily than women.
Ten minutes into the ride, he started whistling again. I finally asked.
“Why are you going to the Temple?”
“That’s my business.”
“To ogle at all the single women, perhaps?”
“Tell me naa!!”
“There is a puja for someone special. It’s her birthday. You can come if you like.”
The words piqued a curiosity that I didn’t know existed. Her birthday, he said. I’d always thought of myself as the only girl in his life. Foolish, I know. How could I expect him to wait for me eight months a year? Still, I thought. We had shared a special bond. We liked the same kind of food; we both preferred football over cricket and both had an undying love for the melodies of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He was a free soul, driving a taxi to pass the time, living off the riches left to him by his father. He was the adventure in my cautious soul.
Noticing my face, he frowned, guessing my thoughts before I could say them out loud to myself.
“Don't worry, it's not another woman.”
“Hmm, we have a half hour. I’ll tell you all about her. She was my childhood sweetheart. We loved each other like crazy. Inseparable till the day our parents decided to fix our marriage. That ruined us.”
“Ok, hold on here. That’s something new. You both were married, so then, what was the problem? You have a perfect love story, don't you?”
“Ha, if only the world were that simple. Two years into the marriage, we were still childless. My parents were desperate for a grandchild and they made our lives miserable. Some two and a half years after the marriage, they tried to separate us. On one occasion, they even tried to set up another bride for me. That got her parents really mad and they took her away.”
“Hold on. They did what?”
“They were progressive people, they couldn’t bear the thought of their only daughter being hurt like that.”
“They sound like my grandparents. My mom is a single mother. Her parents encouraged her to bring me up the best she could, in spite all odds.”
“Hmm, the last I heard, she had had a child and was raising it alone. You kind of resemble her, you know. You remind me of Vasundhra, you do.”
Vasundhra. The name resounded in my head. That was my mother’s name.
He looked at me, stunned.
“In flesh and blood. That’s my full name. Namrata Singh.”
Before he could say anything else, the Temple came into view. We stopped and looked at each other, searching the other’s eyes for that one little piece that was missing in our lives. I sought my father, he sought his love. Slowly, he opened his mouth.
“Do you have a photograph?”
I pulled out mom’s photo from my wallet and thrust it in his hands. His eyes said everything. I had found my father. We turned back and sat into the taxi, not knowing what to do next. I asked him to drop me home, where mom would be waiting for me. And for him. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t bear to lose her all over again. He dropped me and left.
“Mom, why did you tell me my father died before I was born?”
“Because he did.”
“Mom, do you remember Anil Sharma? Your husband, my father, Anil Sharma?”
I told her about him, how we had met eight years ago and since then he had been picking me up from the stations and dropping me wherever I needed to go. How he had become an important part of my life. She looked at me, for what seemed like an eternity. Finally she spoke.
“He was my husband, but not your father. After I left his house, we divorced and I married another man, who died soon after. I didn’t love your father, so he’s never been mentioned about ever since. Anil is not your father.”
Reeling, I stepped out of the house and called him up. Called to say that he could come and reclaim his love. Called, only to find out that he had slipped on the stairs of the temple and was now dead. Called, only to be told that I could come and collect his belongings. Called, only to know that I had a father, once again.
The next day, I decided to leave, leaving my holiday’s midway. Mom understood, she always did. Sitting in the train, I kept his green shirt close to me. It still felt like he was standing there, smiling. I started crying. Crying, over the man, who could have been my father.
Which is probably the most luxurious part of the day. Today I sit in front of the laptop with the cup in hand and writing this post with the other. I'm reminded of the first time I decided to drink my soup the Calvin way, with a straw. What resulted was a burnt tongue and hurried searches on google about how to nurse the tongue and still drinking the soup, fearing it would get cold. It also reminds me of the time when I had just started drinking hot beverages. I've never liked my food too hot, I prefer it somewhere between lukewarm and cold. The soup that day was exceptionally hot and made my mouth water after every sip. The ingenious solution I found was to drink water alongside the soup till I built up the habit of having hot things. Though now, the water drinking idea sounds ludicrous at best. I've also once pretended to myself that the soup was some terrible beast, from the Calvin and Hobbes fame, when I didn't particularly want to have it. I fought with it with a spoon and ultimately sacrificed it to my father.
And trawling through the net, I clicked on some link accidentally that got me to a post that was put up by Imran Khan on Amir's blog. He has good English, really nice. I like people with good English. I also like vichyssoise, the cold french soup, even though I've never had it. It's just that it's cold and wont burn my tongue.
