If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on now,
cause theres too many places Ive got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldnt be the same.
cause Im as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I cant change.
Bye, bye, its been a sweet love.
Though this feeling I cant change.
But please dont take it badly,
cause lord knows Im to blame.
But, if I stayed here with you girl,
Things just couldnt be the same.
Cause Im as free as a bird now,
And this bird youll never change.
And this bird you can not change.
Lord knows, I cant change.
Lord help me, I cant change.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
It's raining now. The autumn colours are out in the dulling splendour. It's 1 in the afternoon and I don't have any class today. I decided not to go anywhere because I wasn't in the mood for it. I was reading a book, which I just finished. I have to go to the bank around 2:30 or so..
I've been really listening to a lot of music. You know, there are spells where one finds that the notes seem to rise up and penetrate one's ears with such intensity and clarity that you can savour it with more than just your hearing....
I thought I would write for a bit. There have been so many thoughts coursing through my head - this last one week has been so strange! I've had this intense, serious face on. Is it that I've had a lot of time? Or have I just been thinking too much?
I'm beginning to like honesty more and more. Is that a funny kind of statement to make? I find that I'm losing interest in posing and pretending. Which is not to say that I don't still do it. I do. It's just that I recognize it a lot more and consequently I'm trying to tell the truth as much as I can. Not just out of fear of being seen through. But I'm getting tired of it for some reason. The posturing leaves me feeling tired and guilty. It's strange - since, all my life I've survived on portraying myself as such and such - a different face for everyone!
There is somehow a comfort in the nakedness of it. I groan inwardly everytime I am talking to someone and I find myself trying to seem more knowledgeable than I am - A trigger, that hardly would tug at those conscience strings before.
I find myself more pensive. Seeing myself for who I am, a little even if not very clearly. I have for example, realised that I am a very simple , mostly uncomplicated human being. I would like the enigma of being complex and misunderstood. But if I look beyond the superficial things, I see that I am not chasing after a glorious future. I am not chasing after enlightenment. I am not eaten by the desire to know why the universe exists. (Although, maybe if someone finds out I would be very interested to know what it is.)
This realisation has brought one very dramatic change in my outlook. I find myself not looking down on people whose approach to life is even simpler than mine. I am understanding why some people may want to stay at home and chant mantras and be content with just that. It's all a question of where you draw the line - At which point is one content to leave questions unanswered!
I'm curious. But not as curious as I thought I was. Or perhaps I'm not as curious as I thought I wanted to be. I find myself realising that so much of everything was/is part of the masks that I wear. And getting rid of some of them is unsettling but I feel strangely and gradually relieved. Don't ask me when this happened. It has been an accumalation of thoughts over quite a while now. And I think it started with meeting A. Which is when I decided I wanted to be absolutely honest - not after years of getting to know them, but right up from the start.
I do not know if I will revert to my inherent insecurities. I know that they still exist and it will take time and much persistence to make them disappear. But I think I am on the right track. Whether serendipitous or not, I am experiencing a sense of clarity in introspection that I did not expect or even ask for.
I'm beginning to question everything. What I want from my life. What gives me happiness. (Something I always seemed to have a ready answer for) I don't know anymore. I think I always suspected that I didn't really know. Hence all the deliberation and not very much action. I suppose one might dismiss all this as 'growing up' or 'maturing' or something. But these are such hard learned truths that I'm hardly inclined to accept that it was a process that was just waiting to happen.
A lot of this introspection had to do with a conversation I had with G. I spoke to him for three hours a couple of weeks ago. And we talked about his philosophy to life(he has one!) and he was explaining why he did or didn't do certain things. His quest to figure things out... I wonder if that makes him a more restless spirit. But by all appearances, he is at all times content and although seemingly weird to everyone else, I know he enjoys himself to the hilt. He is happy.
I've known for a while now that my happiness is not necessarily to be attained in a similar way. I think the one thing we did agree on was that everybody has their own salvation. It's not one universal heaven for everyone.
Anyway, I'm still much confused about everything. I'm questioning my motives for every action. (Am I writing this to seem more intellectual, introspective etc.) You see my line of thinking.. I don't know. I hope not. I think I'm mostly writing this for release. Some very funny changes are already beginning to happen in me. It's all so strange. But I'm beginning to understand why some things are the way they are. and that can't be a bad thing can it?
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
It's 10 PM and I'm tapping away at my much used keyboard. I've had about a glass and a half of white wine and I can feel the faintest signs of a headache coming on. The glass stands idly beside my laptop, unsipped in ten minutes. It is half empty. I'm in a strange mood. I'm listening to Malaguena on the guitar. I'm thinking of nothing in particular. The plucking of the guitar occupies most of my consciousness.
The song ends.
I should finish the wine and go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day.
Moral of the story : The words shall flow better when the wine doesn't!
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I'm sitting at a corner table in a cafe in Brussels Central station trying very hard to make the tiny 2 euros worth of cafe au lait last an hour. I'm slightly ticked off. I don't like being made to wait, certainly not for longer than ten minutes. I just made a phone call and was informed in a still slightly sleepy drawl that it shall probably be atleast an hour. It's 10 AM on a saturday and the station is bustling.
