Saturday, February 19, 2005

"God Bless You Please....."

All resolutions to put everything else on hold and concentrate on studying for exams that are fast-approaching were abandoned immidiately post conception yesterday ,when I heard the opening strains of this song.

"Are you going to scarborough fair?
Parsley , sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me , to the one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine...."

A couple of weeks ago my dad bought a DVD of the recording of Simon and garfunkels' Concert In the Park (1981) . And of all the days , they had to choose yesterday , the day I chose to renew all efforts to focus , the weakest moments of a laziness-addict , to watch it.

For god's sake , could they have just not stuck to watching their usual Friends , News Radio ...routine. The sort of t.v that I can insulate myself from. And not be drawn to.

And so , there I was sitting in my room , trying hard to focus on the probability of an electron being able tunnel through an 'impenetrable' barrier and other such 'complex' concepts and suddenly , I find myself singing . Well, singing along was more like it. I steeled myself to concentrate, and then looked down determinedly at my notebook only to realise that I hadn't written a thing in the ten minutes that I thought I was absorbed in solving a problem.

So I promised my conscience that I would only take a tiny break , just to get something to snack and take a sneak peek at what they were watching.

I walked purposefully into my parents bedroom ,the stride of someone who was busy and is annoyed at being interrupted. Then I said something redundant like "oh, you are watching the concert is it???" . As though I did'nt know that..Ha.

I declared to the world in general and to assuage (is that right?) my conscience..."Hey...This is My Favourite Song..I think I'll just stay a minute and watch this... I'll go after that because I cannot afford to waste anymore time . Got to get back to work."

Two hours later: I've watched the entire concert..Even the 10 minutes that I missed initially and I'm in the midst of having a heated discussion with dad about Simon and garfunkel and why they broke up and whose fault it was and how sad it is, about their new tour and how I seem to have shamelessly adopted my dad's taste in music , books and many other things.

(I resent that. I can't help it if my dad's older than me , has read and heard stuff before me and likes the same things as I do . But it's my own taste. I cannot also help the fact that he filled the house with music and books that I happened to like. I don't like it just because he does...I have my own senses and my own mind ..Thank you very much Appa.)

Basically , I think Simon and Garfunkel are cat's whiskers and definitely my favourites of all time. There is something about Paul simon's lyrics , Art garfunkel's voice ....The Boxer , Sound Of Silence, Homeward Bound , Mrs. Robinson , Bridge over troubled waters , America , American Tune , Dangling conversation, Old friends , I am a rock , For Emily ...and ofcourse Scarborough Fair...are the sounds I have grown up on .

I relate to them , feel stirred by their music and touched by their words , both of which I have come to know so well. Every song is so special and reminds me of some fleeting moment that it has inexplicably come to be associated with .

My earliest memories of my childhood, In fact , are of my dad singing Scarborough fair or Bridge over troubled water to me. Carrying me in his arms, he would walk up and down the room ,singing softly , trying to get me to sleep.

When I was 5 or 6 ,I remember, he'd come home early from work and we'd sit in his room and he'd take out his guitar and play all of these songs .I guess I learnt them way back then. And then there was our old panasonic portable cassette player. We must have listened to that one cassette that we had ,thousands of times.

Road trips , that was when we'd play these songs so loudly. (Dad is a believer of Louder Is Better) . NH-4 has resonated with the echoes of simon's lyrics year after year when we'd drive down to bangalore for christmas.

And now as I write this , their CD plays in the background.
I am reminded of the time when I first realised that it was 'whores' not 'hoarse' that Paul Simon was singing.. and that's when the lyrics of The Boxer made so much more sense. (It's my dad's fav song..) I truly fell in love with their music when I begun to understand the depth in their lyrics .

I have listened spell bound to the profound even philosophical words coupled with the haunting music , drinking in the sounds and drowning in it all. I remember this one time , when I first watched Almost Famous , The opening scene is of the kid listening to S&G , I think it was "America" ...and it was so haunting..I got goose bumps.

When I was little , I guessed I liked them 'cos I heard them all the time and my parents liked them. Now , I just love the poetry and the music for itself. For my dad , these songs take him back to his childhood .I can see the wistful look in his eyes and sometimes I think he is secretly proud that I have independently come to love and enjoy something that he loves so much.