Every year, the organizers of the Bulwer-Lytton prize, based at San Jose University, California, invite entrants from across the world to come up with terrible opening sentences to imaginary novels. Here are some of this year's best efforts:
~ Danny, the little grizzly cub, frolicked in the tall grass on this sunny spring morning, his mother keeping a watchful eye as she chewed on a piece of hiker they had encountered the day before.
~ There was a pregnant pause-as pregnant as Judith had told Darren she was (about seven and a half weeks long), which was why there was a pause in the first place.
And the winner is:
~ Gerald begain - but was interrupted by a piercing whistle that cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a 20-km radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them 'permanently' meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing hot lava or suffocated by choking ash - to pee.
Laughing Hard - as hard as people must have thought to write the above, which is why I'm laughing in the first place.
Like when we're bored to death in a class, start playing Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl". Even more effective if you are in a girl's college like me.
Like when you see an absolute knock out and then take a look in the mirror, Radiohead's "Creep" would start. Alternatively, you see a drop-dead gorgeous dude with another girl and Avril's "Girlfriend" would start. ;)
Like when you have really pissed of someone, the song "Eello Ji Sanam Hum Aa Gaye" from Andaz Apna Apna would play. Alternatively, Linkin Park's "Leave Out All The Rest".
Like when you feel like the world is becoming a circus and you're the head, FOB's "This Aint A Scene" would start.
Like when you need to good pick me up, RDB's "Door Jaan Toh" would play.
Like when you need a friend, and "Jaane Kyun" would play. Or the Appy Fizz theme song, for that matter.
Like when you feel the need to head bang and "Pichle Saat Dino" would play. "We Will Rock You", "Rise Up" and about any song by Metallica would do.
Like when you storm in late for a class and the band behind you plays "God Save The Queen", which depending on people's interpretation could sound like the Bridal Waltz. Either way, you have a royally good excuse.
(Imperial Waltz playing) Signing Out,
In the noise, there was nothing to be heard. I tried and ultimately tried to imagine what could possibly be hidden in the crypticness of the sound. I imagined old grandmother's advice and young mother's questions. I thought about confessions and secrets, that were lost to the wind and swept up in the noise. There was suddenly a whole new dimension added to the seemingly annoying cackling in between the stations. There were stories that were yet untold, people yet unheard and lives yet unlived, all weaved inside the noise. There was much to be heard in the world that does not merit a listen. Songs, poems, writings and journals in the mind, all swirling in the white noise of life.
I stayed up for long, thinking about who all had lost their voices to the white noise of the world, the white noise of their lives and had become the background sound of humanity, which plays on amongst the babble of everything else that goes on. Wanting to know, whether I would too be lost in the white noise.
Hopefully not. Maybe I'll be the one that people listen to. Maybe I'll be more than just a cackle amongst the stations of life.
"Ignorance is Bliss"
"Knowledge is Power"
Reading a book titled, "The Kabul Beauty School" the other day, I realized why we forsake bliss and strive for knowledge. The bliss we know is almost puny in significance as compared to the feeling that comes with power.
The power to know, The power to change, The power to be so much more.
That is why we want more knowledge, we lust for the power it offers.
Reading the book made me realize that sitting here in my comfy chair and with my laptop and mobile, I am just incredibly lucky and blessed. I am happy and I can afford the priviledge of having a choice, something absolutely unheard of, not only in Afghanistan, but even in the heartland of my India. I have, in all respects, the power to be Me. Which is something I am truly greatful for.
Reading the book gave me the power to try and change something in me, think of changing society for the better and maybe, occasionally, change what I have been told can't be changed.
There is bliss in not knowing the wrong that happens, there is extraordinary bliss in choosing to shut out all but what is essential. It is comfortable, even pleasurable to exist in the confines of cocoon that all but threatens to expose you to the world. But then again, there is an undefined hope in being able to change the direction of life, there is a sudden peace in knowing that you have been a witness to someone's life and efforts. There remains a glow inside with the power to be more than what was asked of you.
Life becomes worth something, you know you can do something. You have the knowledge, the gentle push for the adventure you seek. Bliss is heartening, but Power, it is a strong and wily thing. It weaves itself into the fabric of your thoughts, till you die for more.
Which ultimately, comes from the knowledge of power.
This is definitely one of my favourite sketches, specially coz when I think of my home, I envisage the walls covered with plants like this..
This painting, I made when I was looking for some peace and quiet. Never thought I'd get it by painting it..
My Flying Dutchman.. I had fun doing this one, thinking of a story for each part of the ship I sketched..
Hehe, This is me in my dreams.. Thin, graceful and a dancer..
This one I made, simply because I love the Stuart Era and reading up about it. And the book cover was sexy!!!