Old age and old people has always depressed me immensely and I suddenly don't feel so cheerful and excited about things anymore. And no, I have none of the arrogance of youth - I feel no disdain or contempt or even indifference. Infact, quite to the contrary, I am humbled, reminded of my mortality and human-ness, filled with contrition over my usual state of ingratitude for my senses and health. Everytime I see an old man shuffling in the cold , all bundled up ,or struggling to grip the railing of the bus with his arthritic fingers, my eyes just well up.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Life's shutters are down, locked shut for him. It is the sunset of his life. His face is etched with the hard lines of a life lived in resignation. But his eyes bewray all.
His gaze is intense,straight ahead, unafraid and yet so full of anguish. There is betrayal written all over his face. In that moment , the years of practice, making peace with his fate, swallowing desires, deserts him, he realises that he is indeed naked , that he has nothing, that he is the object of pity..
The click of the shutter is confirmation of his fear - that it is his stark nothingness that is the only reason he is the subject of another human's interest.
But then, I'm presuming... I don't know.. I want to ask..
Has he had much happiness?
Has he loved? Has he been loved?
Has he seen worse times?
Was his life spent trying to keep body and soul together??
Has he had better times?
Does he live in his past?
Does he feel forgotten? That life has passed him by?
Has he something to look forward to?
Does he still dream?
Then.. I look into his eyes and I think I know the answers..
Tears start to fall. .
P.S; A friend of mine with talent and an eye for interesting subjects took this picture.. The words are mine..
The artist and his response!
Dasan take a bow!
(You can check out some of his pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dasans/ - It's really good stuff!! )
Saturday, September 30, 2006
This a Picture that I took of a Rembrandt at the Rijks Museum. The painting is titled 'The Jewish Bride (A Loving Couple) ' .
All of us have our own sense of aesthetics. We look at something and we know if it appeals to our sense(s) or not. But, as I wandered around the Rijks Museum last weekend, it dawned on me that no matter how much I had read of art history, I needed to actually SEE a lot of art before i would be able to tell anything just by looking at a painting.
Art requires a lot of knowledge in order to be appreciated in its mulitude of facets. It isn't like music, which, if you are into, you can feel a stirring. It isn't as emotional. Or perhaps, I'm just not as responsive to a visual stimulus. Or it is something acquired with exposure? I'm not sure as yet.
Of one thing I am certain though, I am in awe. As I went through room after room, I wanted my eyes to dilate ten fold so I could catch minute details, about the paintings, that my eyes would not have otherwise caught. The little ridges in the canvas, uneven blobs of stray paint at the edges, everything.
I could just about distinguish a Rembrandt from a Vermeer. And even that, I think had more to do with the fact that I had looked at loads and loads of prints of many of the famous artists in one of my mad fits of interest in art.
Vermeer's (as made famous by the movie 'A Girl With Pearl Earring' - a painting that I wanted to see but looked for in vain ) works , I found, are a lot easier to understand. They have more colour, I think. And the subject matter is usually a scene from real life. For ex. "A Music Lesson" , "A Soldier And A Girl" etc.
Rembrandt's were very interesting as well. I will not venture to say anything about him. I don't know enough. His paintings seemed a lot more intense to me and they were a lot bigger too. I took a picture of this one because it seemed to me the most beautiful, plus it was one of the larger rembrandts. (If you find the picture a little dark , it's because one isn't allowed to use the flash while taking pictures )
The Rijks museum is a tribute to Dutch art . It was the first museum (of three) that we visited in Amsterdam and boy, at the end of it.. I was just so full of enthusiasm and 'joie de vivre' . It hit me over and over again as I walked up and down those halls that I was living my dream and I felt so grateful. If I didn't say a little prayer of gratitude then. I am now.
The Museum sits on a beautiful square called Museumplein ('Plein' as I realised later mean 'square' in dutch) in the vicinity of the Van Gogh Museum (Which I want to write about separately because he was my first love) . Sharing the spotlight in museumplein is also the famous Amsterdam Diamond Cutting District which I didn't really find that impressive. (But it gets a lot of tourists nonetheless. So maybe it was just me.)
Only about ten percent of the exhibited pieces in the museum are by world reknowned artists - Otherwise there is a lot of dutch art through the ages on showcase which is beautiful ofcourse. The renaissance art, I found very interesting.. Although, to be perfectly honest , I didn't know any of the artists except Rembrandt and Vermeer and one or two others.
If you are in Amsterdam, Rijks museum is worth it if you really enjoy art or rather if are willing to enjoy art. If you aren't.. Give it a miss. There are plenty of other things to see in Amsterdam.
A Couple of days I ago , I went on a long walk in my neighbourhood , which just so happens to contain a castle and a stream and woods.
It's mindblowingly beautiful and I decided that I absolutely had to try my hand at taking a few pictures.
Here's the outcome of the effort.. Tell me what you think..
Thursday, September 28, 2006
It was 2:30 PM , the sunlight streamed through our classroom windows, I wanted to be outside soaking it up, (there is only so much sun that you can see in a day and my skin screams for its daily dose..) but, instead, I was stuck indoors waiting for a professor who finally didn't turn up. Hmph!! Wasted time..
It was however , pleasantly purposeless! I had managed to strike up a conversation with a couple of nice hungarian chaps and got so engrossed in talking to them that I hadn't noticed the time tick away , and when suddenly, one of dutch guys stood up and anounced that we could leave if we wanted, I noticed it was 3 O'Clock. So after winding up our conversation - and it was an interesting one I might add - our little class trooped down the stairs out into the gloriously sunny garden outside our faculty building .