More than anything else ,what makes these songs so special is all the times my dad and me have sung them together. In a time when my dad and I find it hard to let a day go by without having some sort of altercation , when I find myself wishing and longing for the days when I will be independent and out of the house, this remains our strongest link.(apart from a love for P.G wodehouse as well...well I'll save that for another

(Assuming he's not too pissed off with me over something ) I need only to start singing any of Simon and garfunkel's songs and in a while , my dad joins in . Perhaps just humming or whistling along and then softly singing and maybe even keeping sync with me.

And these are the moments , so seemingly insignificant, that I will truly cherish for years. I wonder if when I am old , I will sing these songs with my children and they will see me wear the same wistful look that I see in my father eyes now.

P.S: You must congratulate me. I have successfully curbed the urge to post all of simon and garfunkels lyrics on this blog. I think they are extremely profound and so beautiful and if it was not for the dire threat of not being read by my few readers , I would. Perhaps , I'll dare to pepper my posts with them occasionally in future.Oh and If you are not a fan and are wondering , the title is from their song Mrs. Robinson.

P.P.S: Paul (McCartney)and Ringo , If you are reading...I love The Beatles a whole bunch as well...Almost as much as I like Simon and Garfunkel. Almost.

For lyrics and blah...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Driftwood in white water...

Like the walls of a dam that are developing cracks from the extraordinary pressure of water trying to bore through , I find myself straining to keep my mind and wits from collapsing. The intense urge to express all that is bottled up , the frustrating , pent-up emotion and thoughts is enormous. These thoughts that churn in my soul, going round and round, turn into poison with every passing second and make me feel as though I will suffocate and die . These thoughts consume most of my waking moments .

And yet when I put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard , I just choke up and nothing constructive emerges from the misery.So I have had no vent. And the poison kept accumalating.

The cause of desolation is, as always ,manifold. In my case,it is seemingly insignificant . What I mean is , it pales in comparison to the myriad trials that so many people must endure . The feeling of being on the verge of being defeated is so revolting and yet it is something I cannot seem to help. Like free falling from the top of a high cliff. Enough time to think , Enough time to realise that you are just going down and there is nothing whatsoever that you can do to change it. Worse still is the realisation that these 'trivialities' are capable of wrecking havoc on my life and that scares me more than anything else.

The sinking , sinking feeling. Like you are caught in a vortex , sucked towards the centre , unable to escape the mighty power that has dug its claws deep into your being and is pulling you deeper and deeper into the abyss.

I hate it that I can be melodramatic. I hate it that I am fully aware that I am wallowing in the depths of self-pity . I hate it that I am completely not in control of my life and destiny.I hate it that I am starting to make other people around me miserable.

What gives me comfort is that I am in familiar territory. I have been here once before. And I have managed to extricate myself. So, I languish , while anticipating the tide to ebb and me to ride home the wave .

And so, I'm the log of driftwood that is tossed by the river's current and is temporarily at it's mercy ,in the throes of it's turbulence. (Ironic..Always wanted to go white water rafting) .The log never sinks despite being submerged on several occasions and it is in that hope, of emerging ,tried but alive , that I even consider waking up every morning.

Therefore, I allow myself to smile and pretend to the world because ,sure , everything is not perfect and I want to just sleep in most days and not see anyone and read depressing poetry in a room with the blinds drawn all day and all that.

And sure, for now my laugh is fake , but soon the sun will shine , the turbulence will pass , I will want to get up , and read happy , mushy poetry again , and I will discard my sombre mask and my eyes shall yet smile.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Year Of Physics...And My Two Weeks

Albert Einstein came up with Relativity a hundred years ago. 'Came up' is really far closer to the truth than you would imagine. And he admitted as much. Creativity is what differentiates a theorist from an experimenter. The leap of ,what you may unscientifically call , faith. The spark that transcends what you can see . (Well I can go )

And so, we celebrate that event as a sort of centenary of the birth of modern science. Much cause to celebrate?? Well, to many it is . Especially people who spend their lives furthering our knowledge of the universe. Since I'm hoping that there is some part of my brain that will cooperate with me in my intention of undertaking precisely the same vast and ambitious pursuit as the gods and geniuses that have preceded me, It is quite a significant year for me as well. A beginning of what is to come. (I hope..)

But only time will tell...