My best so far (thats what I think).. Love the snow, Love the trees, Love everything in this..
Maybe (not) The Next Van Gogh
I am happy, so why do I write poems that make me feel sad?
I am content, so why must my mind dwell on the sufferings of life?
I live for the moment, so why do I then contemplate the future as I write?
I am what I am, so why do I contrast when I express with the pen and paper?
I am a poet, scared by the knowledge that the good ones die young, tortured in their minds.
I am an open book, these words are my soul and they lay in front of you, to be used as you see fit. I donot change myself when I write, yet somehow people see a side yet unknown in the words I spill. I say what I feel, writing about only what I know I can do justice to. Complex though it may be, I scribble down all that crosses my mind and intrigues it.
I am a writer, trawling on ahead, knowing that I may never see the light of day.
I try to be what I feel, but lack the ability to emote. I can only smile, cry a little and frown at best. One at a time. I'll try and look the part, but fail on more than occasion. I can be a character, a small one in an act, by fluke more than talent.
After all, I am not an actor.
Confused, Wondering And Thinking
This year, I decided to celebrate the spirit of Diwali, rather than the inane customs of the festival itself. As it happens of every major festival, I sleep late the night before and am in no mood to get up early the next day. Thus, my mood is always bad till the mid-afternoon. Around that time, I start getting into the feel of it all. Today, against my lazier tendencies, I went along with my mother to wish Happy Diwali to her aunt, who always looks forward to our visit. Very shamefully, I didn't really talk to her all that much, because I was fast alseep in my head. Then, against the want of going home and hitting the bed, I went to buy a long due birthday gift for a friend. Against all odds, I did go and give it to her too. In the evening, instead of putting up a hue and cry over the number of candles my father had gotten, I quitely put all of them and later on, for the first time I truly felt like it was Diwali. Then, after the puja, instead of putting the last Diya in front of our garage, as we do, I chose to give it to the watchman of our colony, who couldn't be at home. Lastly, I went and wished our muslim neighbours a happy diwali as well, who had put up a diya in front of their house, even though it is not their festival. Everything, well and truly out of character. Otherwise, every year, a week before diwali, i'll put a huge fuss about how I never get to celebrate Diwali properly. Occasionally I'll go nuts over the idea of an all out Diwali bash and pester my mother to no end about it till it dies down within the hour. I'll always compare my family's celebrations to my those of my friends. But in all honesty, I hardly mind. My diwali is by choice, something I realized today. It's happily limited to lighting candles, lamps, performing the family puja and making sure that my dog is not too spooked by the crackers.
All in all, I felt, these small things are what we have fast forgotten about. Diwali has ceased to be a time when old relations were met, friendships were strengthened and giving gifts was a show of love rather than opulence. There was a time, when people where made to feel indispensable by visiting them, rather than dispensing them off with chauffer delieverd gifts. Diwali once meant the day of homecoming rather than remembering those who are separated, in body and in spirit. Diwali is forgotten as the festivals of lights and known for the din of crackers that invade every part of your being. Crackers, that again are difficult to burst when you think of the amount they scare your dog, aggravate your mother's coughing and ruin the childhoods of many little children who huddle in sweatshops to make them. Thinking about it, we've pretty much bypassed the whole "community comes together-people love their life-new beginnings" point of it alltogther.
Makes me wonder, what was the point of Diwali again?
Me n IDG: Hum Patthar, Hum Raj!
*SMSing the revelation to D n N*
D n N: Hum Patthar, Hum Raj!
Us: We should get a tee made with this written on it.
Me: What did you do today?
N: I took a cake and my mobile out for a walk today.
Me: You did what?
N: You didnt get my sarcasm.
Me: Yeah, my tummy's better.
D: See, Potty solves everything
N: The smartbook of smart comments by smartass!
N: No, Domb-Aess. Gujarati style.
(Rap music playing on our mobiles)
Me n my friends: Let's do garba.
P: When you get married, I'll come stay next door and disturb you every morning.
Me n D: Why would you do that?
P: Because I love you!
Me: Then why do you pretend to hate me?
Me, D and A: *Talking crap*
V: Do I Tell You Something?
Me: *in my thoughts* Don't you always?
D: Don't you always?
*After discovering that apart from DNA, we have a lot in common*
D: Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. What The Kachara Mahn??? We are so Twinish.
Me: *thinking to myself* What's twinish? You are twins or you are not twins.
Me: We are recording something here. Can you people not be serious for once?
A: Oh, you didnt tell us.
*When D was supposed to be a married woman in a video*
Me: You're getting married. yeyeye!