I was still chatting with the friendly hungarian, ( I would use his name except that I don't know what it is - I was too deep in conversation with him to stop midway and ask what his name was.. Irrelevant details!) his very quiet compatriot who just seemed to tag along and a very engaging, cheerful young greek classmate (from cyprus!! ). It was fun - My first real conversation with someone who wasn't Indian about something that wasn't necessary information.
As we emerged from the building, headed towards our cycles, I noticed the greek guy slip his hand into his pocket and bring out a matchbox. I braced myself , I don't enjoy second hand smoke at all , so I moved slightly away, towards the friendly hungarian and continued listening to him tell a very interesting story about a revolution in hungary in the 1950s. I was hoping greek guy would atleast have the courtesy not to blow the smoke straight into my face.. ( He turned out to be a gentleman alright!) , So, it was not straight into my face, but about ten degrees away.. Charming!!
Just when my nostrils detect the smoke, It strikes me that it has a really funny smell.. I paid no heed initially , but the smell was too funny for me to ignore.. And I looked to see what it was.. I caught a glance at what he's holding between his fingers expecting to see some weird looking cigarette.. Instead, to my absolute amazement , I saw some little brown twigs sticking out of his 'cigarette'. And then it hit me, Wham!! It was a joint!! I noticed that the hungarian guy was also looking intently at his 'cigarette' .. And I was convinced!!
It was broad freaking daylight.. And we were in the middle of the campus! Did the guy not realise that this isn't Amsterdam or Cyprus or whereever the hell smoking pot is legal! I wondered if the hungarian guy was going to ask for a drag.. because he kept staring at the guy smoking up.. maybe he was just as perplexed as I was! Just then a cold gust of wind blew and I shivered - almost shuddered even, it was so cold and so strong. The guys noticed , the delightful little history session had just come to an end anyway, so they urged me to get onto a bus quickly and got on their bikes and headed for home.
I am pretty sure that if we had stuck around longer, the very genial greek might have even been so kind as to offer me a drag..
I wonder if I would have taken it!
(Ash and Gayu, (and most everyone who knows me well) I know you are laughing your heads off by now.. just the picture of ME, smoking pot!! Ok, granted! I guess that is funny! )
Monday, September 25, 2006
I've been indoors all day. It's so cold, my fingers are numb and I'm barely able to type. Too cold to go outside. I've been chatting, talking, sending pictures pretty much all day long . Inane activity - just to keep me occupied. I have no books to read. No tv to watch. No distraction from the loneliness staring straight at me.
The weather is depressing dark and chill. And although the morning afforded some social interaction with young stefanie and benjamin , my next door neighbours in the second storey of the two hundred year old house that is now to be my home for the next year, i'm starved for company.
I've been listening to some hindi music. Mostly because it reminds me of home.
I feel terribly alone.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I'm in Europe. I have waited and waited and dreamed for an oppurtunity like this. And I have been lucky. I got what I wanted. Two days away from the start of the academic year and ten days into arriving here, I want to go right back home. I want to forget all this fuss. I want to go back into my little cocoon and stay there!
I want the familiar back again.
I want to understand the language spoken in the streets.
I want to know my way around (and not have to struggle with a map!)
I want to see autos and even fight with auto drivers.
I want to go to murugan idly kadai and eat steaming hot idlys and chutney and sambar.
I want to saunter through a crowded Spencers.
I want to see the sun at 6 in the morning.
I want to climb the 7 floors to the home i've lived in for the last 15 years.
I want to walk along the shore and sit on the beach and hold hands with my boyfriend.
I want to see my boyfriend.
I want sunshine.
I want to be able to MEET my friends.
I want to talk to my dad in the evenings.
I want to see my mom first thing in the morning.
Sneha has seen europe and thinks its very pretty.
Now she wants to go back home!!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
There are some moments when epiphanies wash over me like the rough tide, cold and striking , awakening my mind and heart, shaking me out of my indifference, making me aware how utterly meaningless my life actually is, how pointless every act thus far has been, how I have not very much direcion, nor very much perspective and most importantly, I have not very much human empathy.
Does it not exist at all? Or am I unconscious - wilfully , it might seem , drenched in apathy? From the moment I wake , right through obsessing about my hair, wondering how to get slimmer and when I can afford to buy an Ipod , I realise there is no sense of purpose in my life. What are all these hours that I live? To what end? Why do I breathe? Is every act of mine just an act of sustenance - a means to continue living? Finish the next assignment to make a decent grade, to get a decent degree, to get a decent job, to get a decent husband, raise decent kids and have a decent life??
In the midst of my mundane, self absorbed life , every now and then , I chance upon an intervention. A voice, a thought, a book, a song,a programme on t.v perhaps- that stops me in my tracks and arrests the inevitable avalanche of one inane moment of my life tumbling into the next. I stop, to feel - a real love ,a sense of empathy, a need to live the compassion that is neatly tucked away to convenience my daily existence. I feel an outpouring of emotion - Of much gratitude and great regret. Gratitude for a life free of torment, hatred , oppression, violence and Regret over millions of precious moments squandered away carelessly. Moments that could have been spent in making a contribution. A contribution to what? Or to who? A contribution to something I believe in.