In any case ,at long last... The time to write. The past couple of weeks have been really busy. At first I was busy pretending to be busy , which all of you non-pretenders don't realise , is a pretty tough job. Convincing a lot of people that you are purposefully occupied and therefore deserve the right to stay out of class and yet get attendance is quite a feat.

All the time spent pretending to be busy and instead reading, going back home to sleep , listening to music etc. has to have massive repercussions. So, consequently , all of last week , I had to do all that I had pretended I was doing the previous week and all the other miscellaneous things that had to be done anyway last week..right before our physics fest. So I have been running round in circles trying to accomplish everything in time.And I did.

Now, I'm not complaining. This is the sort of situation , I am quite familiar with and consequently , extremely capable of handling. The only problem is that ,everyone else around me seems to get terribly flustered and therefore they try to interfere and/or lecture. And that sort of intrusion into my space is enough to obstruct my functioning on fifth gear. Again, however, it is something that I have learnt to deal with. I can hardly expect everyone else to keep calm when a quiz that is to be conducted the next day , is just beginning to take shape in my brain the night before.

But trust is what it's all about. And trust they must. For god's sake these people know me. Semester after semester they have watched in wonderstruck awe , my skills at negating the repercussions of repeated procrastination. My record , supposedly a product of a semester's worth of lab work , is done ,magically ,over two nights . And sometimes even on one. I think what annoys everyone is that I get away with it. That I am able to handle that kind of pressure. And the fact that they can't leaves them frustrated and itching to meddle in my immense capacity to work under extreme pressure in the last minute.

Well, I feel sorry for them . They do not know the joys of adrenaline rushing through their system . If you're thinking that I am not dependable and might be a horror of an organiser. I assure you , you cannot be more wrong. All the people in charge were blissfully unaware of my progress (or lack thereof.) and my skills at being convincing were employed to convince them that all was well and right on track. And they were happy. And now that it's all over and everything worked out just fine. So am I.

I did my fair share of fretting ,worrying and being tense but it is something that helps in the process. It stimulates the grey cells. A sort of inspiration to get one's butt moving and do something decent.

So, two sleepless nights in a row and I had the quiz and crossie (along with the devil her due) all done. And it turned out to be not half as bad as I thought it might. In fact , it was quite gratifying to have people come up and tell us that we did a real nice job. Ofcourse it could have been so very much better , but that's not the point.

And the crossie , I guess to a pro it would have seemed very juvenile..But it was our first time with crosswords , and sure , every clue was'nt of The Economic Times or The Hindu standard , but considering neither of us have ever solved crosswords before , it might be thought quite commendable that we came up with whatever we did. Ofcourse that is a matter of one's perspective. It was, however, the general concensus..and I was satisfied.

One only realises how much work goes into a thing when one is responsible for setting it up. Until then , you are critical of organisers, sarcastic when things are'nt going the way they are supposed , cynical about measly prizes et al. And then you find yourself in a position of responsibility and as might be obvious , your perspective drastically changes and you realise how entirely difficult and complex it can be to manage even a small event.Anyway , it was fun ,and I have learned a lot, even though there were several glitches.

The nicest thing about the two day 'fiasco' was getting to hear Prof. Balakrishnan for a bit...That was so nice.(for lack of a better word) Maybe more on that later. This post is as it is getting too long.

Note to self: Learn to enjoy being in the moment. Even if it means dealing with pesky juvenile boys.

P.S: I learnt more physics researching and looking up stuff to prepare for the quiz than I have done in the past two years. It has been a source of great amusement to my parents to find my nose in a book and me surrounded by more than a dozen books at least count , every night , for the past two weeks. Drink to that continuing is what they say..and maybe I should... lol

P.P.S: Have tried to achieve closure today, as rachel put it , minus getting drunk and leaving idiotic messages on answering machines. A clean slate and all that...Just deleted all messages , mails , phone no.s etc. in a fit of intending to move on and strengthened resolve not to waste any more time thinking about certain people. (Any other suggestions are welcome...).I think I should drink to that as well.

P.P.P.S: And since we are drinking...I need to drown my embarrasment ... Let's commend my dept. on it's wonderful Faux Pas regarding Prof. Balakrishnan. ...I'm sure he thinks we are the most ill-mannered bunch of people in town... I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me when it happened...Atticus and co. You guys , thanks for helping out with everything. Especially when I was about to lose my cool...One more round for