D: What the Kachara Mahn? There's even a kissing scene. On the hand
*Not hearing the 'On the hand' part*
Me: OH MY GAWD! Your first kiss! On camera! With Somebody You'll Meet For The First Time. I wish you could see me grinning.
D: I can hear your grin on the phone. Now SHUT UP!
Me: You're getting married!
D: Yes, I know woman.
Me: You're getting married.
A: My mobile is my baby!
D: That must have been easy to give birth to.
N: Mechanical Baby?? Dumbass!
*When we say or realize something potentially stupid or embarassing*
N: *Dripping with sarcasm* Oops!
V: What do I eat?
V: Cheee, no!
*after reciting the whole menu*
V: I'll have maggi.
Me n D: Bhindy! Bhangi!
V: *disgusted* Whaat?
Me: Kalavati stole my kajal.
V: You send the most shocking messages at the most unexpected times.
N: Write an objective report on how Kalavati stole your kajal & how she became a kleptomaniac & discuss it in Cherian's class.
Me: Someday, I will.
Me: *in a high pitched squeaky voice* Arre Dimple, tu aajkal school kyun nahi aata? Main tujhe kitnaaaaaaaaaaaa miss karti hun!
V: *in the same voice* Arre Pinky, main tujhe kya bataun? Mere pappa ki toh daari hi nahi fix hoti. Woh sharm ke maare gaadi bhi ghar se nahi nikalte. Main kya karun? Kuch bata naa, Pinky meri jaan.
*The rest in hysterical fits of laughter*
We Put The "In" In "Insanity"
Conspiring with him how to load and blessWith fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run"
- Ode To Autumn, John Keats
Autumn's here. I can feel it, I can see it. Its my favourite season, yet it's sad. The start of such a beautiful season, is with impending death.
Autumn is well and truly here, when little flying insects overtake the sky and buzz everywhere without fail. They're impossible to escape in the nighttime, yet there is a sense of pity when they all die in the mornings, having lived just long enough to further their species.
Autumn shows itself, with the yellowing of leaves and bushes, with the slow death of the crown of the tree. As each one of them, majestic or not sheds their leaves, they shed a sense of belonging.
Autumn is the time to start anew, with the fresh winds and unexpected rains fulfilling all joys of the world, yet does anything much survive through the harshness of the storms and buffeting of the dust?
Autumn is a special season, here comes the real test of friendships.
Autumn means the colours of the earth will take over and dominate, regretfully blocking out the bright blues, greens and reds. And purple's.
Autumn means the start of a winter, harsh and unforgiving in its loss of Persephone.
Autumn is there to forgive all that you did wrong earlier, but then again, who'll forgive the sins of the season?
Autumn means, Its time for us to start singing Keat's Ode To Autumn again. And praise it for its introspective beauty.
Looking Forward To A Purple Autumn
To all those who believe that secularism has lost its way in India, I'll ask, says who? The only thing lost is the the identity of what India is.
India has never truly existed in Mumbai's and Delhi's and Kolkatta's or Chennai's. Neither do the supposed "small" towns of Nagpur, Kanpur, Ranchi, Hyderabad or Ahemdabad. India loses it culture of love and compassion in the towns.
It finds itself again in the heartlands of the nation. India exists truly in the small kasbah's and villages where the whole community will still gather under the shady banyan tree for the Panchayat. Where they will all sit and discuss each other's problems without cyncism and with a belief that they can help. India lives in the cities where cultures clash and collide, yet never erode each other, they just weave together to create an inseparable pattern. India is incredible, as long as it re-discovers itself in the beauty of the eyes of children who cross the boundaried of caste, creed and religion to have fun. It is a country where unity is in diversity when a house of worship is not a temple, a mosque, a church or a gurudwara. It is "uparwaale ka ghar" (House of the one above) and stays that.
India lives in places where the rich families send money and other little charities to make sure that the nearby places of worship are maintained. India redefines itself in the form of parents who have progressive views. They opt for education instead of marriage for their daughters. They feel proud to have daughters. India becomes the country it always was, with people whose lives become happy and full once again, forgetting the vacuum once created by riots, violence and bombings.
India is inside the hearts of its people, who choose to look at a person's heart instead of religion, nature instead of caste and values instead of sex.
As M.J. Akbar writes in his article, 'Deep inside India, secularism is a way of life', "India may lose itself in Delhi and Mumbai and Bangalore and Ahmedabad, but finds itself again and again in millions of Teliniparas."
Where are friendships formed? In the mind, In the heart or In the landscape of places symbolic to the lives of people..
Or maybe, like all things that matter to us, they are discovered in place which are linked to our childhood. Swinging on the slides, running around our grandparents house, becoming little kids all over again, sometimes that is all it takes to form a friendship in the truest sense of the word.