It is in these moments that my conscience is challenged to tell me something more meaningful. Something more meaningful than disapproving of my quick temper or reminding me that I shouldn't be quite as judgemental as I can be sometimes. It is in these moments that my conscience grieves at it's own silence and promises never to allow itself to be suppressed.
My life has been scattered with these moments. True, they are few and far between, but I realise that they are what have shaped me, if I can claim any shape at all. It is in these moments, I realise I just want to help. Someone. Anyone. I want to forget myself , my insignificant little worries and focus on something that is much bigger than me.
I am an ordinary human being - full of inadequacies and insecurities but in these moments I truly forget about that. I am aflame. I really do feel that I'd like to spend my life doing something worthwhile. I don't know what exactly.. Help raise money? Teach poor kids? Run down the street to the old man sitting under the hot sun and give him whatever money I have?
I'm not so naive as to believe myself capable of anything monumental. At the same time, I know that all human beings are born with great reserves in them - reserves of Goodness that they might be completely unaware of. I recognize a little of that in myself in these moments.
Thus far, I have failed to grab on to these fleeting revelations , I've let it drift past me each time, not doing very much about it. But, something has struck a chord in me today that resonates louder than ever before. I was reminded of a human tragedy so atrocious, a blot on the page of history so large and so damning, that it will never be forgotten. It should never be forgotten. As it was to me today, it stands a reminder of how much humanity is in dire need of a collective willingness to stand up against oppression and injustice.
Can I actually do something? What do I do? Can I weave this temporary cognizance of human suffering into the thread of my life and in the process make my own protest against injustice however small , significant nonetheless?
I have not figured it out yet. I'm still processing all of these thoughts running unrestrained in my brain. I am confused. I am disturbed. I am ashamed for my fellow human beings - ashamed at the savagery we are capable of. But most of all, I'm determined. I'm determined to find my place in this world - find a way of truly contributing.
Perhaps I am naive for believing that we can instill in ourselves a sense of social conscience - for believing that all of us ordinary folk can rise above the limitations we have set for ourselves, in our mind, and believe ourselves capable of selfless acts, acts with no vested interest , involving lives that maybe in no way connected to our own, just because it involves a principle, a value, that we believe in.
It is at this point in the chain of my thought that I am reminded of the poem that my mother has pinned up in her office :
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
--- Pastor Martin Niemöller
I read it now and my determination is renewed. To find my place, make my contribution.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
The smooth strains of the saxophone flood through the room. Hushed at first , Wisp-like even, gradually swelling till it reaches climax and then slowly it ebbs.. That's when Billie begins to croon "Suummmmeerrtimme.... " her smoky voice evokes images of a beautiful black woman, singing in one of those dimly lit , uptown jazz bars in the 40's philadelphia, mesmerising everyone in earshot.... I close my eyes, I'm pretty darn mesmerised myself.
"Summertime and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh your daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’
So hush little baby, don’t you cry"
The song with such innocent lyrics sounds so seductive... Billie makes way for Louis to smoothly step in..
"One of these mornings
You’re goin’ to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take the sky
But till that morning
There’s a nothin’ can harm you
With daddy and mammy standin’ by "
The masculine, hardly smooth-Sinatra , but oh-so-sexy voice of his complements hers perfectly. It is throaty and a little rough in comparison to the fullness of hers and yet, if it's possible, just as mellifluous.
Just when you are revelling in how beautiful the song is and how wonderful they sound individually, it gets even better. They begin to sing together. There is only way to describe it. Stirring.
Billie begins again "Suuummmmerrtime..." And Louis goes.. "da da da zi zi da dou..oooh.. di ti da zou zou da... " in the background while she continues to sing. There is a perfect resonance of sound. And It occurs to one, that how it sounds is exactly how it should and no other way.. A Musical Tango! Seductive, Passionate and simply Enchanting!
Saturday, May 20, 2006
There are some moments in a girls life that are just Monumental. The first crush , the first time a boy holds your hand, the first kiss, the first ' I love you' (And all you feminists, before you start yelling about how a relationship and it's allied moments are not the most important/monumental thing to happen to a girl, I will say , I completely agree.. But it sure is one of the things we hold dearest to our heart... And I say a girl'slife because I am one and I can make a generalisation with slightly more authority than I can about men.) . For many, especially those of us, who for one reason or the other don't get into relationships prior to getting married, find moments of another nature to label monumental . But this post is about a girl who has and therefore for those who have been in love at one time or another and know what I'm talking about.
I've been in love twice. The first was of the unrequited kind and filled with all the passion of a first love. The boy could do no wrong. I could endure all. But , 'twas not to be. I languished in silence all the while that he was around, convinced of my inadequacy and his brilliance. Eventually, I began to crawl out of my shell but by then he was gone. I wasn't particularly a shrinking violet but I am strictly old school about making declarations of love or the likes of it. I don't make them. Friendship was all I could ask for and that I had . I settled for it.
Subsequently, I discovered it wasn't unrequited after all. But by then the scales had fallen, the ardour had cooled and maturity had begun to set in. It made me feel wonderful. But that was it. I was a kid. So was he then. We had grown and become different people, which is not to say that we were even remotely alike before. I think we were like mutually exclusive subsets of the universal set of human traits. Not really opposites, but just so different. I won't even try to explain the attraction , I don't think I can. It wasn't particularly rational. But it sure was love. I still miss things about him. I miss his lectures to me - I was a wild child. I miss the way we looked at each other - the intense gaze . I miss his light brown eyes. I miss being mad at him- I was, a whole lot. I miss our rather weird conversations. Most of all, I miss having him around.