What is it about becoming children again, that changes the way we look at people altogether? Is it that only children perceive the world in a happier, more optimistic way yet probe the heart for the honesty that exists within? How is it that to be friends, we need to know the person at their childish best?
Or maybe, it is only when we were children did we not take the world for granted and wanted to know everything. And it was only with those friends that we could ponder on the mysteries of the universe forever. And be happy.
Who was that child? Did the artist just spot him and painted his face or did he wait till he found the perfect expression. What happened to him after he grew up? Did he become famous or was his face lost in the crowd like so many others? Did he even know that his innocent expression was recorded for posterity?
The characters, Olivia and the author have lives held together by the most fragile of strings. It's almost disconcerting to read about them and wonder when the last string will snap and their world will finally crash. You think, people shouldn't have to live childhoods like Olivia's, but they do. You'll say, love shouldn't be as complicated as it is for the author, but it is. Things shouldn't fall apart at a moments notice so easily but then can we stop them. And grown-ups should have their life all figured out, but then again who does?
The depiction of characters is also very simple leaving them as images of real people in our head, yet not defined enough for us to know them fully. Olivia is a recovering drug addict, sometimes prostitute, chosen by the author to baby-sit her children. Yet, she defies every stereotype of a junkie prostitute. She defies every type cast, yet fits in so well with the world at large. The author is divorcee, mum of two. She moves in life, in the way we move upstream. She crashes, only to be flung back in line by Olivia. The two change the very perspective on relationships altogether.
The book is hilarious sometimes, sometimes sad. The references to Paris are subtle, yet so over powering in their portrayal. The book explores so many emotions that I couldn't help but feel lost in the swirl of feelings that overwhelmed me. Its a wise novel, with the wisdom embedded in chunks of humour. Its a confusing read at times, espcially towards the end, but it all comes together when you look at your own life from the same perspective.
I won a poetry recitation competition in college today. It was in Hindi. My. Hindi. Sucks. Especially the spellings. It was unreal hearing my name being announced. I mean, this is a girl who left hindi language when she graduated from class 8th. I can manage colloquial, street, bambaiya and hinglish hindi. The grammatical and textbook one not so much.
To be honest, i copied a poem from my blog and translated it into hindi, which did take a fair amount of time. And work. Which, then paid off.
रात का अँधेरा कालीन सा फैला
दुनिया पर जैसे काला श्राप है आया
कौन हटाये इस अंधेर नगर को
कौन रात में राहत लाये
देख किसे दिल झूम उठता है
देख उसे प्यार का नगमा बज पड़ता है
इस से प्रेम हजारों ने किया है
नाम उसे चाँद का दिया है।
कलम हटाते हुए,
हिन्दी की लेखिका
I wonder how am I still here
And I don't want to move a thing
It might change my memory
Oh I am what I am, I do what I want, But I can't hide
And I won't go I won't sleep, I can't breathe
Until you're resting here with me
And I won't leave, I can't hide, I cannot be,
Until you're resting here with me"
The British artist, Dido probably wrote and sung this song for a boy. For me, it has somewhat different interpretations.
It's for everybody who went away, from sight but not from memory. Family, friends and an occasional friendly face in the crowd. It's for dreams that I've chased across the landscape of life till I woke up. It's for the shining and trusting eyes of childhood that become jaded as we grew up. It's for the belief that I have in all that matters to me. It's for the happiness I thought was given and granted to all. It's for the optimism that at the end of it all, we'll all be where we need to be.Signing Out,
I'd put strokes of orange across the ocean,
I'd dip the whole world in pink,
I'd take all the colours that Da Vinci had,
Since I was in a state of blissful oblivion, I didnt see that one of the exit gates at the platform was malfunctioning. It was permanently open and anybody could have walked out without having to check out with their card/token. Since I was half dazed and lost, I did check out the card and walked through, wondering why the gate was already open.
Considering what is heard about people in general, one would expect everybody to take complete advantage of the situation and walk out without having to pay for their metro ride. Expecting to see that, I hung around for 5 minutes near the gates. I didnt! Everybody who came for those five minutes saw the open door, yet checked out with their cards. Nobody took advantge of the freebie being offered, which is astonishing if we think about how Dilli-wallahs love free stuff.
Now, to me this was an eye opener. I never did expect such courtesy for rules and honesty. It's truly heart warming to know that even in the face of an easy freebie, people do what's right. They stick to their morals.
Or they were all as dazed and oblivious as me.
Sounds easy, but is really difficult when doing it practically. A thousand things keep coming up here and there and make your heart skip many beats. Its really tiring and exhausting, but worth it all in the end.