But the wheels of time continue to roll... I got over it. And for a long time after that , I hid. I told myself that I didn't want to be in love again. The only kind I knew was often times agonizing. But the hiding was in vain... Fate had conspired!
One year ago, to the date. I fell in love again. Mercifully, fate was merciful despite his conspiracy. And ofcourse, I was sensible enough to hold back until I was sure that it was mutual. Which in fact, wasn't really that long.
We conversed away endless hours. We made each other laugh hysterically. We fascinated each other with the breadth of our perspective and knowledge. We felt the chemistry intensely. In short, everything clicked.
We were (and still are) young and there was nothing to stop us... And so we plunged headlong... Patti smith knew what I was feeling then...
" I'm dancing barefoot,
headed for a spin,
some strange music draws me in... "
Careening. That describes it best. Careening towards being madly in love from the word go.
I am not too fond of cliches but some things are cliche for a good reason. So, I will employ one here. I'm am more in love now than when this happy madness began. I guess , there is depth to feeling that can come only with time.
So, this is gratitude.... for a fate that brought me to someone who is as passionate as I am, someone who keeps up with me (And THAT's hard to find..Ha ha), someone who informs me I'm arrogant, is arrogant himself, challenges every word I utter , takes an opposing view on almost everything we discuss but does all of this in his signature witty and clever manner, so I can't possibly hold it against it him.... someone with a great sense of humour,a dash of idiosyncrasy, oodles of intelligence, someone who is plain old fashioned NICE, someone who finds me fascinating, attractive and intelligent, someone who for the most part, just gets me, and when he doesn't just accepts me as different and most importantly, someone that loves me.
For a year of love and happiness, for a year of someone to hold hands with and slow dance with, for a yearr that held so many firsts.... I'm so grateful!!
Sunday, May 14, 2006
I was a voracious reader. It's so hard to admit that i have'nt been that for about a year now. But before I became temporarily, intellectually burned out, I ran on heavy fuel - Atleast two books a week. And I don't count the John Grisham's and Michael Crichton's in that list. That kind of stuff was the snack to fill the time between the full course servings of great writing. I read all the time. I much preferred reading to t.v, I preferred it to going out, heck, I preferred it over pretty much everything else, even music I think, and that's saying a LOT !!!
Since then, for reasons seemingly unfathomable , my metabolic rate had drastically fallen and I could not consume in the same fashion , or with the same passion as i did. Six months into that state and I convinced myself that I had made my peace with it, I threw myself into music to make up for it and hoped I would get back to reading 'one of these days' as though it was something that would just happen.Well three months later, I took stock , I had read TWO books. I decided it was getting a little too out of hand. I had to do something. So, I did. Discarding advice not to 'force' it, I made my self read things i knew i would enjoy even if it wasn't particularly stimulating. Like good old Wodehouse. Just to get back into the groove.
And I just kept re-reading dear old 'Plum' and not particularly graduating to anything more thought provoking. And what made it worse, is that I had gone and bought a whole lot of books right before I stopped reading...
Here's a list, to give you an idea...
1) Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
2) Don Quixote - Cervantes
3) Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
4) Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
5) Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
6) Vanity Fair - William Thackeray
7) The Glass Palace - Amitav Ghosh
8) Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Stowe
9) Portrait Of A Lady - Henry James
10) Ulysses - James Joyce
11) Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man - James Joyce
12) Women In Love - D.H. Lawrence
13) One Hundred Years Of Solitude - Gabriel Garcis Marquez
14) Art Of War - Sun Tzu
These books sit on my shelf, collecting dust , waiting to be perused.. (been dying to use the word!) I've began several of them in turn, hoping that something in any of them will grab me by the collar and shake me out of this inability to keep my attention focussed long enough to finish the damn books.. But no.. So far, save for pulp, I haven't managed it..
I've decided, however that I am getting back to them.. If I have to suffer through them.. I'm getting quite sick of reading the first thirty pages and not being able to proceed past that limit. It's making dents in my self-image. Ok, perhaps I'm taking it a little too seriously.. But hey, that's how i was brought up.. On books and music.. And I feel like I'm losing my religion so to speak.. Well one of my religions at any rate.
So, I have two weeks in may and two in june before college begins again and I've decided I'm GOING to read these books somehow!! Perhaps, it seems a little too ambitious to you... you may think it a little too much for a month's worth.. but a year or two ago, I could have done this in a couple of weeks... Heck, I feel like an out of shape marathon runner who is just getting back to running and finds his lungs burning for air and a break after running the first couple of miles.
Frankly, I doubt if i'm going to be able all fourteen of them.. But i'm going to try! I've made a start.. Reading Women In Love now.. Hopefully in another couple of days I'll be able to say i've finished it and more importantly that I enjoyed it....
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I am in hyderabad. I spent sunday just lazing around at my grandmom's getting spoilt rotten and eating far too much for my own good. I watched a mediocre movie (King Arthur) and slept more than I have had the luxury of doing since my just-concluded-semester began.
A little aside on the movie.. In my opinion, it is nothing special. It bears no resemblance to my childhood favourite "King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table". It has no references to camelot (or none that I could gather) , they screw up Merlin's character and the legend of Excalibur. Even though the focus is entirely on arthur it seems almost superficial, like the writers haven't manage to etch out much in terms of depth. Besides, the movie has a lot of weird looking people with bad hair and body paint, a barely-decent-looking King Arthur in Clive Owen ( which goes against my policies on film casting and last of all) . I have no clue what the fuss is about Keira Knightly. I took a long, hard , unbiased look at her and all I could manage is ,"She's Pretty!" but why she continues to enchant my brother and cousin and a whole legion of other men, I simply cannot comprehend. There are thousands of women much more beautiful than her. Well in my opinion that is.
Yesterday, I woke up later than I have since my last semester began - 9:30 AM . I've almost never woken up later.. All my friends think I'm a freak for not being able to sleep past 7:30 most days. Anyway, it was bliss. It's easy to sleep late here in hyderabad because it's not so hot. Yes , It is not so hot. Especially,since my body has dragged itself from hot, sweaty madras - A land where you sweat while you stand under the shower. Well maybe it IS actually just as hot. But it's much more comfortable. At home, perspiration accompanies even my dreams, it leaves me not in peace. And here, with the fan on, i'm perfectly at ease. The trick, I suppose is not to get out of the house until the evening.
I lazed some more, began reading A Beautiful Mind . I ventured out in the late afternoon to catch a movie at the locally famous IMAX theatre. Shite, you step in there and our sathyam cinemas seems like a joke!! (But hey, the downside of a amphitheatre like auditorium.. Everyone can see you if you get bored and decide half way through that you wanna just make out... Or maybe people in hyderabad don't care if you can see them!)
SO, I watched the much raved about Rang De Basanti. I must begin by telling you that I don't usually watch hindi movies. And for a very good reason too. I find most of them too ridiculous for words. I don't think it's any kind of bias. I just really think most of it is crap.
Now as for this one in particular, let see.. The movie certainly wasn't predictable. ( Thank heavens!! ) Infact , it nearly touched the other extreme - completely ridiculous. I mean, a friend of yours dies in an accident (even if it is because the state has endorsed a bad deal and made cheap planes) so you go kill the defence minister. What the fuck kinda sense does that make?? I mean, I can see how it may appeal to people who have no meaning or purpose in life.. But really,this is being absurd...From what I could garner, the theme behind the movie was "There are some causes worth fighting for, some causes worth losing your life for, some principles you uphold no matter how intense the oppression." So, they start out saying that the freedom struggle was one such cause where people were united in the struggle to be their own masters. And I agree with that. Then they switch to Ajay Rathore's death and how that inspires them to the same sort of fervour... Jeez!! That's where the storytellers lose me...
Frankly, I fail to understand how one can equate or even compare a struggle for basic human freedom with fighting corruption. I'm not saying fighting corruption is not a worthy pursuit.But at the risk of sounding extremely cynical. One is a fight for life, whereas the other is a fight for what most will consider a moral highground.
Anyway, my impressions on the movie aside, I had an interesting evening subsequently.. I walked from IMAX to this eatery called eat street.. The place is huge, along the lake and packed with people on a monday night.. Very strange.. Anyway, gayatri and I meet up,as planned after she's done with work... by the time we find a place to eat, the noodles are stone cold, we get through half of it and start our walk back towards imax , ice cream in hand. As we walk, there is a drunken dude who runs after us , screaming obscenities, he chases us a good hundred metres, during which time i'm completely spooked.. This is the second time something of this sort is happening to me in hyd. (The last time, I was 16 and was followed/stalked/sung-cheesy-love-songs-to all the way from banjara hills barista to anand nagar where i live, by a guy in a car as I was walking back those 2 Kms) I relax after making sure he still isn't after us.. Apparently the expression on my face hasn't changed though cos gayatri tells me to relax a couple of more times..
Anyway, it's late in the evening and i've done nothing all day except acquire some very interesting jazz music (9 cds worth) from an uncle with good taste.. And visit some relatives. Waiting to get up late, taste my music, read some more and yearn for the weekend...
Hopefully, there is gonna be a Paarttyyy!!! Staying over at gayatri's... Maybe i'll even have occasion to say 'Salut!!'
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The following is a chat on google talk.. It reflects how different men can be from women in the way that they think about some things I suppose... I've always had more male friends than female so I've come to accept these differences and just laugh at them but sometimes it actually strikes me that no matter how much of a tomboy i was, I've become a woman who now has far less tolerance to male idiosyncracies. I find a lot of things that I used to just accept at face value , as downright stupid.. That's not to say, I think men are stupid.. No siree, The following conversation was with the most intelligent person i know... And probably one of the most intelligent people i'll ever know.. And yet sometimes , I want to smack him on the head and ask him to be less of a dick!!!
So here goes..
Sneha: busy?? I just thought i'd say hello, it's been awhile..
Sneha: then why on earth does it say you are busy?
Friend: because i don't bother changin my status .. And it stops most idiots from chumma messageing me
Sneha: lol... ok
Friend: what are you upto?
Sneha:i'm writing something..
Sneha: ummm.. well trying to atleast
Friend: why..and more importantly what?
Sneha: for the blog.. and what.. well not sure yet..have you got your phone fixed?
Friend: my cell you mean?
Sneha: idiot.. get it fixed please.. It's very painful not to be able to get through to you if i want to..
Friend: i find life better without the cellphone
Sneha: i can imagine!!
Friend: most of my college mates are irritating me
Friend: they are always organising bloody get-togethers..last year crap
why can't people just leave me alone... i can't stand human beings
Sneha: hello!!!!!!!!!!! you are talking to one!!! Do you even realise...
Friend: i am sorry, but i mean in general..
Sneha: and if you dare say , i don't consider you one di,... i'll kill you
Friend: no..its not like that.. I don't mean you..ok.. maybe the human beings remark was slightly over the top..
Sneha: yeah... SLIGHTLY
Friend: but in general.. i can't bear with this obsessive need that people have for other people
Sneha: lol.. ayyo!! What are you going to do when you get married and have little Friends running around the place
Friend: yeah.. well if the kids are like me , it would be alright.. and good for humanity
Sneha: Ok, first, whoever said kids are like the parents.. And second , wow.. you aren’t contesting the you with a wife and kids imagery!!
Friend: Btw, did that happen in your last year at that place you were studying before
Sneha: (and he ignores my previous statement) No man, thank god.
Friend: good for you
Sneha: Actually, it was more like I just didn't go to any of that crap. I only went for the official farewell which we left in half an hour and went to bike and barrel.
Friend: yeah.. Isn’t it kinda boring..
Sneha: yeah kinda
Friend: i find it not only extremely inane, but also very irritating..i can't stand my college mates.. They are just so dumb...sometimes i sincerely feel that the world would be a better place without those irritating bastards
Sneha: J Isn’t that being a little harsh. I mean, I know what it's like to be surrounded by people who you think are just too stupid for words but to want to kill them off.. come now, is that nice??
Friend: yeah.. well i don't care about whether it's nice... Apparently there is a crazy get-together today
Sneha: ok? and?
Friend: yeah.. there is one today.. thats all i know the thing with these get togethers is.. i find no incentive in going there. I just can't get the point of the whole affair
Sneha: what incentive do you want?
Sneha: there is surely the food
Friend: which i would pay for? thank you, but I would like to decide the place, when i am paying for it. And by incentive i mean something that would probably make me go there
Sneha:yes I know what incentive means da…You know , you are quite the definition of misanthropic
Sneha:What do you mean no?? If that’s how you are , that’s how you are and I for one am ok with it.. And btw what would be a good incentive , hot chicks types??
Friend: not necessarily..
Sneha: phir kya?
Friend: something that would suit me..
Sneha: like a supercomputer to play with?
Friend: that would be fun .. of course..but you know..there are other fun things that people can
get together and do.. apart from sex that is.. even though I can't think of anything..
Sneha: oh really like what...??
Sneha: it's a get together for crying out loud.. the point is to meet PEOPLE... but when you hate people it's kind of pointless for you isn’t it?
Friend: maybe you are right..
Sneha: what fun things can people get together and do?? play spin the bottle as though you are 16?
Friend: what fun is spinning a bottle?
Sneha: ayyoooo!!!! Krishnaaa!!! what do i do with someone like you!!!
Friend: why?see.. let me put it this way, i am not really misanthropic, really, i mean it.. just that
I hate most of the people i've met so far.
if you haven't noted it... i used ‘most’ in my previous sentence.. that means there are some people whom i don't dislike
Sneha: spin the bottle is a game where people sit in a circle and someone places a bottle in the centre and you spin it..
Sneha: and which ever two people the ends point to, have to kiss
Sneha: lollllll… why da, I always got the impression guys didn’t mind a few free kisses…
Friend: think of the possibilities
Sneha: such as? someone having to actually kiss you... I know that's tough for them
Friend: what happens if the bottle comes up with a homosexual argument.. something like 2 guys or 2 girls.. (2 girls would be fun.. though...)
Sneha: you would say that... pah!! What’s with men and lesbians??
Sneha: no, see.. from what I understand , unless they are willing... you spin again
Friend: this game would never work… no would want to make out in public
Sneha: it's not full and full making out…just a kiss
Friend: come on..
Sneha: anyway obviously that holds no appeal for you.. so let's move on
Friend: no.. i do like the idea of getting kissed..
Friend: just that I don’t think it will ever work…but the thing is who in public will be willing to do
that... this is Chennai.. with a capital C, which actually stands for conservative
Sneha: I guess you are right… I certainly would’nt kiss any old guy.. besides we aren’t teenagers with hormones coursing through us uncontrollably… A hypothetical question though.. What if you had to kiss a girl you found completely unattractive , would you still kiss her??
Friend:why would i not kiss an unattractive person….i don't lose anything. See.. if she is like a weird vampire with blood sucking teeth and all that I might think twice..
Sneha: oh my god...
Sneha: the way you put that is gross...
Friend: see.. What is it that really offends you, the way I said it, or the what I said…
Sneha: oh god!!!! Never mind what offends me, you probably won’t get it.
Friend:if its a woman who is ordinary looking , not a "hottie" or even moderately unattractive.. thats ok..
Sneha: anyway.. Let’s talk about something else da.. I just don’t get the male perspective on things like this..