So, my video production was the first among all of the groups. Meaning I had no idea what to do and basically had to be prepared for any and every thing. Which I wasnt. I say "my" and "I" coz A. only one other girl in the group worked apart from me. Thanks Dude!!!! B. I was the only one who knew the whole show inside out. So, it was my idea, my script, my direction, my art direction and the other girl's untiring support, help and brains. Thanks again!!!
The show was based on Dance, Bhangra to be precise. I managed to get three of my close friends to be the talents for the show. And the fourth close one to lend me moral support. But if only life were that simple.
First, the idea was changed by the unceremonious butting in of a group member who actually had no idea what the entire concept was about.
Second, the script once written was changed three times by the teacher. That to days before the final shoot.
Third, the talents wanted the script changed. Had to do it.
Fourth, the set wasnt anywhere near ready and came very very close to being an absolute disaster. I thank my friends a.k.a. the PJ group and the aforementioned group member for making the set a success.
Fifth, one of the talents lost her voice. I had to take her place. Try being the director and actor at the same time. Phew!
Sixth, the show ran to only 8 minutes. I need to put 2 minutes worth of stuff in. Where from, is beyond me.
Seventh, I kept on remembering the fact that this was the final thing. This would be shown to the examiner and if it was crap, I lose marks. Period.
Even after all of this, we managed to pull through and make a good show! Although it did necessitate two and a half hours of having a numb ass, frozen limbs and constantly dulling voices and attitudes. The final take went off great, apart from a small glitch that hardly matters now.
Now that the video is done, I shift the focus onto the audio, which is providing an equal share of problems. I have no permission slip to get my talents inside the studio and it is driving me NUTS! Im pretty tempted to change my script to a female centric one and grab my friends again. Again, if only life could be that simple!
Calmly Losing It
I have lost interest in eating good nutritional food. Gimme pepsi, noodles and all that junk for all I care. Its not like I have a career in modelling awaiting me. I've lost interest in doing homework, because it hardly seem to be worth the effort. Except for the psychology one maybe.
Also gone, is the fanatic pleasure derived from networking sites viz Facebook and Orkut. Ditto for commenting on photos.
Bollywood and Hollywood are boring. Ever since we've started seeing critically acclaimed cinematic masterpieces for a college paper, the crass juvenile toilet humour genre of movies seems sickeningly disgusting. Im sure Rock On! will be an ultra-awesome watch but i truly believe nothing can compare to the baring of human emotions by Selma in Dancer in the Dark.
I am extremely disappointed in some friends at the moment. Apparently they think I talk shit sometimes. NEWS FLASH: Friendship means taking somebody's shit and making a joke out of it.
The telly is a piece of crap as well it seems. Hardly a good show on. And the ones that are absolutely awesome, donot fit in with my timings. (I need a TiVo)
After a month and a half, the thrill of public transportation escapes me. Give me a chauffer any day! Or atleast on Saturdays.
The internet is a bloody bore now. I detest having to read up for doing homework/tv scripts online. Especially when a few people I wait for doggedly on the messenger deign never to show up.
Seems like I've become bored of all that I like and love. I've become disinterested in general. It's sad. Except for chocolate maybe, I still love and adore chocolate the same. After all, somethings you can never tire of.
Like the woman we see on the metro everyday, who asks us to "adjust". What she doesnt get is that no matter how much we adjust, she is too fat to fit.
Like the college admission incharge, who feels the irrepressible need to take a holiday on the very day that the exam forms need signatures.
Like the people who send you "I would like to do fraandshep with you" requests on Orkut.
Like the person who calls you a "loads of ice princess" when you deny the requests.
Like the people in my audio-video production group, who seem to have developed extreme short term memories when it comes to doing work.
Like the people who dont come to class and become agitated when they cant understand a word later on. Or fail.
Like the drivers who think all those driving slower than them are morons and the ones driving faster are maniacs.
Like somebody who thinks they are entitled to be called "Dr." just coz they did their doctorate in Physical Education. And then act like God.
Like those who dont laugh unless there is a very good reason.
Like those who cant spend an hour being childish, silly and immature.
Like those who take even the most inane matters in a serious vein
Like those who dont appreciate the fun life provides them with.
Like those who read posts on blogs, like them but donot comment.
Not-so-Weird After All
Moon above a parking lot
Lights on the road
View of a car from inside my car!
Beggars at a red light
Not Perfect. Not like I had thought.
Perfection. Do we need it? Never once do we stop and look at our imperfections and see how beautiful they can be, lovable in their own way. Life is and always will be almost perfect. So will all else in it. We look for the perfect world, the perfect solution, the improvement in all things we know to make it perfect. We search for the non-existent.
I am not perfect. I lack so much. I cant sing and dance beautifully like others. I carry on in my own tuneless stepless way. I cant act but I do over-act and emote exaggeratedly. Im not thin but I try to look nice in whatever I wear. I am not logical, not good at science, very bad at maths and my mind tends to jump between reality and fantasy. But I'm happy. Isnt that perfection enough?
Sunny Skies are not for me. I dont like the sunshine all that much. It plays havoc with my hair and skin, not to mention the uneven tan. I love overcast skies, the windy days, dust storms and thunderstorms. They have an unique appeal to them. Its almost as if somebody up there is in a playful mood. There is a fanatic energy to grey clouds as a deep rumbling erupts amidst them. The rain becomes almost violent in its downpour, pounding on every surface it can find. The wind plays a beautiful harmony with the leaves it rushes through. The thunder clashes with the sounds of life and plays up the contrast so well.
One of the greatest pleasures in life is to sit in front of my window and watch the dust move around in gusts, well matched with the dusky sky. Activites come to a standstill during "bad" weather, but its the time when Life wakes up. Wakes up and smells the moist ground, the humid air and the dusty atmosphere. People like me have an urge to go out and let the wind, rain and dust envelop them. Its a very feel good thing to do, when you're wet and dirt laden at the same time. Somehow, its the damp, dusty, sulky atmosphere at dusk that excites me and makes me want to stand outside forever. Its just my love for a change from the ordinary I guess.
Standing In Her Dusty Sky
No-one wishes to take responsibility for all that is their doing. Politically, not many parties would readily accept the consequences of their actions. Caste and Class based disharmony is rampant during the campaigns. Who will say, "We are sorry we divided a harmonious community on such degrading and antiquated lines."? Nobody. For many reasons. No guts, No accountability, No reason to look back at the mess they create. Duties are tossed from one government organization to the other like a hot coal.
Living in a a somewhat cocooned world till a few months back, I may not be very aware as to how the blame game works in the ground root political system, but I can see it loud and clear on TV. The BJP and Congress seem to spend most of the government sessions blaming the PM. The smaller supporting parties blame the inefficient work of the opposition (even if they are a part of it). The opposition blames the Speaker of the House. The Speaker, poor chap can usually not blame anyone so he blames the rules of his conduct when he takes a lenient or strict stand. When everything and everyone involved in the Lok Sabha has been blamed, suspicion turns to the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha blames the Lok Sabha back. They both gang up and blame the President, who in turn blames the completely useless post (s)he has been given by the constitution. Then comes the turn of whomsoever even vaguely participated in the framing of our constitution. When all of India is exhausted, blame Musharraf. That done, there are numerous other countries to blame. If by that time, there is still some energy left to blame, God is always there to be a scapegoat. That done, everybody says "It is the will of God" and shuts up.
Those children not taking responsibility for their own actions may seem trivial now but ultimately it's going to be us who'll have to take the blame for not teaching them better.
Not Wanting To Play The Blame Game
by Antara Anand
A child walked down the road with a copy
Letting no one look inside
No one would ever know what was written
This the child then swore.
Stopped when dark clouds thundered
Stopped under the shade of a tree
Mixing a tear with the rain
Let out a simple plea for mercy
Asked God "what had I done,
To deserve this from you?
You bless the others with such talents
Couldnt you bless me too?"
As the child stopped crying,
a calm voice he heard
Looked around to find not a soul
From whom came these words
"What talent do you lack my child?
Tell me, tell me now" The child replied
"I lack the ability to be logical,
I donot ask the question how
I cannot do calcuations
I donot want to know of the sciences
All I have is the ability to write
To put on paper what I see
Tell me is that any talent?
What use is it to me?"
Came the voice again, it said
"My child, you have the gift of words.
You have the priviledge to let
Men express what they feel
They look to you to say what they
Want but can never chance to say
You are a poet of the heart
You break open the wax seal
That silences the world to know
The emotions it can feel"
Still not convinced the child asked
"Then why do they laugh at me so?"
God said, "Because they admire you,
Jealous they can be, didnt you know?
They cannot use the ink like you can
Words escape their hands
They wish to be the wizard that you are
Using the pen as your wand."
The rain then stopped, the clouds parted
A change had taken place.
From under the tree came a child
No longer afraid, with a smile
Everybody would one day see what he had
Written, this the child then swore.