Friend: see.. i WILL definitely have a problem if i am interested in her enough to want her to be my gf or something
Friend: but if its just a kiss..
Sneha: hey can i put this conversation on my blog
Sneha: this is priceless
Friend: lol.. go ahead… but.. Don’t portray me as a total misanthrope. as i said. i don't like most people. but I do like certain people (you for example are quite ok)..
Thursday, March 30, 2006
It's eleven fifteen, or therebouts, in the morning. And I'm on Mount Road . All I can think about is getting to where I'm headed, as quickly as possible. I'm cursing the heat , cursing the cop at the signal , cursing the traffic and pretty much cursing all through. Not one of my best days!
We pull up at one of the several traffic signals on that arterial road. I look around me, not particularly noticing much. Everyone else, I suppose , is also in their own world. The fact that we share a space for a couple of minutes and hate every second of the wait is probably all we have in common. Or maybe not!
Suddenly, I hear peals of laughter... It pierces right through my reverie, striking me as so out of place as to almost jar my senses. I look around to find that the source of the sound is a girl around my age, in a car. She's giggling so hard. And beside her in the car is a somewhat cute, if he wasn't so scruffy looking, guy. Now, this piques my curiosity. Finally, I stop focussing on the heat and all the unpleasantness of mid-morning traffic. I love watching people.
They seem to be in an extremely animated conversation. Their voices are loud but not particularly coherent at the 10 feet distance that I am from them. Naturally, they've attracted quite a bit of attention. My city is still it's good old conservative self. If it happens to perceive a girl and guy together , it will, as sure as the sun will shine, jump to the conclusion that they are in a relationship and promptly shall it's judgemental nose be turned up in disapproval.
And as I look around at my fellow travellers , I realise they have not disappointed. There is much disapproval in the air. "How CAN a girl and a guy openly enjoy each other's company?" Almost sacrilegious! As for me, I'm too amused by the couple and everybody's reaction.
I go back to looking at them a little more discreetly, the traffic has moved a little and i'm closer to them. I'm trying to gauge what their relationship could be. As it happens, I need wonder no more. The most unusual public display I've ever witnessed unfolds. The guy is talking really loudly, almost at the top of his voice and she's sshhhhing him , telling him to keep his voice down...
Then He's saying to her " But sweets... That's how I feel... I don't care if everyone knows.. Infact, I want to tell everybody" and then still at the top of his voice he continued , " Listen up, everyone... I love her.." I don't know how many people heard this, most of them had returned to the business of minding their own business. A business they would have readily abandoned,had they happened to pay attention to the guy's declarations, in favour of a lot of laughing and pointing.
I am so tickled. I look at the girl to see her reaction and she looks positively embarrassed , as one might expect. I think the guy might have gone on with that particular line of conversation with the world, and he did look like he had a lot to proclaim, expect that she seems to be pleading with him to keep quiet while looking around to see if everyone is looking at her. I look away , I wonder if she notices my broad grin. I can hear her laughing still.... She isn't unduly upset.. She must be in love with him too!!
As a friend of mine would say... "Awwwww, How CUTE!!! "
And the traffic light glows Green!! I smile to myself, thinking how that guy probably doesn't realise he made my day a little brighter.
One Hundred Metres Later : The lot of us are forced to halt at yet another signal... I'm looking out for the couple's car. I am quite disappointed for the couple of seconds until i eventually spot them. But then, the passenger window is rolled up. Damn!!
I reconcile myself to having seen all there is to see. But, apparently their little exchange is not over.. I hear the girl protesting pretty vehemently and the guy is trying to roll down her window. I catch a glimpse of her face and she's flushed with embarrassment. And then the guy leans out, points to the girl beside him and yells to the nearest guy - An auto driver as it so happened - " Listen dude, I'm in love with this girl ..." or something very similar, in Tamil!!!! So i'm pretty sure a whole bunch of people heard and understood what was happening. The auto driver definitely did and so did his passengers.His face broke out into a huge grin and he burst out laughing. I wonder if there's a scene like that in some tamil movie that the whole little episode reminded him of. Well , at the very least it I think it might probably be something he'd go back and tell his wife or whoever at the end of the day about the crazy people in the city!
I wonder if the dude is a bit tipsy. And realise it's highly unlikely. It's too early in the day. And he's driving straight. SO, it must be just being in love?? What do you know!!! It can do strange things to people!! I guess if it were me, I'd be mighty embarrassed, not unlike that girl. But it must be pretty awesome to know that someone is so utterly in love and so happy as to want to scream it at the top of their lungs. I know a lot of people might find such behaviour ridiculous and absurd. But I'm a romantic. I don't know if i'd particularly care for this method but I love the sentiment behind it.
It must be wonderful to be madly in love...
Monday, March 27, 2006
And then, she chose to emerge from the shadows of an alias and a long absence...
Ok, so it's been a while since i've written..And, as is evident, I'm rusty. Bear with me.This is a work in progress.
Six months ago, I was pretty sure that I was done with blogging. It seemed to have run it's course. But I'm back because I miss writing. I miss the community. I've played with this idea for quite a while now ( the idea being, getting rid of the psuedonym and getting back to blogging.) And have finally realised I have no need to hide behind anonymity anymore.. So, say goodbye to Mercury..
And hello to Sneha!
Hopefully, this change will be accompanied with a renewed zest for writing...