Feeling For That Child
So the news channels werent content with this. Oh no! They wanted a piece of the action. C'mon, what good is a channel if they dont present a 24x7 coverage of the world perishing? So, they did their own "Highly complicated and technical calculations" to discover that the actual intelligent scientists had it all wrong. Thus followed a myraid of possible armageddon dates. In chronological order they are:
29th November 2007: Total Tv announces that Lord Shiva is really angry at us less-than-moral people and plans to start a humanity ending Tandav pretty soon. Now the question here is, will he kill only hindu's or people from all religions? That would be unfair, considering they have no idea as to what's going on!
2nd January 2008: IBN7 and India TV tried to grab the most eyeballs by predicting the end on 31st Jan '08 due to an asteroid colliding with the earth. They asked all viewers to get into their Anti-Collision Underground Bunkers (no, im not exaggerating) to survive. Boy, they must have been pretty surprised when they ventured out of their own on the first of feb.
Somewhere in April 2008: Sahara Samay found minute traces of mercurium onshore Goa. Immediate end due to radiation, they claimed. There was widespread SMS panic. People were actually enquiring whether any "Puja" or "Yagya" would save their ass. This news finally went of the air when some class 9th student called in to say, "There is no mercurium in India!". This was one hilarious coverage.
Late June 2008: India TV had a very long running show on abducted cows in Australia, complete with animated images of UFO's beaming in cows like Scotty of Star Trek fame (yes, i know there was no scotty! but that is the phrase most people remember). After no major response from viewers, they announced that the aliens were building a bovine army to wipe us off the planet and destroy it!
Now that was the last straw. A bovine army? Seriously? What did they plan to do, chew us like cud? It didnt get to me at first, but when I did get into a journalism course at college, I had a fleeting moment of terror that I may actually have to join such channels and report news such as this. Really Horrifying! These reports have stopped for the time being, though Im sure they'll make a comeback when the TRP's drop.
My World Intact.
The metro card or the "Smart Card" is one anxiety inducing thing in my life. Since I have to use it everyday, it stays with me all the time. When I leave home, my first thought is that I left the card at home. This is followed by a thorough search of my bag, after which the card is discovered in my jeans pocket. When I get to the station, I'm sure I've run out of balance in the card. After I have checked the balance and done the mental calculations as to how many days the money will last, I put a reminder in my mobile to get the card re-charged. As a result, I have reminders after every second day.
I finally get into the train and since my pockets usually have a number of things stuffed inside them, I have to check for the card everytime I take something out. It doesnt matter which pocket it is from, I end up checking just the same. I guess it must look pretty conspicous on the train, but it's a habit now. When I get off, the card goes back into my bag where it is left alone for the day. The entire routine starts again when its evening and I go back home.
Invariably, as it always happens, I lost my card. It must have dropped out when I was fishing my iPod in and out of my pocket. No major loss, close to just 80 bucks. Now I've become more of a nervous wreck than before. I could be lost in the middle of the desert without water, food or any other means of survival but I'll be comforted by the card. I need to see it sitting on my drawer every few hours else I become panicky.
I wish they'd upgrade the cards. Put in some features that'll prevent them for getting lost. Something like, a siren sounding if they fall down. Or maybe, a sign flashing on them saying "Im lost. My owner is so and so. Send me back!". Maybe attach the cards onto the back of the mobile phone. Or ask Dolce&Gabbana to make a stylized necklace of a Smart Card that we could wear everyday!
Keeping My Card Safe And Sound
~ College tomorrow.. *sigh*
~ What if it were school?
~ I'd be jumping for joy
~ Pretend its school then
~ Not possible
~ Shut Up! College tomorrow.. *sigh*
~ I'm Fat
~ Then exercise
~ I'm so Fat!
~ Hello, dude! I said, "Exercise"
~ I make it difficult for me to ignore myself, dont I?
~ God, well does he exist?
~ Hmm, why does it matter?
~ Dunno. If he does, then I can be fatalistic all my life and be happy
~ I ran in a puddle today
~ I felt like feeling like a child who feels like getting wet
~ If I know everything about myself, am I self - actualised? Or am I the next big "guru"?
~ If you do, then you are a miracle. Or you dont have much to know about
~ Why must I rain on my own parade?
~ Ask yourself
~ I dont have the answers. I'm trying to know a me that does
~ Quit confusing your own self
~ (after i wake up) What should I do today?
~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Dance
~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Paint
~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Read A Book!
~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Atleast brush your teeth first
~ (lazy me) Sleep
~ (active me) Oh WTF! Just sleep!
~ (lazy me) Yayy! Donot disturb!
The animal and plant population of the world is depleting at an alarming rate. Conservationists all over the world are trying to find newer ways to increase populations of such species in the wild. Captive breeding programs have found some degree of success, but need a lot more funding to continue. If you cannot contribute directly then the following may suffice: